FMB Needs Fireboats

Letters to the Editor

62

As a seasonal resident of the FMB mooring fields, I read with interest Fire Commissioner Schindler’s barbed opposition in the October 14 Sand Paper concerning Ron Fleming, a candidate for Seat 2 of the fire commission.

Mr. Fleming proposes adding small rescue boats for the fire department.

I have navigated my boat thousands of miles. I have never encountered a port or mooring field whose local fire department did not have water assets even when there is a Coast Guard station.

My emergency plan as a boater hooked to a mooring ball in Estero Bay in times of hazardous weather was to rely on the US Coast Guard for rescue. My fear was that even though they were first on my list, I might not be first on theirs. With the large number of boats moored to balls in the bay and potentially ending up in the mangroves, it is easy to picture the Coast Guard being overwhelmed by the sheer number of people needing rescue. That of course presumes that the Coast Guard is not preoccupied elsewhere on the high seas. Coast Guard personnel will not be left behind on the chance FMB needs help if their duty is elsewhere.

During Hurricane Matthew, countless pictures of rescues being made by johnboats and rigid inflatables in North Carolina and other states show the effectiveness of these crafts. As I recall, over 800 people were rescued in North Carolina alone. Being a boat owner, I know these boats are inexpensive to purchase and maintain. They could be used to effect the rescue of boaters and residents from the flooded islands. I like candidate Fleming’s proposal to provide such craft to the FMBFD.

To me it’s just common sense.

 

Lester Flohr
Fort Myers