Shipyard Update #3
Since our last update, much of the work being done on Fire Fighter has been internal and not exactly the easiest to photograph, but thanks to the tireless efforts of our volunteer crew and the employees of Goodison Shipyard, the Fire Fighter passed a major milestone yesterday when she returned to the water for the first time since January 10th, 2017. Here’s a little teaser – notice anything different about the ol’ girl?
Before we get to all the new and (very) shiny bits, here’s a rundown of all the nitty-gritty, cramped and tough work it took to get her to where she is today –
It started with lots of paint chipping, needle scaling and wire wheeling to remove years and years of paint and rust from her deck and bulkheads to prepare them for welding, priming and repainting. It was all done right – none of that “painting over old paint/painting over rust” which had become commonplace in her last years in active service and led to her looking far worse for wear than she really was. This was the real deal.
Eventually the topsides were ready for welding, and shipyard workers set about repairing or replacing parts and fittings which had taken all they could over nearly 80 years of hard use and saltwater corrosion.
Sandblasting came next, removing all that remained of Fighter’s topside paint and rust and leaving her ready for the same coat of gray primer which adorned her hull – but not for long.
And so the day finally came when the most visible part of all this shipyard work came to fruition – the return of Fire Fighter to her original 1938 FDNY color scheme. With the fire-engine red paint long gone, all hull sounding and welding work complete and the primer ready to accept its first coat, Fire Fighter took on her first coat of black paint on her hull since the 1940’s. More followed, along with fresh white paint to her topsides, buff for her stack, gray on her deck and a dark red along her waterline and below. A few days of good painting weather later and the finished product was unveiled for the first time:
With final inspections completed and a new set of zinc anodes welded to her hull, Fire Fighter was ready to return to the water. Straddled by Goodison’s shiplift, Fighter was once again slung up and lifted off her keel blocks and placed back into the water.
Once afloat, Fire Fighter was moved to a fitout berth alongside the launch ramp where we are currently finishing up several interior projects and cleaning up for post-shipyard sea trials before planning our return to our homeport in Greenport. So here is as good a place as any to pass along this stunning photo of Fire Fighter back in the water and showing off the results of a truly amazing amount of work and dedication from our volunteers and the workers at Goodison Shipyard. Thanks once again to everyone who has made this possible!
Shipyard Update #2
With the majority of the ultrasonic hull sounding wrapped up and areas of weakened hull plating and worn down rivets identified, welding work has commenced on Fire Fighter‘s hull.
Indoors, we’ve been busily working to strip out Fighter’s old septic system and conduct an inspection of her fresh water tank and piping, all located beneath the floor in her bunkroom.
Meanwhile in the engine room, almost all of the deck plates are up as we conduct internal hull, piping and valve inspections and work to finish the installation of our new forced air heating system.
Tons of work has been done already during our time at the yard, but there is still much to do before we wrap up our stay in Rhode Island. Interested in helping out with your time or a financial donation? Please visit our Donation page or our Contact Us page and find how how you can make an impact on restoring the Fire Fighter!
Shipyard Update #1
It’s been a very busy few weeks for Fire Fighter and the workers at the J. Goodison Shipyard, and as the pictures below show there has been quite a change in the appearance of America’s Fireboat.
Hull work began as soon as Fire Fighter was set upon her keel blocks. Scraping and hydroblasting removed years of marine growth and several coats of paint from Fighter’s hull below the waterline. Once cleaned and dried, a coat of gray primer was applied to protect the steel from rusting and work began on the upper hull. With her topsides blasted clean of paint and rust, the Fighter now wears a uniform gray coat of primer on her hull. Also free from years of paint are her beautiful brass nameboards, now finally able to shine once again and offering a glimpse of how sharp she’ll look with all her topside brass returned to its original luster.
Last week we wrapped up our ultrasonic sounding of Fire Fighter’s hull plating and are extremely pleased to report that despite her hull being nearly 80 years old, the steel is still in excellent condition. At present we are working with the staff at the shipyard to plan the next phase of Fighter’s stay: repairs and reconditioning. Loose or worn rivets will be replaced or repaired and doubler plating will be installed in a few areas where she has seen some increased wear and tear over her years of hard-knock service. We’ll also be conducting detailed inspections of her sea chests and fire mains to make sure they are in a satisfactory condition.
There is still much to do on the Fighter while she’s high and dry, and if you would like to help out by volunteering aboard or by making a donation to our shipyard fund, please visit our DONATE or CONTACT US page on this website.
Fighter is high and dry!
January 10th, 2017:
We are extremely pleased to report that as of 1030AM EST the Fire Fighter has been successfully lifted clear of the water at the J. Goodison Shipyard and is now safely on land and ready to begin her first shipyard period since 2003.
Having arrived safely yesterday evening from Greenport following an 8 1/2 hour tow from Greenport under the care of the Mohawk Northeast tug Judy M, the Fighter will now be given some much needed TLC by shipyard personnel and museum volunteers over the next two months to get her ready for the next phase of her life as a fully operational museum ship. At present the forecast scope of work to be done on the Fighter includes:
- Sandblasting her hull to bare metal from the gunnels to the keel, removing nearly 30 years of paint in the process.
- Inspection and full ultrasonic sounding of her hull plating to verify the thickness and condition of her steel plating.
- Inspection of her hull riveting, propeller shafts, propellers and rudders.
- Replacement or repair of any hull plating and rivets found to be in a deteriorated condition.
- Installation of new sacrifical zinc anodes on the hull to provide cathodic protection.
- Inspection of the Fighter’s three sea suction ports and ultrasonic sounding of her fire mains.
- Repainting to her original black-hulled 1938 colors, which will complement the topside work already underway to return her topsides, stack and decks to the original 1938 color scheme for FDNY Fireboats.
As you can see, there is much to be done while the Fighter is high and dry – however, the list does not have to stop there. Your tax-deductible donations to our organization will allow us to add more items to our shipyard work list that we currently have sidelined due to lack funds, so please head over to our Donation page and help us make the most of this shipyard trip!
This shipyard trip is the culmination of several years of hard work and diligent effort by our organizations President Charlie Ritchie, and our small crew of dedicated volunteers who give so much of their time, expertise and efforts to help preserve and protect the Fire Fighter. Thanks to you all and to our supporters and benefactors who have donated to our museum and allowed us to take advantage of both our Federal and State matching grants to make this trip and the work being performed possible.
Please check this news page or on our Facebook page for updates on Figther’s shipyard progress!