Maritime Incident Response Team

The City of Portsmouth is largely defined by the waterways of the Chesapeake Bay.  Our citizens utilize the waters for recreation, commerce, transportation, and industry. Portsmouth Fire, Rescue, and Emergency Services (PFRES) has developed several significant capabilities in order to be efficient in protecting those on and around our waterways.


Fire Boat 1

Fire Boat 1 (FB1) is a fully-capable 48 foot platform for fighting fires on boats, ships, or in facilities adjacent to the water. FB1 is outfitted for water rescue incidents, has a rear diving platform and ladder, can deploy a side-scan sonar for searches, and can supply firefighting water to land-based engines.

When deployed, FB1 is staffed by a fully equipped advanced life support crew that can effectively respond to any medical emergency. FB1’s crew coordinates with the Heavy Technical Rescue Team for responses to shipboard technical rescue events.

Fire Boat 2

Fire Boat 2 (FB2) is a light duty vessel that also has the capability to fight fire on or near the water. Additionally, FB2 has the equipment to perform water rescues and mitigate other waterborne incidents, in shallower waters.

Virginia Port Authority

PFRES also hosts a component of the Virginia Port Authority Regional Maritime Incident Response Team. PFRES members of the team are tasked by the Port Authority to respond to large incidents involving commercial shipping vessels or incidents at one of the Hampton Roads port facilities. 

In addition to specialized training in shipboard operations, the team can deploy large portable independently-powered industrial fire pumps for either firefighting or dewatering operations onboard commercial vessels.

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