In the 115 years since the "Great Seattle Fire", the City of Seattle has had just four fireboats built to protect its busy waterfront. The first vessel, Snoqualmie, was built in 1891. The Duwamish followed in 1909, then the Alki in 1927, and finally the Chief Seattle in 1985. The Alki and Chief Seattle are still in service, providing fire protection and marine community support functions in Elliott Bay
and Lake Union.
On November 4, 2003, Seattle voters approved construction of a new fireboat to replace the ALKI as part of the nine-year Fire Facilities and Emergency Response Levy. This new vessel will become the City's primary salt water response vessel. Following a preliminary design competition between three Seattle based and one Vancouver, B.C. based Naval Architects, Jensen Maritime Consultants was selected by the City of Seattle as having the best overall design. As a result, Jensen Maritime Consultants (JMC) will be awarded the contract to develop a complete design and specification for the new fireboat, and provide engineering and contract support to the City during the bid and construction process. This includes shipyard liaison, construction inspection, and sea trial performance review.
The JMC design was chosen for its adherence to the City's specification requirements for a modern vessel with features matched to the difficult environment of today's waterfront, including the ability to fight fires on massive tankers, cargo ships, and cruise ships, as well as address Home Port Security operational issues. To this end, the new design incorporates systems to detect Chemical, Biological, and Nuclear incidents, and to seal the vessel's personnel spaces from these hazards in order to protect the crew and allow for continued operation of the vessel. Heading up the project for JMC will be Melissa Hertel, P.E., Naval Architect and Vice President of Marketing at JMC. Assisting her is Jonathan Parrott, P.E., Naval Architect and Director of Engineering at JMC. Jonathan will act as assistant project manager and has overall responsibility for the vessel design. Stephen Gleaves, P.E., Electrical Engineer and President, and John Hveding, P.E., Mechanical Engineer and Vice President of Operations, will head up the design effort in their respective specialties.