Aussie: Fight Fire from the Sea

27.01.2020
Putting out fires depends on two things. Firstly, the capability of the fire fighting equipment and the second is the volume of water available to douse the fire!
Aussie: Fight Fire from the Sea

These land base firefighters are testing Aussie’s Sea Skipper on estuary seawater on Victoria’s coastline. Loads of flow, high pressure, and lightweight convenience. (Image source: Australian Pump industries)

Fires at sea are a massive problem with the capability of the equipment available being a key factor. Certainly, there is no issue with availability of water. It’s only about the equipment being lightweight enough to be able to move and being seawater compatible!

One Australian company has moved towards solving this issue. Australian Pump, based in Sydney, has developed a range of high pressure, seawater compatible fire pumps. Called the ‘Sea Skipper’ range, the pumps star is a new high pressure 3” pump powered by a Yanmar 10hp electric start diesel engine.

“The most important thing about this development is the ability of the pump to produce the high volumes of water at high pressure”, said Aussie’s Chief Engineer, John Hales.

For example, the pump can deliver 150 litres of water per minute at 80 metres head (105 psi). The pump can also be used as a salvage pump with flows of up to 450 lpm at 20 metres head.

Self priming in design, the 3” twin impeller pump owes its unique capacity to the pump’s hydraulics. “When we designed this pump, we started out with a 3” high volume design and then worked on changing the configuration on the internals into a high pressure performance as well”, said Hales.

The machine’s compatibility to saltwater is a simple solution. Impellers and volutes are manufactured from bronze, whilst the body of the pump and other key components are marine grade aluminium, coated with a seawater resistant epoxy coating both inside and out. The pump also is fitted with a sacrificial anode and stainless steel fasteners throughout.

“For some Navies of the world, we build these with stainless steel frames but the standard is a heavy duty galvanised frame with sub base and anti-vibration mounts”, said Hales. The inlet and outlet are 3” BSP male threads compatible with Camlocks or Storz adaptors.

Designed originally for the Royal Australian Navy, these pumps are now being used by firefighters in Australia’s terrible horrific bushfire season over the Christmas period.

“Firefighters keep running out of water when they’re trying to douse bushfires but, if they approach it from estuaries or even from the sea, from a trawler, pleasure boat or barge, they’re able to perform in a very competent manner. There’s only three things that count in a fire at sea, that’s capability, capability, capability.”, said Hales.

“Having pumps that are too heavy to move around or not able to perform is a waste of time and money. Pumps that are designed for fresh water instead of seawater also will never go the distance”, he said.

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