The Brunswick Fire Department will have a new tool in its arsenal come springtime.

The department was awarded a $30,000 grant in September to help purchase a new, 18-foot flat bottom boat with a jet outboard. The new vessel will help with search and rescue operations, as well as provide increased access to area islands and local waters.

The boat will join the department’s fleet in March, said Brunswick Fire Chief Ken Brillant, adding that the addition will help personnel operate in shallow water, and assist in responding to fires on islands.

The grant, applied for in June with the town council’s permission, comes from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation. The foundation was established in 1986 to help support Maine communities and focuses on projects involving literacy, community services, and the arts.

“As community builders, we are particularly interested in organizations and projects that will affect or serve the most members of a community,” said the organization.

Brillant said the grant award is “huge.”

“It gives us an opportunity to be better equipped while working on the water. We struggle with the budget every year, and without funds like this, we wouldn’t have this boat,” he said Thursday, adding the department has other equipment to maintain that would not have allowed for the purchase of a new vessel without the grant money.

The old boat, a 13-foot Boston whaler purchased in 1984, is still in use, Brillant said, and it is not an adequate vessel to carry out the department’s necessary functions. The new boat is larger and can accommodate more personnel and equipment.

The new boat, the trailer, and tools to outfit the vessel, such as search and rescue lights, will cost a total of $30,000 Brillant said, adding that the old boat will be put out to bid and sold.

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