The Bensalem, Pennsylvania, volunteer fire department chose to use a gazillion-dollar Homeland Security grant for a fireboat, even though Bensalem has no approachable riverfront, no marianas, no shipping, and no port.
Apparently, they just wanted a boat that spurts. A nugget from a long article by Monica Yant Kinney:
Just before midnight on Jan. 14, a guard patrolling the desolate Neshaminy State Marina called 911. The only boat docked there – “Marine 37″ – was sinking.
Earlier that day, firefighters struck something while training with an employee of the Canadian manufacturer, MetalCraft Marine.
“A series of failures,” explains then-chief Jerri, “led to us not noticing there was a hole in the boat.”
The “Bear” took on 2,000 gallons and had to be lifted out of the water, drained, and repaired. Union paid the marina $500 for the use of a crane, but MetalCraft took the blame and ate the cost of the weeks-long repair.
On their own a month later, Union members destroyed a dock box and paid $600 for a replacement. Pulling in and out of the marina, they repeatedly damaged rub rails.
On April Fools’ Day, the “Bear” struck and sank a $25,000 hydraulic lift. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission investigated but filed no charges. Union covered the $500 repair.
That’s just since they took delivery in January.
Hope they do a better job driving their fire engines.