Event Notices Police & Fire

New Boston Fire Marine Dock to Suppress Noise, Increase Safety and Usability

The Boston Fire Department (BFD) held a presentation regarding the planned improvements to the BFD Marine Unit boat dock at Burroughs Wharf in the North End. The original dock had been corroded to the point where it was at risk of sinking and determined to be unsafe. The dock houses the John S. Damrell, the city’s main firefighting vessel, revealed in 2011, the vessel is a 52-ton aluminum vessel with five water cannons capable of shooting about 13,000 gallons of water per minute at a distance of 450 feet. The dock being replaced has housed the Boston Fire Marine Unit at Burroughs Wharf in the North End since May of 1991.  

Purpose of Reconstruction:

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The dock that is currently home to the Boston Fire Marine Unit is quickly degrading, deeming it dangerous and ineffective. Currently the dock has two levels of access to the boat, one is from the main dock, and the other is a ramp to a lower platform about 5 to 6 feet down. The ramp is often icy, wet, and has gotten to a point where it is unusable.

The new dock aims to address existing concerns with safety and usability for the firefighters. Reconstructing the dock will help alleviate historic problems brought from the dock, issues such as: safe berthing, safe mooring, ease of access onto the fire boat, and an ineffective ramp system. One specific area of focus has been placed on minimizing the noise that is a nuisance to residents. The new dock will allow the removal of the old pulley systems, reduce vessel fendering, and suppress the noise caused by vessel movements.

 In addition to the 7 feet additional space outward, About 20 feet forward from where the boat is currently parked
In addition to the 7 additional feet outward, the large vessel will also be about 20 feet forward from where the boat is currently docked.

The Plan:

The new dock will be 7 feet wider, pushing the vessel farther out from Burroughs Wharf, adding more space for the Firemen and reducing the amount of carbon monoxide exposed to the residential units. The dock will be made up of 4 individual steel barges, connected and working in sync with any tides, adding stability and safety. The design hopes to have the barges which dock to fire boats to not directly to touch the pier. As planned, only under extreme weather conditions would the dock be at risk of touching the pier, rubber fittings and other precautions would be added to aid the noise and potential contact.

In hopes to improve ramp system and access to the boat and implement extra security precautions to prepare for extreme weather.

The project time frame is hard to determine, although officials are hopeful that construction will start towards the end of 2015 and last into the early months of 2016. In terms of actual construction at the dock, the duration to complete the new dock  from start to finish should only take about 3 weeks. Most components are built off sight and the supports for the dock will be installed by vibratory hammers, putting the posts down about 30-40 feet. The Burroughs Wharf has an underground garage, concerns were raised about construction problems that had occurred during pile driving for the construction of Battery Wharf.

The proposed design.
A birds-eye view of the proposed design.

More information, contact: Jim McGaffigan, City of Boston Property and Construction Management at James.McGaffigan@boston.gov.