John J. Harvey

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Fireboat John J. Harvey 1.jpg
Fireboat John J. Harvey
Flag of the City of New YorkNew York City Fire Department
Name: John J. Harvey
Namesake: John J. Harvey (KIA) - Pilot of the FDNY steam fireboat Thomas Willett
Port of registry: New York City, United States
Ordered: 1928
Builder: Todd Shipbuilding
Cost: $594,000
Laid down: 1930
Launched: October 6, 1931
Commissioned: December 17, 1931
In service: December 17, 1931
Out of service: 1995
  • Engine 57 (1931)
  • Engine 86 (1938)
  • Marine 2 (1959)(2001)
Reclassified: Museum ship
Refit: 1957
Reinstated: Temporary return to service 9/11/2001
Homeport: Pier 63, New York City (As of 2007)
Nickname(s): The "Harvey"
Honors and
National Preservation Award
Status: FDNY retired
General characteristics
Type: Fireboat
Displacement: 268 net tons
Length: 130 ft (40 m)
Beam: 28 ft (8.5 m)
Draught: 9 ft (2.7 m)
Installed power: 5 Fairbanks - Morse opposed piston Model 38F5¼ which consist of 8 cylinders with 16 pistons.
Propulsion: Twin screws
Speed: 18 knots
Capacity: 18,000gpm
Armament: Eight deck monitors and 24 large connections for fire hose
JOHN J. HARVEY (fireboat)
John J. Harvey is located in New York City
John J. Harvey
John J. Harvey is located in New York
John J. Harvey
John J. Harvey is located in the US
John J. Harvey
LocationPier 63, North R., New York, New York
Coordinates40°45′0″N 74°0′39″W / 40.75000°N 74.01083°W / 40.75000; -74.01083Coordinates: 40°45′0″N 74°0′39″W / 40.75000°N 74.01083°W / 40.75000; -74.01083
Arealess than one acre
Architectural styleFireboat
NRHP reference #00000576[1]
Added to NRHPJune 15, 2000

The John J. Harvey is a fireboat formerly of the New York City Fire Department in New York City, famed for returning to service following the September 11, 2001 attacks.[2][3] She is among the most powerful fireboats ever built, capable of pumping up to 18,000 gallons of water a minute.

Launched in 1931, the John J. Harvey had a distinguished career in the FDNY until her retirement in 1994. She was named for marine fireman John J. Harvey, killed when a ship exploded during a fire. Among the marine fires at which she assisted were the Cunard Line pier fire in 1932, the burning of the Normandie in 1942, the ammunition ship SS El Estero in 1943,[4] and the collision of the Alva Cape and Texaco Massachusetts oil tankers in 1966. Her official designation at the end of her career was Marine 2.

The Harvey was sold, at auction, in 1999, to a private consortium of marine preservationists determined to prevent her from being scrapped. In June 2000 she was added to the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places. Her current owners have thoroughly restored her, and host frequent free trips on the river. She is currently moored at North River Pier 66, located at 12th Avenue and 26th Street on the Hudson River.

Onboard view of the John J. Harvey in Tauba Auerbach dazzle camouflage performing a water pumping demonstration in Oyster Bay, New York at Oyster Festival 2018

In 2018, she was repainted at the Caddell Dry Dock, Staten Island, in a red and white dazzle pattern as part of an art project by Tauba Auerbach, in commemoration of the dazzle camouflage used on World War II ships.[5]

September 11, 2001[edit]

The John J. Harvey had an unexpected encore. Shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the boat's owners asked FDNY officials for permission to assist in evacuations from Ground Zero.[6] Meanwhile, firefighters had determined that the vast scale of destruction had damaged many fire mains, depriving fire crews of water. Officials radioed the Harvey, asking if her pumps still worked. Responding that they did, she was told to drop off her passengers as soon as possible and return to the disaster site, reactivating her official designation Marine 2. Alongside two other FDNY fireboats, John D. McKean and Fire Fighter, she pumped water at the site for 80 hours, until water mains were restored.[7] The National Trust for Historic Preservation gave the Harvey a special National Preservation Award to recognize this incident. The Harvey's story was the subject of a 2002 children's book.



  1. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ official site,
  3. ^ The Maritime Evacuation of Manhattan on September 11, 2001 Archived July 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ The El Estero Fire
  5. ^
  6. ^ Historic Fireboat Aids in New York City Response and Recovery at the World Trade Center
  7. ^ Born-Again Hero

Further reading

External links[edit]