City Government

“Do As We Say, Not As We Do”

Boise Fire Dept. rescue boat is barely visible beneath Broadway Bridge.

Boise Fire officials have warned citizens to stay out of the Boise River With high snow melt causing the river flow at seasonal high levels.

For the past week the airwaves and news columns have been full of danger warnings.

Tuesday afternoon three guys wrapped an expensive jet boat around one of the Broadway Bridge pilings. Two men scrambled to safety on the concrete abutment while a third swam to safety. However, the boat is likely a total loss.

In classic “Do as we say, not as we do” fashion, the rescued boaters and the jet boat were all part of the Boise Fire Department. The men were practicing swift water rescue techniques when the boat experienced mechanical problems.

Boise is a “self-insured” city, so the loss will be on the backs of taxpayers, but more importantly there is an immediate need for a new rescue boat.

One of the boaters was marooned for several hours while more than a dozen emergency vehicles crowded the bridge above. Corps of Engineers officials cut the discharge from Lucky Peak Dam by two-thirds so the boat could re retrieved with a crane.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Wow! That’s a load right there.

    Because who ever thought to consider a boat would have “mechanical problems” while on the water?

    US Coast Guard lists “Alternate Propulsion” has a safety tip and is REQUIRED in smaller boats.
    Not to mention the ol’ fashioned anchor!!! (suitable in existing conditions- good luck on that one).
    I bet they had the required fire extinguisher on board though.

    Major FAIL waterboys!
    Good thing no one died.

    “marooned for SEVERAL hours”

    “more than a dozen emergency vehicles crowded the bridge above”

    It always dazzles me about the OVER-RESPONSE first responders do.

    We see it all the time in the news reports. 1 bad person produces 200 cops- as if a band of 6 can’t handle it. The car chase with 60 cop cars following… just in line, following. It’s right up there with there fire responding to a medical call.
    “Who cares? Not my gas dollars.”
    “We’re on the clock anyway, might as well check in for something to look at.”

  2. Nice work BFD. Stick to runnIng into burning buildings. 13 EMS and fire rigs, is that enough equipment out for this?

  3. Western guy
    Apr 30, 2019, 5:53 pm

    This is utterly ridiculous. A dozen emergency vehicles? What about an actual emergency? Oh, wait: everyone ‘on scene’ was on overtime. Or the dozen people called in were getting OT.


  4. Did the Captain go down with his ship?

  5. First use of the year?
    Apr 30, 2019, 6:47 pm

    First run this season my lawnmower had problems too. Bad gas with crud in it. Perhaps next year have the first run on safer water.

    Glad everyone safe. Yes indeed that is dangerous water.

  6. Alternate headline: “Brave people put their lives at risk practicing how to save the lives of people who take pot shots at them.”

    EDITOR NOTE–Lighten up Steve. Had there been any injury the headline would indeed have been different. The mood at the scene was far from somber as firefighters and others speculated on various “sound bites,” and the cost of the boat, etc.

  7. This ranks with the the time I watched a BFD truck turn from Broadway west onto Front. As they completed the turn, all of their oxygen tanks fell off the truck into the middle of the street. By the time they got them gathered, they just turned off the lights and headed back.

  8. Eamonn Harter
    May 1, 2019, 9:48 am

    This is like something straight off of The 3 Stooges or The Simpsons. Why didn’t one of the KTVB clowns wade out into the roaring river to do some dope reporting?

  9. I appreciate firefighters. Perhaps they need a lesson to distinguish between bravado and courage. The individuals who took this boat out made a really bad decision. That should be dissected and the person who “gave permission” needs a demotion. Seriously.

  10. Eamonn Harter
    May 1, 2019, 10:54 am

    Alternative headline: “Mayor Bieter Asks Feds to Perform ‘Act of God’ in Rescuing City Heroes”

    Of course at the top of the article there should be an image of Dave Bieter with furrowed brow and a very worried countenance.

  11. Dave Kangas
    May 1, 2019, 11:15 am

    Thankfully no one was seriously hurt. The boat can be replaced. Remember your ridicule next time the BFD has to mobilize to save someone from the high water every year. We should appreciate the time, effort and danger they place themselves in to practice in these conditions. If it was you, a friend or relative who needed saving in these conditions, you would want them to be trained and experienced. Accidents happen and in these conditions, issues become dangerous very fast! Think about the man who just lost his life in N Idaho trying to save someone else.

  12. Guardian reader
    May 1, 2019, 1:06 pm

    Agree with Steve. Why all the criticism and snide remarks-just because it’s the City? Every year the river rises and every year when the water is still high there are a couple idiots that try to float early or go for a dip and need rescuing. To successfully perform a swift water rescue you have to practice in swift water, and it’s dangerous. Things happen, equipment breaks down. Not everything the City does requires condemnation or second-guessing. These are people risking their lives training to save others and deserve respect!

  13. Marcel’s human
    May 1, 2019, 1:30 pm

    Excuse me while I wipe the tears of laughter from my face. It is Boise and appears that it will always be Boise. Please explain the common denominator which makes this city and this state with such absurd events.

  14. Bubble, Bubble, Burp I’ll have another boat please.

    Okay, kidding aside, the fact this happened on a practice run and not in the middle of a actual rescue means they did what was necessary at the time. It is a shame about the boat, but as long as it is not replaced with a Chris-Craft 34′ Catalina I am good. Then again team Bieter probably just saw this and is thinking hmmm.

  15. Remember when the BPD cop ran his SUV into oncoming traffic and crashed into another car?

    The initial story was, “mechanical failure”- tie rods. Even before an investigation- that’s what the offending Officer Burch said and the Press Release went out.

    Then the investigation said, “NO! It was not mechanical failure. He fell asleep.”.

    Why are readers taking pot shots and ridiculing? Hard to say; why does BPD(BFD)and the mayor lie to us taxpayers?


  16. western guy
    May 1, 2019, 5:15 pm

    Was one of the 13 ’emergency vehicles’ the union representative who was checking (while on duty being paid by the City) to see that all of the union members were being adequately taken care of: coffee, snacks, counseling, etc.?

    Will there be an after action report (‘hotwash’) to divert attention from ‘operator error’ or ‘insufficient training’ as the real cause?

  17. This is why I have enormous respect for rivers. Too many believe that they can conquer rapidly moving water because it’s shallow. Wrong. It’s more dangerous than deep water, in most cases. BFD should have known better. The FPS was just too prohibitive.

  18. I respect all of those emergency responders, but a goof is a goof. And these emergency responders are in desperate need of some water training. As an avid jetboater, I regularly run rivers that flow a far greater rates during normal flow than the Boise is currently. I too have experienced mechanical breakdown, but with a calm head and a little preparedness you can avert what went on here, which could have been both tragic and expensive due to the loss of life and equipment. Unfortunately this ignorance and lack of preparedness will cost us all the price of a boat, but hopefully BFD will take something away from this and send their responders to some real water training with some experienced people that can help them avoid future situations like this.

    My biggest issue with the whole deal, be it the city, the fire department or any other government agency is that they never seem to look at the cost of what they do.

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