The City of Easthampton is scheduled to accept a gift of a rescue boat from the Williston Northampton School at a Dec. 21 City Council meeting. The equipment replaces an aluminum boat that dated to before 1953, according to Fire Chief David Mottor.
Mayor Karen Cadieux said she and representatives from Williston had been in discussions about a capital gift to the city that the school could make. “This is the perfect item. It serves the police department, the fire department, Williston, and the entire city of Easthampton,” she said. “We’re thrilled to see our community working together.”
The new craft is a 14-foot Defender 430 Zodiac-style inflatable with a 25-horsepower outboard motor and a hard hull. The design makes rescuing much easier, Mottor said. The older boat, which was not designed as a rescue vehicle, has high sides, making it difficult to pull people out of the water, and increasing the risk of injury to the rescuer, Mottor said.
“The new boat has a lower profile, it’s lighter, and it can be brought to the water’s edge anywhere. We don’t have to use the boat launch, which will reduce our response time,” he said. The police and fire departments undertake rescue, enforcement, and spill-response activities in Nashawannuck Pond, in the Oxbow of the Connecticut River, and on the Manhan River. Mottor said the new boat with a bigger motor will allow a crew to pull oil spill response equipment, such as booms, through a stronger current.
Police Chief Robert Alberti said the boat fills a need when the department engages in enforcement and rescue activities. “We’ve had to ask to borrow a boat to render services,” he said, adding. “We look forward to using the boat for the betterment of the community.”
Williston Chief Financial Officer Charles McCullagh, who, along with Head of School Robert W. Hill III, worked with the city to identify a donation that would best serve the community, delivered the craft to the fire department on the morning of Dec. 20. McCullagh, Hill, Mayor Cadieux, Chief Mottor, and Chief Alberti posed for photos next to the old and new boats.
“Our public safety professionals need quality equipment to do their jobs well, and we are proud to support their efforts,” Hill said.
McCullagh added, “Williston works to be a good partner for the town of Easthampton, and we are happy to support its rescue operations by providing this equipment.”