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Captiva fire commission approves manufacturer for district’s boat

By Staff | Apr 20, 2018

Fire Chief Jeff Pawul

The manufacturer of the Captiva Island Fire Control District’s first-ever vessel has been selected.

On April 10, the district’s commissioners voted 3-0 in favor of Metal Shark Boats, based in Louisiana. Commissioners Robert Brace, C.W. Kilgore and Sherrill Sims all approved the recommended pick.

“There were two other manufacturers that we were considering during the process, but not when it came down to it,” Fire Chief Jeff Pawul said. “The other two ended up being just way more money for not a better quality.”

In October, the district received a $300,000 grant from the West Coast Inland Navigation District.

“It’s probably going to be closer to $250,000 for the total project,” he said.

It will be the first fire and rescue boat the district has had.

“It’ll be an asset for the island,” Pawul said.

In March, he reported that about 10 percent of the district’s calls are water-related, as compared to about half of that a few years ago. Emergencies on the water, outside of the spectrum of the U.S. Coast Guard, require a call to other agencies for assistance, like Sanibel, Pine Island and Iona-McGregor.

“We’re an island with five marinas and we don’t have a boat,” Pawul said. “It’s kind of a needed necessity.”

He noted that Metal Shark Boats has contracts for a large number of Coast Guard vessels. The manufacturer also contracts with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The Iona-McGregor Fire District even bought one of its boats a few years ago.

“Just trying to keep things as uniform as possible throughout the county,” Pawul said.

The next step is finalizing the bid with the manufacturer, including options and equipment.

After the bid is finalized, the order will be processed.

“Four to six months is their build cycle,” he said.

Pawul anticipates that the district will receive the boat around September.

Asked about leftover funds if the project comes in under $300,000, he explained that the district could use it for anything basically related to the project, but they will probably go back into the grant fund.