South Carolina fireboat includes Volvo IPS

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Charleston (S.C.) Harbor salvage support company Southeast Ocean Response Services put out the call for a fast-response fireboat that could carry divers, cargo and passengers, go faster than 30 knots, measure less than 65 feet and have an integrated foam firefighting system.

Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, naval architects from C. Raymond Hunt Associates and Volvo Penta answered the call, joining forces to create a custom response boat they say is unlike any other.

“There’s never been a boat like this,” port manager Walter Prause said in a statement. “We are bringing services to Charleston’s waterfront that do not currently exist.”

The plans were already on the drawing board when the design team was introduced to Volvo Penta’s D13-1050 power and IPS 3 drives.

“We went with triple IPS drives because we could use smaller engines and still get the required speed with 30 percent improved fuel efficiency and EPA Tier 3 technology,” C. Raymond Hunt Associates vice president Winn Williard said.

Not only will three D13 diesels offer the power and efficiency that engineers need, but the center engine also can be switched over to power the fire pump. “And that was the solution we had been searching for,” Willard said.

In addition to being more fuel-efficient, maneuverable and easier to operate, the IPS pods have another advantage over traditional propellers or jet drives.

“The boat runs like it is on rails,” Willard said, adding, “A pod acts like a fin that improves tracking and stability at high speed. When entering or exiting a turn, there is no vibration or slide.”

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