Fire and Water

New rescue boat for Molokai Fire Department

Fear not the rough and tough waters of Molokai this winter, as ocean safety has recently reached an all-time high.

The Molokai Fire Department has been newly outfitted with a state-of-the-art rescue boat designed specifically for Molokai’s typical ocean conditions: high winds and turbulent waters.

“Because of our rough channels it is extremely important to be able to better help our active community of water sports and fisherman,” said Ho`olehua Captain Steve Eminger. “We simply needed a more capable boat for ocean rescue.”

As the newest addition to the Molokai Fire Department’s ocean fleet in over twenty years, the 26-foot Radon craft will outperform ocean rescue craft across the state, according to a fire department spokesperson. The standard commercial boat was decked out to include dual 220 horsepower diesel motors, a diver’s deck, enhanced tow hitch, and top-of-the-line navigation and radar electronics.

The upgrade enables quicker and more accurate reaction to emergencies and reduces dependency of rescuers from other islands. 

“This is a major improvement for island service; we now have full capability that Maui has with ocean rescue,” said Kaunakakai firefighter Larry Rawlins. “We can cut up to an hour wait time for response with this rig.”

The $234,250 rescue boat was completely funded by the Community Development Block Grant, a federal program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The craft, named Na`auaokalanakai, received a blessing during a public ceremony yesterday and will be housed at the Kaunakakai Station.


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