New York City's fire department is ditching the ancient boat it's used since 1954 for the "longest and heaviest fireboat in the world," according to the New York Times. Christened Three Four Three after the 343 firemen and women who died in the 9/11 attacks, the new boat is designed to be able to take on the challenges that face a modern firefighter, such as chemical attacks, for which the boat has air filters that will allow its crew to get close.
The 140-foot, 500-ton Three Four Three also boasts a fifty-foot camera-equipped crane for water rescues and the ability to lower down its deck to help people out of the water. Of course, it's also designed to fight fires, which is why it can crank out a whopping 50,000 gallons of water a minute, which is over half again what its predecessor could manage, and travel at 18 knots (or 20 mph) as it patrols the NYC coastline.
Along with the air filters to keep the crew safe from chemical spills, the boat's cabin is also pressurized, keeping firefighters cool even when they are near a big blaze, a decontamination shower for civilians covered in oil or worse, and a triage center on-board if things go bad.
A second boat similar to the Three Four Three is scheduled to be delivered to the FDNY later this year, where it'll replace a boat even older than the one the Three Four Three is retiring.
The NYPD is also getting its own modern vessel (pictured below), which will be able to right itself if it flips, and carry bulletproof flotation vests that are also self-righting, so if an officer falls into the water unconscious he or she will float face-up.