Williston Northampton School lands Easthampton a new rescue boat



Published: 12-22-2016 9:46 PM

EASTHAMPTON — The Williston Northampton School has donated a new rescue boat to the city of Easthampton, a gift that was officially accepted at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.

A 14-foot inflatable Defender with a 25-horsepower outboard motor will replace a decades-old aluminum boat which Fire Chief David Mottor said has holes and leaks.

The older boat was not designed as a rescue vehicle, according to Mottor. The sides are high, making it difficult to pull people out of the water and increasing the risk of injury to rescuers, Mottor said in a press release.

Mayor Karen Cadieux said to pull someone over in an emergency situation, the boat would almost capsize.

Mottor said the boat’s motor dates back to the 1980s, and the boat itself to at least 1953.

“The new boat has a lower profile, it’s lighter, and it can be brought to the water’s edge anywhere,” Mottor said in a statement. “We don’t have to use the boat launch, which will reduce our response time.”

The Easthampton Police and Fire departments oversee rescues and spill-response activities in Nashawannuck Pond, Rubber Thread Pond, in the Oxbow of the Connecticut River, and on the Manhan River. With a stronger motor, the new boat will allow a crew to pull oil spill response equipment through a stronger current, according to Mottor.

Cadieux said she and Williston representatives discussed a capital gift the school could give to the city and decided on a rescue boat, which costs more than $10,000.

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“Our public safety professionals need quality equipment to do their jobs well and we are proud to support their efforts,” Williston’s Head of School Robert W. Hill III said in a news release.

Caitlin Ashworth can be reached at cashworth@gazettenet.com.