On Patrol with the FDNY Marine Division

7 Online - July 05, 2019

by Rob Nelson

(WABC) -- While millions of spectators have their eyes fixed to the sky Thursday night, some members of New York's Bravest will be on patrol to make sure every one stays safe on the water.

The FDNY Marine Division responds to all sorts of emergency surrounding the five boroughs.

For most folks, summer is all about hitting the beach or taking out the boat. But for members of the department's summer boat program, this is busy season.

"Once the warmer weather hits, the recreational traffic skyrockets," Lt. Joe Czyzewski said. "Via boat and on the beaches."

The rapid response boat is an impressive craft that can bolt more than 50 miles an hour and protects a huge swath of the area, from Raritan Bay to Coney Island to the Rockaways and all the way to the edges of Nassau County.

If there's a swimmer about to go under or a boat in distress, these guys are flying to the scene, part of their 17-hour shifts.

"We spend most of our day underway on the water, patrolling, familiarizing with our area, talking to the public and responding to runs, emergencies, emergencies on vessels, drownings, fire," the FDNY's Quincy Lawton said.

Three marine units made nearly 900 responses last year from May to October as they supplement other marine units during the warm weather months.

"Every day, if there's nothing going on, we will drill on something," Lawton said.

These are highly specialized jobs that are even more critical due to big increases in recreational boating and commercial transportation.

"I couldn't see myself doing anything else," Czyzewski said. "Firefighter on land, firefighter on the water, it's an amazing career. And I love New York City."