By Heather Regula, Correspondent
The Morgan’s Point Resort Special Operations Division hosted an Open House to provide the public with full access to their boat program at the Morgan’s Point Marina on Saturday, April 14. The star of the show was Marine 61, a former U.S. Coast Guard Defender Class small boat, which has been entirely repurposed as an advanced Fire-Rescue craft. Free t-shirts were provided to the first 50 visitors, and attendees were able to take a ride on the lake.
“This is the only vessel of its kind around here. All upgrades to the boat were done with the help of the city, and fundraising efforts,” said Public Information Officer Jack Pierce.
The boat features include mapping systems, radar, night vision and side view imaging. Response times have been cut down, and hundreds of gallons of water can be released within minutes. The vessel can handle rough water, and the enclosed cabin provides shelter for rescued individuals.
“The bigger pumps let us spray more water, higher and faster. The boat has three water pumps – two in the back that pump 600 gallons per minute, and one in the front that can put out 350 gallons per minute,” explained Captain Victor Hall, Chief of Marine Operations. “In 2017, we responded to 158 water-assist calls, and we have already had two boat recoveries this year. We fought about 50 percent of the fire at Oakmont with this boat.”
Lieutenant Corey Adams has volunteered with the Morgan’s Point Volunteer Fire Department for the past five years.
“America was built on the concept of people helping each other. Volunteering with the Fire Department is a great way to give back to my community. It’s important to me that my children see me volunteering in the community,” remarked Adams. “Safety on the lake is important. We want the public to know that we are here to help them if they need us, but please be prepared when you go out on the lake. Be aware of the lake and where you are, and know the weather conditions.”
The Thomas family, of Belton, enjoyed themselves during Saturday’s Open House.
“My boys love fire trucks, and we had a lot of fun here today,” stated Chrystal Thomas.
The 12 members of the Marine Operations Team are all swift water trained and the unit participates in the weekly fire department training. Donations to the Morgan’s Point Volunteer Fire Department are tax deductible.