The flat-bottom, Rescue 1 Connector craft uses a jet drive engine in lieu of a propeller for more shallow water rescue.
BCFD Division Chief of Training & Special Operations Dwayne Jamison said the smaller boat will remain on a trailer for river, lake or flood rescues. The department's other two watercraft are used primarily for fire suppression.
"This boat is specifically for rescue, unlike the bigger fire boat we've got," Jamison said. "This one is not going to be used for fire control. It can be a back-up to the boat we have at Wilderness Camp. If the boat were to go down at Wilderness Camp, this boat can take its place; we'd just swap the pump out.
"It can be used for dragging operations. It can be used for rescue operations on the lake. One of our big concerns now is with the river, with all the kayaking and the tubing and the canoeing that goes on on the Etowah River, we saw a need for rescue capability on the river."
The boat was purchased through a federal grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Costing roughly $26,000, the department provided 20 percent of the purchase price.
"It's a competitive grant, where you're competing with other fire departments all across the country, and it goes through a peer-review process. ... Different fire departments and fire service people send folks to review grants, and once they meet the grant criteria, it goes to them for peer review and they pick the departments that get them."
Although the boat was "something that we needed," Jamison said BCFD has no plans to acquire additional vessels. The department moves now to water rescue, including swift water rescue, training.