Introducing Mercury Marine’s Joystick Piloting and Skyhook Digital Anchoring Systems to the Fireboat Industry

Apr 6, 2016

First-ever application of Mercury’s state-of-the-art technologies on a fireboat.

SUPERIOR, Wis. (April 6, 2016) – Lake Assault Boats, part of Fraser Shipyards and a leading manufacturer of purpose built, mission-specific fire and rescue boats, is showcasing a high-performance, Lake Assault 28-foot fireboat at booth #8726 on April 21-24 at the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) Exhibition in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The modified V-hull, custom-built craft is the first in the fireboat industry to showcase the Mercury® Joystick Piloting and Skyhook® Digital Anchor systems for unmatched boat control, and enhanced safety and performance.

“Lake Assault Boats are custom-built for performance and safety, and it’s with this mission top-of-mind we worked with Mercury Marine to integrate their state-of-the-art Mercury Joystick Piloting and Digital Anchor systems onto our lineup of fireboats,” said Gary Smith, Lake Assault Boats director of sales and marketing. “With these new systems, more so than ever before, the pilot will be able to effectively and easily maintain position and maneuver the boat – critical functions when lives are on the line and seconds count.”

The simple to operate Mercury Skyhook Digital Anchor system uses GPS technology and an electronic compass to automatically control shifting, throttling and steering to help first responders maintain heading and position when responding to an emergency. For example, when engaging the fire pump, the Skyhook Digital Anchor system automatically maintains the fireboat’s position so the operator can better concentrate on the mission at hand.

The Mercury Joystick Piloting system provides safe and easy one-handed maneuvering in tight spaces – even in a big fireboat with multiple engines. Joystick Piloting can move a fireboat sideways or at an angle in any direction; it can rotate a fireboat on it own axis and maneuver safety in close quarters with just a push or twist of a single joystick. This feature is invaluable during docking procedures or when in the midst of rescue operations.

“Even an experienced boat captain can find docking and maneuvering in tight quarters a challenge. But that changes drastically with these new systems,” said Smith. “Lake Assault engineers worked together with Mercury Marine to integrate the technologies onto our fireboats, and the systems were tested at our factory and on the waters of Lake Superior. We’re looking forward to FDIC to showcase these systems, as well as the other technologies and components on this amazing fireboat.”

The Lake Assault fireboat on display at FDIC features a hull length of 28 feet, a beam of 9-feet 6-inches, and has a carrying capacity of 4,000 lbs. Manufactured from high-strength marine grade 5083 and 5086 aluminum, the hull and superstructure are MIG and TIG welded throughout for added strength and long life. Other features include:

  • Twin Mercury Verado 250 HP outboard engines with counter-rotating stainless steel props.
  • A Darley fire pump rated at 1500 GPM powered by a separate V-8 engine, and a remote-controlled TFT “Monsoon” deck-mounted monitor.
  • A full suite of Garmin electronics, including GPS, chartplotting, sonar with side/structure scan, 4G radar, two 12-inch touchscreens, VHF marine radio, and a Fusion audio system.
  • Whelen emergency light bar with siren, controller, PA and hailer.
  • Two FRC scene lights with bottom raising poles and two fixed mount scene lights.
  • A 63-inch hydraulically-operated bow door with an integrated ladder for diver re-entry, and flat tread areas for ATV deployment. LED underwater lights are integrated into the front lip of the bow door to provide a “target” for divers to focus on when returning to the surface.
  • Two, 34-inch swing out dive doors, each with an integrated ladder.
  • Pilot house with an interior clearance height of 76-inches, forward leaning safety glass windshield, and a helm station that places all controls at the operator’s fingertips.
  • Removable deck panels for easy service access to pump and other components.
  • Self-bailing decks and easy to clean surfaces.
  • Two (2) Garmin 12-inch touchscreens with GPS, sonar (with side and structure scan), and chart plotting.
  • Roof-mounted forward looking infrared (FLIR) video camera (with zoom, pan and tilt features) that displays from the helm’s touchscreen.
  • Four remote-controlled spotlights and LED work lights.