A view of Greenport Harbor in 2015. The village plans to...

A view of Greenport Harbor in 2015. The village plans to buy a new rescue boat with a pump to fight fires from the water.  Credit: Randee Daddona

Greenport will use $500,000 in state grant money to boost its ability to fight waterfront fires.

The money will be used to buy a new fire rescue boat that officials say is needed for emergencies in Greenport Harbor. The department for nearly two decades has responded to marine incidents in a 21-foot lobster boat that can’t pump water.

“It’s served us well over the years, but we have to be prepared for a lot more situations that occur on the water,” said Bob Jester, a former fire captain leading the effort to get the new boat.

Jester, 76, said more waterfront development and an increase in boat traffic, particularly megayachts over 80 feet long, pose safety hazards.

The new rescue boat would come with a pump to fight fires from the water and emergency equipment for marine rescues. It would also be equipped with infrared technology to help locate potential victims in the water.

“It’s basically a floating fire truck,” Jester said.

The village fire department is getting the money under the state and municipal community grant program, according to Assemb. Fred Thiele (D-Sag Harbor).

Greenport’s boat could also provide aid to other departments during major incidents.

Mayor Kevin Stuessi said the village plans to apply for more grants to cover the $670,000 boat. He said Greenport doesn’t have enough money in its $12.2 million annual budget to cover the difference but said getting the new boat is a “big priority” that will help protect historic buildings on the waterfront.

Though the village has been spared a major emergency, Stuessi said there have been close calls. 

Last March, a lit cigarette sparked an early morning fire on the dock at Claudio’s Clam Bar. Volunteers quickly put out the fire before it damaged the building, according to Southold police. 

“It could have been catastrophic for the village,” Stuessi said. “That whole area of the village is historic buildings all built out of wood right next to each other.”

Jester said the fire department has been preparing for the new vessel by forming a marine rescue squad. That squad currently has 13 members who have trained with the U.S. Coast Guard, he said.

In the meantime, the village plans to replace the current rescue boat with a retired Southold police boat the town donated to Greenport in January.

Sag Harbor also got $250,000 in state grant funding to buy a new fire boat, Thiele said, adding that the boats “will provide much needed infrastructure for our fire departments to do their jobs.”

Greenport will use $500,000 in state grant money to boost its ability to fight waterfront fires.

The money will be used to buy a new fire rescue boat that officials say is needed for emergencies in Greenport Harbor. The department for nearly two decades has responded to marine incidents in a 21-foot lobster boat that can’t pump water.

“It’s served us well over the years, but we have to be prepared for a lot more situations that occur on the water,” said Bob Jester, a former fire captain leading the effort to get the new boat.

Jester, 76, said more waterfront development and an increase in boat traffic, particularly megayachts over 80 feet long, pose safety hazards.

The new rescue boat would come with a pump to fight fires from the water and emergency equipment for marine rescues. It would also be equipped with infrared technology to help locate potential victims in the water.

“It’s basically a floating fire truck,” Jester said.

The village fire department is getting the money under the state and municipal community grant program, according to Assemb. Fred Thiele (D-Sag Harbor).

Greenport’s boat could also provide aid to other departments during major incidents.

Mayor Kevin Stuessi said the village plans to apply for more grants to cover the $670,000 boat. He said Greenport doesn’t have enough money in its $12.2 million annual budget to cover the difference but said getting the new boat is a “big priority” that will help protect historic buildings on the waterfront.

Though the village has been spared a major emergency, Stuessi said there have been close calls. 

Last March, a lit cigarette sparked an early morning fire on the dock at Claudio’s Clam Bar. Volunteers quickly put out the fire before it damaged the building, according to Southold police. 

“It could have been catastrophic for the village,” Stuessi said. “That whole area of the village is historic buildings all built out of wood right next to each other.”

Jester said the fire department has been preparing for the new vessel by forming a marine rescue squad. That squad currently has 13 members who have trained with the U.S. Coast Guard, he said.

In the meantime, the village plans to replace the current rescue boat with a retired Southold police boat the town donated to Greenport in January.

Sag Harbor also got $250,000 in state grant funding to buy a new fire boat, Thiele said, adding that the boats “will provide much needed infrastructure for our fire departments to do their jobs.”

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