ALAMEDA -- Mayor Marie Gilmore will join firefighters and city officials Thursday at the Alameda Marina to christen "Deanna Jo," the fire department's new boat.
The 32-foot vessel is the only one of its kind in the East Bay and is equipped with a pump that can spray up to 2,000 gallons of water a minute. And the boat can be used to supply water to a fire engine or a rig on shore.
"It's almost like a floating hydrant," acting Deputy Fire Chief Doug Long said.
The boat, which cost about $500,000, was acquired with the aid of a Federal Port Security Grant. The only department in the Bay Area with a similar vessel is the San Francisco Fire Department, Long said.
The christening will take place at 10 a.m. near Gate 5 at the marina, 2033 Clement Ave. The event is open to the public .
Along with a pump that can draw water from the Bay or from the Oakland and Alameda Estuary, the boat is equipped with a device that tracks a heat source, a tool that the three-person crew can use if they are searching for someone who may gone into the water at night.
"It can locate things under docks or pilings," Long said. "Even birds."
While the boat has not been officially launched, it has already been out on at least two calls, including one where witnesses mistakenly reported that someone had fallen into the estuary after a vehicle accident on the Park Street Bridge.
"Acquiring a fire boat has been a priority of the Alameda Fire Department's Marine Operations Program," Alameda fire Chief Mike D'Orazi said. "We need the ability to protect and serve the critical waterfront infrastructure surrounding and adjacent to the island of Alameda."
At the Alameda Marina, the boat rests on a "Jet Dock," sort of a floating plastic floor that keeps the vessel out of the water, which in turn helps keep it clean and allows for easy access for maintainence.
The crew literally drive the boat, which is equipped with two 300 horsepower engines, up on to the floating dock when it is not in service.
Along with Gilmore and city officials, representatives from the Port of Oakland, the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy, the Department of Transportation Maritime Administration and the San Francisco Bay Area Search and Rescue Council will be on hand for the christening.
Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.