The Mackinac Marine Rescue Boat – An Added Resource in Island Safely 9/13/15

When Mackinac Marine Rescue announced there’d be an “Open Boat” last Thursday so folks could tour the new emergency rescue boat, I knew I’d be one of the first in line!  The boat, with its shiny aluminum cabin and fire engine red bumpers, has been a real tourist draw at the marina this summer.  Everyone has been talking about it, and Ted and I have passed it dozens of times on our walks back and forth to town.

I knew the boat was going to be used for water rescues and fire-fighting, but I wasn’t aware it would also be used to transport medical emergencies from the island when the ferries weren’t running (after hours), or if for some reason an evacuation helicopter was unable to fly.  Since the boat arrived in May it has been used several times to take folks with injuries or medical issues from Mackinac to ambulances waiting on the mainland.  Patients are first stabilized at the Mackinac Island Medical Center, which has a doctor on duty year-round. Knowing this additional resource is available adds to the peace of mind of island residents, as well as the thousands of visitors who come to the island throughout the year.

The boat can operate with a crew three. If medical issues are involved in a launch, at least one EMT would also be on board.

The emergency boat can operate with a crew of two (minimum crew on a search and rescue is three), and if medical issues are involved in a launch, at least one EMT would also be on board.

One of the boat's primary functions is to fight fires - whether on another boat or on a strip of land near the water. This "fire cannon" puts out 500 gallons of water a minute and is so powerful . . .

One of the boat’s primary functions is to fight fires – whether on another boat or on land near the water. Water can be drawn from the lake and shot about 140 feet.  The boat can also be used to supply water to a fire truck on land. Mackinac Marine Rescue Team members Allen Burt (inside) and Dominic Redman answer questions, and Redman stands by the”fire cannon”, which puts out 500 gallons of water a minute and is so powerful . . .

. . . it is operated from inside the boat by robotics. The cannon is so powerful it could be used to physically turn the boat around in the water if it was aimed at a solid structure.

. . . it is operated from inside the boat by robotics.

The vessel's control center includes radar, thermal imaging cameras, a Global Positioning System (GPS), and an Automatic Identification System (AIS) used to track marine traffic.

The vessel’s control center includes radar, thermal imaging cameras, a Global Positioning System (GPS), and an Automatic Identification System (AIS) used to track marine traffic.

The boat is 31 feet long and is powered by two 300-horsepower engines. It cannot run in ice because the hull is made of aluminum, but it can handle up to eight feet seas tih sustained winds up to 30 mph. Crusing speed is about 30 knots; top speed is 41 knots. It takes the boat between 10-15 minutes for the trip from Mackinac Island to St. Ignace.

The boat is 31 feet long and is powered by two 300-horsepower engines. It cannot run in ice because the hull is made of aluminum, but it can handle up to eight feet seas with sustained winds up to 30 mph. Cruising speed is about 30 knots; top speed is 41 knots. It takes the boat between 10-15 minutes for the trip from Mackinac Island to St. Ignace, and the emergency vessel will be used throughout Mackinac County in medical, fire, and other emergency situations.

The boat's bow is powered by hydraulics and can be dropped up and down to land on a beach. The crew has already come ashore from the boat at Mackinac Island, St. Ignace, and Round Island. Plans to land at St. Helena Island and some of the Les Cheneaux islands are in the works.

The boat’s bow is powered by hydraulics and can be dropped up and down to land on a beach. The crew has already gone ashore from the boat at Mackinac Island, St. Ignace, and Round Island. Plans to land at St. Helena Island and some of the Les Cheneaux islands are in the works.  Mackinac Marine Rescue Team members Dominic Redman and Ken Hardy answer visitors’ questions about the emergency boat.

ffff

The heated cabin has two benches and can accommodate seated passengers or medical patients on backboards or stokes baskets.

The boat’s price tag was close to $500,000 – most of which was covered by a Port Security grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, with the rest coming mainly from Mackinac County and the City of Mackinac Island.

Training exercises and operations are on-going, and trained members of the Mackinac Marine Rescue Team and EMT’s  serve on an on-call rotation to man the boat whenever and wherever it is needed.  The U.S. Coast Guard often trains with the vessel out on the water.

The emergency boat was a visible presence during the recent Labor Day Bridge Walk and can be used for homeland security and counterterrorism missions.

For most of us the Mackinac Marine Rescue boat will just be a really cool addition to the Mackinac Island marina.  But for some, for whatever reason, this boat could one day save your life or the life of a loved one.  I sure am glad it’s available and that Mackinac Marine Rescue has added this resource to its arsenal of weapons to insure the safely of those who live and visit here.

Note:  Information for this post provided by interview with Emergency Medical Technician Rick Linn.  Additional information taken from article written by Stephanie Fortino in The Town Crier from her interview with Mackinac Island Assistant Fire Chief Sam Barnwell.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s