Fred A Busse Chicago Fire Boat

Fred A Busse Fireboat

The retired Fred A Busse Chicago Fire Boat found a home in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin for a number of years as a tour boat.  It was docked at the city dock and visitors could take tours of the Sturgeon Bay waterfront.


Update: The fireboat has made its way back to Chicago where you can still take tours on it.

Fred A Busse Chicago Fireboat
Fred A Busse Fireboat at Night

History of the Fred A Busse Chicago Fire Boat

The fireboat was built in Bay City, Michigan, and commissioned in 1937.  It was in service for 44 years at Navy Pier, in Chicago, Illinois.  In 1981 the boat was retired from service and is now serving as a tour boat in Door County, Wisconsin.

Fred A Busse Fire Boat in Winter

What Was A Fireboats Job?

A fireboat is a specialized watercraft with pumps and nozzles designed for fighting shoreline and shipboard fires. The first fireboats, dating to the late 18th century, were tugboats, retrofitted with fire-fighting equipment.

The boats would protect the waterfront in Chicago.  Back in the day, all the buildings and wharves that lined the waterfront were made from wood.  Today, they are made of concrete.  Which is why the city no longer needs the sheer amount of boats it once did.

A fireboat is a specialized watercraft with pumps and nozzles designed for fighting shoreline and shipboard fires. The first fireboats, dating to the late 18th century, were tugboats, retrofitted with fire-fighting equipment

Along with stricter building codes, also brought new building methods for fireboats. Making the newer style boats cheaper to run. Making the old boats outdated.

The Joseph Medilll that is pictured above with the Fred A Busse, I found in Escanaba, Michigan on land.

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