Always on call
To ensure rapid response, Randolph crewmembers take 24-hour shifts in a firehouse located next to the dock. Three two-person crews, consisting of captain and deckhand, rotate shifts through the week. Keeping a 75-foot fireboat in top condition is constant work. Each captain and deckhand knows how to perform routine service and preventive maintenance, such as changing filters and pump propellers. For more technical engine work, local mtu
distributor W.W.Williams is called into action.
W.W.Williams has been supporting the Curtis Randolph since it was commissioned in 1979, performing warranty work and emergency repairs. “Thanks to the design of those engines and the boat, it’s always mission-capable. It can get started in a moment’s notice,” said Ron Taylor, marine product sales and applications manager for W.W.Williams. “It’s a lot like a fire truck that sits in the firehouse. When the bell goes off, those guys can jump on, fire it up, and off they go. One of the biggest benefits of its two-cycle engines is the rapid start and there is no need to wait around for things to warm up.”
Winter hibernation is not an option
In about five minutes, the Curtis Randolph can start up, take up its lines and head out on the water. It’s the same time it takes for firefighters to get from the nearest engine and ladder company to arrive at the Randolph’s dock. During the winter months when ice forms and freighters no longer cruise the river, the Randolph is placed in storage. The plumbing is drained and bubblers below the vessel churn up the water to prevent ice formation.
It’s a testament to the resilience of its Detroit Diesel 2-Cycle engines that the vessel is not totally out of commission in the off-season. In the event of a major emergency, it would take only 30-45 minutes to get the boat up and running and head out on the Detroit River, capable of pushing through the ice with its powerful engines and reinforced bow.