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Donation expands Seattle Fire’s water response capabilities

Firefighters from Seattle Fire learn how to operate the two new rescue watercraft

Seattle – July 1, 2024 – Just in time for warmer weather, the Seattle Fire Department is piloting a new program that will speed its response to water rescues. As of July 1, the department is adding two customized SeaDoos to its marine response capabilities. The new units will help Seattle Fire respond more quickly and to a larger geographic area for emergencies on fresh water.

“Seattle has nearly 200 miles of shoreline, with recreational and maritime activities that draw people to the water year-round. While we have rescue boats on salt and fresh water, and our citywide rescue swimmer program, placing these units at Leschi casts a wider net of coverage for this part of the city that we have not had before.”

Fire Chief Harold D. Scoggins, Seattle Fire Department

Donated by the Seattle Fire Foundation, the pair of rescue watercraft will be dispatched to rescue people in water and reach vessels in distress as part of Seattle Fire’s response strategy. When responding to a freshwater incident, the rescue watercraft will be dispatched along with members of the department’s highly trained rescue swimmer program.

Currently rescue swimmers are limited to responses no further than 300 feet from shore. By pairing with the rescue watercraft team, the rescue swimmers can respond well beyond that distance safely and quickly. In addition, the rescue watercrafts feature a back platform that allows the operator and rescue swimmers to bring patients to shore for further medical care evaluation.

“These jet skis are essential pieces of equipment to help firefighters respond as quickly as possible to water-related emergencies where timing is critical. Our foundation’s mission is to help provide essential tools like this to help improve our firefighter’s ability to better protect us all. We are very grateful to those who donate to our foundation and for helping us make this happen.”

Steve Elsoe, Seattle Fire Foundation board chair

This is the third major equipment donation by the Seattle Fire Foundation made this year. In January 2024, the foundation purchased thermal imaging cameras for two tailboard firefighters on all 32 engines. The foundation also worked with Amazon and the Gary Sinise Foundation to outfit every firefighter in operations with technical extrication gloves.

About Seattle Fire Foundation

The mission of the Seattle Fire Foundation (SFF) is to support and provide critical resources for the advancement of the Seattle Fire Department (SFD). We strive to bring communities together, raise awareness of SFD critical needs, and increase participation from the citizens of Seattle in supporting the Seattle Fire Foundation. In partnership with our generous donors, we strive to help keep Seattle firefighters safe, improve their effectiveness, and invest in programs to improve their health and wellness. For more information, visit:

About Seattle Fire Department

The Seattle Fire Department (SFD) operates 33 fire stations located throughout the city of Seattle, with the mission of saving lives and protecting property through emergency medical services, fire and rescue responses, and fire prevention. More than 1,000 firefighters serve in five battalions operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. SFD staff respond immediately when anyone in the city needs help with professional, effective, and compassionate service. In 2023, dispatched to a record-setting 111,319 responses. For more information, visit