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Construction of Fireboat Station 35 Underway

San Francisco’s (and possibly the world’s) first floating fireboat station is under construction in the San Francisco Bay.

Fireboat Station 35 is being built on top of a barge that was manufactured in China and shipped to the bay this January. Tugboats pushed it to Treasure Island’s Pier 1, where it will remain moored until construction is complete. Then the two-story building will be moved to its permanent home at Pier 22 1/2 along San Francisco’s Embarcadero, adjacent to the historic Fire Station 35.

Even though the state is under a shelter-in-place order, this project is considered an essential service facility, so construction has not halted. The contractors have already erected the steel framing for the two-story building. A topping-out ceremony took place at the beginning of March to celebrate the placement of the final steel beam. “We have weekly videoconference meetings with the contractors and the owner to keep everyone coordinated,” says project architect Brian Leonard. “The contractors are welding connections, adding canopies, and dropping in the second-level deck. Soon they’ll start pouring concrete.”

Once operational, the new fireboat station will make it much easier for firefighters to access the city’s fireboats. Currently, firefighters have to climb down to reach the boats, a distance that varies with the tide. The new station will always be at the same level as the fireboats, regardless of the tide level or sea level rise. A wide ramp will connect the facility to Fire Station 35. “If a fireboat rescues people in need of medical help and brings them back to the station, the ambulance can easily drive down the ramp and transfer them to the hospital,” Leonard says.

The station will provide mooring for three fireboats and other marine craft. The first floor will contain administrative space, a flexible multipurpose room for training and gatherings, boat repair facilities, and equipment storage. The second floor will contain living quarters for the firefighters, including a large kitchen, a dining room, a dayroom, bedrooms for officers, and dormitories for staff. Completion is slated for 2021.