On behalf of the Officers and Members of the Woodland Beach Volunteer Fire Department, we have some exciting news to share with our community. Coming in Spring 2020; Boat 2! The 25’ SAFE Boat Defender project is currently in progress, having motors, equipment mount fabrication and electronics installed. It is estimated to be in service for the 2020 boating season.
In the past year there have been over 140 emergencies requiring marine response within Anne Arundel County with 25 of them being in the Woodland Beach Volunteer Fire Department first due response area. Just under half of these 25 incidents were fatal. Over half of the calls within the county, our department would be due on. With Boat 2 we can reduce the response time to our local waterways by more than half. Currently, the closest marine unit has a response time of between 30-40 minutes.
The Woodland Beach Volunteer Fire Department has a marine operations history dating back to the late 1960’s. In 1968 a hovercraft was donated by the local Kiwanis Club and remained at the station until approximately 1972 when it was sold. The hovercraft proved to be more of a show piece rather than a functional water rescue unit.
Once the hovercraft was sold, a 14’ Boston Whaler was brought in with a 20hp outboard motor and used as a water rescue unit until approximately 1982. In 1982 WBVFD obtained a 20’ center console boat from Galesville Volunteer Fire Department and was in service until the late 1990’s. Since then, there have been no marine units in service at WBVFD.
The 2020 Boat 2 project will cost approximately $105,000. A portion of these funds have been obtained in grants awarded for this purpose as well as donations.
While long overdue, we are excited and proud to place this additional and essential piece of equipment in service to further help and protect our citizens and visitors in the Edgewater area and beyond. Thanks to Chief John Sweeney, firefighter Bill LeHew Jr and Melissa Bailey for all of their hard work in making this project possible.