Eighty-two years ago, on October 6th, 1931, fireboat John J. Harvey was launched right here in New York harbor. She was the first “modern” fireboats ever built in this country, moving the FDNY from the era of steam-power to diesel and making her the most powerful fireboat of the day.

Fireboat John J. Harvey launch in 1931. Photo Courtesy Al Trojanowiczvia via fireboat.org

Capable of pumping up to 18,000 gallons of water a minute, fireboat Harvey assisted during such notable fires as the Cunard Line pier fire in 1932 and the burning of the Normandie in 1942.

Fireboat John J. Harvey Bloomfield Street Pier 53. Photo via fireboat.org

Although retired from the FDNY in 1994, she was recommissioned into service when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on 9/11. Her monitors pumping water on to ‘the pile’ at Ground Zero for a consecutive 80 hours.


Harvey has spent her entire service life on the West Side of Manhattan at North (Hudson) River berths. Fireboat Harvey is now berthed at Pier 66 Maritime, a stone’s throw from where she performed most of her lifetime of service.

Fireboat John J. Harvey leads the Parade of Sail during the 2012 OpSail & Fleet Week celebrations. Photo by Mitch Waxman

Help us honor the 82nd anniversary of her launch with your generous donation to www.fireboat.org. In order to receive a generous grant award from “Save America’s Treasures“, the Harvey must raise matching funds.

If they don’t raise $165,955 by the end of this year, they will lose the money.

Please make a donation TODAY. Every penny collected will help keep this magnificent hero in ship-shape. You can also celebrate and honor the historical fireboat at their annual Fireboat Gala on November 4th. Click here for tickets.

Photo by Jessica DuLong, Chief Engineer fireboat John J. Harvey

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee, hat tip to Renee Lutz Stanley