Cape Coral Fire has four marine vessels used for these purposes. Marine 1 and Marine 7 are both 27-foot Boston Whalers with firefighting capabilities. Marine 1 is based at the Cape Coral Yacht Club and Marine 7 is housed at Burnt Store Marina. Marine 2 and Marine 3 are 19-foot Boston Whaler rescue boats and are kept at Fire Stations 2 and 3 respectively, ready for immediate deployment.
Your Cape Coral Fire Department responds to dozens of marine emergency calls every year, both singularly as a department and as part of the Lee County Marine Emergency Response Team (MERT) which is made up of multiple agencies including neighboring fire districts, the Lee County Sheriff's Office, the US Coast Guard and other agencies deployed during a fire or rescue incident.
Your Cape Coral Fire Department provides water rescue as one of its services. Two different rescue programs are currently available.
The initial program is known as First Responder Water Rescue. It is designed for all ten units of the department's front line apparatus, carrying one set of water rescue equipment, consisting of a mask, snorkel, flashlight, fins, horse collar vest, seat belt cutter, rescue tube, window punch and 50 feet of throw rope.
Bi-annual training is provided for all personnel, utilizing a full size plastic car submerged in a pool (controlled environment) and wearing a sandblasted mask to create the illusion of very low visibility, as experienced in many of our canals. The department responds to calls regarding vehicles in canals, missing persons and even animals trapped in the water that are unable to negotiate the seawalls.
Our second program is the Dive/Rescue Team that operates out of Station 2 on Nicholas Pkwy. The Team has a 19-foot Boston Whaler with two complete sets of full face masks with wireless communications. This allows the emergency responder on land to communicate with the diver while performing the search, and at the same time the diver can respond back. Other equipment includes three sets of SCUBA equipment, dive flags, medical kits and a vehicle available for use in responding to calls for help.
When a dive related call is received, the closest unit to the call will respond with first responder equipment. At the same time, the Dive/Rescue Team from Station 2 goes into response mode. As soon as the first responder unit reaches the call, one person will enter the water and begin a search pattern while the partner begins gathering information about the call. This procedure will continue until the victim is located or when the Dive/Rescue Team arrives and initiates SCUBA operations.