About the Fireboat Fire Fighter Museum

The Fireboat Fire Fighter Museum is a 501c3  non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Fire Fighter as a fully operational vessel, memorial, and teaching museum. We are a 100% volunteer organization and rely on the time, generosity, and wide expertise of the general public to help us in our goal of maintaining this truly unique piece of American maritime history.

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Fire Fighter in New York Harbor – Photo copyright Tom Turner

Fire Fighter is and always will be a fire service icon, having been in frontline service for over seven decades protecting New York Harbor and being involved in some of the most storied and harrowing maritime emergencies in US history. Fire Fighter has the hard-earned distinction of being the most award-decorated fireboat in the world, and at the time of her 2010 decommissioning she was the second oldest fireboat in frontline service worldwide and was the longest-serving member of the FDNY Marine Unit Fleet. A National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Fire Fighter is the only fireboat to have received the Gallant Ship Award since its establishment in 1944. 

Designed by renowned naval architect William Francis Gibbs in 1938, Fire Fighter was built from the keel-up as a modern engineering marvel, capable of pumping 20,000 gallons of water per minute to nine topside fire monitors and powered by one of the first diesel-electric powerplants ever fitted to a vessel of her size. Her design was so advanced and performance so impressive that throughout her entire 72-year active career, Fire Fighter remained in an essentially unchanged operational condition, outlasting all of her contemporaries and even the majority of the FDNY fireboats half her age. 

In her active career Fire Fighter fought over 50 major fires, including fires aboard the SS Normandie, El Estero, Esso Brussels and Sea Witch, as well as several dozen major pier fires throughout New York Harbor. In perhaps her greatest single contribution to the City of New York, Fire Fighter led the FDNY Marine Unit response to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001 by supplying water to emergency crews fighting fires in Ground Zero. Spending three weeks pumping at her maximum capacity while her crew sought out damaged but still-operational pumpers to use as inland pumping stations among the rubble of the Twin Towers, Fire Fighter was only released from her station at the foot of Albany Street in the Battery when enough landside water mains had been repaired to support the firefighting efforts. 

By far the most beloved and revered fireboat in the history of the Marine Division of the FDNY, the Fighter, as her crews called her, was a coveted assignment for any member of the FDNY rank and file, and as such only the best of the best were permitted to join the storied ranks of men who called Fire Fighter their “boat.” The reigning “Queen of the Fleet” from 1999 through her retirement, Fire Fighter was kept in frontline service at the busiest and often times most dangerous locations New York Harbor had to offer straight through her 72-year career, and proved time and again that she more than lived up to the nickname Fighter

Gallant Ship Award

The Gallant Ship Citation Plaque

Transferred to the ownership of the Fireboat Fire Fighter Museum in October 2012 and relocated to Greenport, NY in February 2013, Fire Fighter has been saved from the scrapyard and has been given a new lease on life in her golden years. She now has a chance to share her decks with the rest of the country as a living tribute to her crews, her architect and the truly astounding amount of American history that has she has witnessed. She is truly  America’s Fireboat. 

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