BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Edward M. Cotter made its grand return to Buffalo on Wednesday morning.
The world’s oldest active fireboat was out of town for about two months, undergoing major repairs in Toronto.
“I don’t even know how to describe it,” Captain John Sixt said. “Two months away is a long time, and when you’re used to being out in the water and being visible, and being out there for the people, it’s a little rough, but we’re back now and very happy, and excited. I can’t wait. Now our summer begins.”
Captain Sixt drove the fireboat to and from Toronto for the renovation. He said the way back felt a lot smoother.
“There’s no vibration anymore, which was part of the problem because anytime you’d throttle up a little bit, she’d start vibrating because the shafts were loose, the packing was loose, (and) the bearings were gone,” he said. “It feels like a brand new boat now.”
While away, the Cotter mainly received repairs below the waterline, including new props, shafts, and a major reinforcement of the hull. But the work isn’t over. More cosmetic work, along with some plumping and electrical work will be done now that the boat is docked in Buffalo.
A $500,000 state grant is paying for the renovations.
The Cotter is 119 years old this year. Built in 1900, the fireboat is a national historic landmark.