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Anonymous donors invest in new search and rescue boat for Suamico

Posted at 7:45 PM, May 17, 2024

SUAMICO (NBC 26) — A new search and rescue boat is the latest addition to the Suamico Fire Department's toolbox. Suamico neighborhood reporter Pari Apostolakos shows you all the bells and whistles.

  • Get onboard the Suamico Fire Department's new search and rescue boat
  • A couple that wishes to remain anonymous made the $250,000 purchase possible
  • The vessel features a navigation system, a thermal imaging camera, and life jackets which inflate on their own

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

This search and rescue boat is the newest addition to the Suamico Fire Department's toolbox. I'm your Suamico neighborhood reporter Pari Apostolakos here to show you all the bells and whistles.

Lt. Scott Legois gave me a tour of the boat at the Suamico fire station.

"Chief has been trying to get us something for probably the last eight years," Lt. Legois said. "I mean, this wasn't something that we just thought of."

And it's all thanks to donors.

Suamico Fire Chief Joe Bertler told me over the phone he asked people in the community if they'd be interested in helping the department buy something like this.

Bertler says one couple, that wants to remain anonymous, covered the cost of the $250,000 vessel.

"The navigation system, your co-pilot is probably just as important as your engineer, your driver," Legois said while giving an overview of the boat's capabilities. "'Cause they can help, you can set up the screens to read different things."

The new boat has two 150 horsepower motors, a navigation system, a thermal imaging camera, and life jackets that inflate on their own.

"It's quite an improvement," Legois said.

It's a major step up from their other boat, belovedly referred to as 'The dinghy,' which only has a motor.

"So we just did our own little rescues which, you know, we probably did between about five and six during the normal summertime," Legois said.

But, with their new boat's capabilities, Suamico Fire expects to help emergency departments throughout northeast Wisconsin with many more water rescues and searches this summer.

The department is waiting for a slip to open up to store the boat on the water all summer. In Suamico, Pari Apostolakos NBC 26.