Wilmington Fire Boats

Created September 17, 2014
Updated March 8, 2022


Photo Name Years Boat Information Photo Information
  Marie 1887-? In November 1887, an agreement was signed by Captain E. D. Williams of the steam tug Marie, to equipped the craft as a fire boat. It was soon equipped with a steam pump and a 100 feet of hose. It could also pump steam from the tug's boiler into the hold of a ship, to extinguish fire. The Marie is mentioned as a fire boat in news articles as late as 1892.  
Atlantic I 1907-1914 Hull: Wood
Engine: Globe, two-cylinder gasoline, 25 HP
Speed: 8 MPH
Pump: Silsby steam engine, third-size
Capacity: ?

Built by the city. In 1910, staffed with three paid men, two on duty at all times, and moored at foot of Chestnut Street.

Fireboat Atlantic I in front of the Custom House, 1925.

New Hanover County Public Library / Dr. Robert M. Fales Collection

  Atlantic II 1914-1949? Make: ?
Hull: Wood
Engine: Gasoline, 25 HP
Speed: 10 MPH
Pump: American LaFrance with 125 HP gasoline engine
Capacity: 1400 GPM

In 1915, staffed with three paid men, and equipped with 600 feet 2 1/2-inch hose.


Atlantic III 1949?-1963 Make: ?
Built: 1943 in Brownsville, TX
Hull: Wood
Length: 65 feet
Engine: 230 HP Superior diesel, 44-inch propeller, 36-inch pitch
Pumps: Hale, two stage (2) with 150 HP Mack gasoline engines
Capacity: 2500 GPM or higher

Built for government patrol duty, acquired by city in 1949, and stripped for fireboat conversion. Firefighting equipment included eight 2 1/2-inch outlets, and two tower-mounted deluge guns, each with full transverse and elevation controls.

Fireboat Atlantic III on Cape Fear River, circa 1947

New Hanover County Public Library / Dr. Robert M. Fales Collection

Hose & Nozzle magazine archives, courtesy Troy FD, picture appeared in August 1955 issue.

Hugh Morson photo, undated at Azalea Festival, Hose & Nozzle magazine archives, courtesy Troy FD.

Atlantic IV 1963-1986 Make: Bath Iron Works
Built: 1932 in Bath, MA
Hull: Steel
Length: 64 feet
Weight: 85 tons
Engine: Diesel (3)
Pump: ?
Capacity: 2500 GPM

Tugboat built for US Public Health Department. Named T. B. McLintick, after doctor credited with cure for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Served health department from 1932 to 1958.  Also used briefly as ice breaker. Acquired by city in 1963 for $300. Three diesel engines installed, as well as firefighting equipment. First duty was washing down decks of USS North Carolina before dedication ceremony. Retired 1986. Docked at Cape Fear Technical Institute for several months. Sold and later restored to original public health tug.

Star-News/Chris Nelson photo

Atlantic V 1986-1999 Former 1960s Navy fire boat. Unveiled September 1986, after undergoing a two-year, $200,000 restoration. The steel-hulled craft had sunk once while in Navy service, and was raised and refurbished. But corrison both inside and outside caused the craft to sink at its dock site in 1999.

Specs cited by Wayne Greer/Jay Thomson in Flickr photo posting: 1962, with 2000 GPM pump.
Fireboat Atlantic V on Cape Fear River during Preservation Week, May 11, 1987

Star-News/Jack Upton photo, via New Hanover County Public Library Digital Archives

Wayne Greer photo via Jay Thomson collection.

Atlantic V 1999?-2007 Make: Harbor (?)
Model: ?
Built: 1979
Hull: ?
Length: 34 feet
Beam: 11 foot 9 inches
Draft: 44 inches
Pump: 500 GPM
Crew capacity: Three

Older Coast Guard boat that was re-purposed as a second Atlantic V. The department mounted a 500 GPM pump on the deck. Alternately cited as a 32-foot Willard. Used mostly in the Intercostal Waterway, creeks, and marinas on the east side of the city. Eventually scrapped due to needed repairs.
Wayne Greer photo
Atlantic VI 2007-present Make: MetalCraft Marine
Model: Firestorm 50
Built: 2007 in Kingston, Ontario
Hull: ?
Length: 50 feet
Engines: Cat C-18 (2), 885 HP at 2220 RPM
Speed: 40 knots
Pump: Hale 3000 (2)
Capacity: 7000 GPM, nearly

Firefighting equipment includes FoamPro Accumax system, with 500 gallons of foam aboard. Boat is equipped with 16 discharges including six monitors. Has four five-inch connections for land-lines.

MetalCraft Marine photo

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