Local Fire Departments join forces to create Marine Incident Response Team
By Ex Chief Bill Renzetti
August 18, 2021

When an emergency happens on the water, time is of the essence; a sinking boat, a swimmer in distress, a boating accident, seconds can make all the difference.

In the first of its kind in Suffolk County, five local fire departments; Mastic Beach FD, Mastic FD, Center Moriches FD, East Moriches FD and Eastport Fire Department have joined forces to create a Marine Incident Response Team.

The multi-agency response team is comprised of a special group of firefighters trained to respond to water-based emergencies.

The response area covers from the Smithpoint Bridge in Mastic Beach to the Speonk River in Eastport. This includes all creeks, rivers, and coves as well as the Moriches Inlet and the Atlantic Ocean west to the Fire Island National Seashore.

Each department has specialized equipment to provide a rapid response to a variety of water-based incidents including citizens or vessels in distress, search and rescue, marine firefighting, and EMS assistance on the water.

The team’s resources include rescue swimmers, SCUBA divers, fire boats, jet skis, a hovercraft and numerous shallow water rescue boats.

Our local fire departments have a long-standing history of working together with the men and woman of U S Coast Guard Station East Moriches. This new marine response team will strengthen its alliance and improve its effectiveness with the Coast Guard while working together on the water.

The Marine Incident Response Team is dispatched by Suffolk County Fire Rescue and Emergency Services. FRES activates all five departments simultaneously eliminating any delay in the team’s response to water rescue incidents.

Once activated the team operates under a unified command and works together to provide efficient, and effective resources to any incident on our local waterways.

Thanks to the support of these fire departments and their dedicated volunteers the Marine Incident Response Team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to respond and provide emergency assistance at a moment’s notice.