John J. Harvey (fireboat)

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Fireboat John J. Harvey
Career (New York City Fire Department) Flag of the City of New York
Ordered: 1928
Builder: Todd Shipbuilding Plant
Laid down: 1930
Launched: October 6, 1931
Commissioned: December 17, 1931
In service: December 17, 1931
Out of service: 1995
Renamed: Engine 57 (1931)
Engine 86 (1938)
Marine 2 (1959)
Homeport: Pier 63, New York City (As of 2007)
Fate: Museum ship
General characteristics
Displacement: 268 net tons
Length: 130 ft (40 m)
Beam: 28 ft (8.5 m)
Draught: 9 ft (2.7 m)
Propulsion: Twin screws
Capacity: 20,000gpm
File:Fireboat John J Harvey 2.jpg
Fireboat John J. Harvey
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The John J. Harvey is a fireboat formerly of the New York City Fire Department in New York City, famed for returning to service following the September 11, 2001 attacks.[1]


At 130 feet and 268 net tons, she is among the most powerful fireboats ever in service, capable of pumping up to 18,000 gallons of water a minute.


She had a distinguished career in the FDNY, from her launch in 1931 to her retirement in 1994. Among the marine fires at which she assisted were the Cunard Line pier fire in 1932, the burning of the Normandie in 1942, the ammunition ship El Estero during World War II, and the collision of the Alva Cape and Texaco Massachusetts oil tankers in 1966. She was named for marine fireman John J. Harvey, killed when a ship exploded during a fire. Her official designation at the end of her career was Marine 2.

She was sold, at auction, in 1999, to a private consortium of marine preservationists determined to prevent her from scrapping. In June 2000 she was added to the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places. Her current owners have thoroughly restored her, and host frequent free trips on the river.

September 11, 2001

The John J. Harvey had an unexpected encore. During the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the boat's owners asked FDNY officials for permission to assist in evacuations from Ground Zero.[2] Meanwhile, firefighters had determined that the vast scale of destruction had damaged many fire mains, depriving fire crews of water. Officials radioed the Harvey to drop off her passengers as soon as possible and return to the disaster site to pump water, reactivating her official designation Marine 2. Alongside two other FDNY fireboats, she pumped water at the site for 80 hours, until water mains were restored.[3] The National Trust for Historic Preservation gave the Harvey a special National Preservation Award to recognize this incident. The Harvey's story was the subject of a 2002 children's book.


  • FIREBOAT: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey, by Maira Kalman, 2002. ISBN 0-399-23953-7


  1. ^ official site
  2. ^ Historic Fireboat Aids in New York City Response and Recovery at the World Trade Center
  3. ^ Born-Again Hero
  4. ^ The Maritime Evacuation of Manhattan on September 11, 2001

External links