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Several weeks late, South Whidbey fire boat near completion

South Whidbey Fire/EMS Chief Rusty Palmer reported Tuesday morning the district’s nearly $500,000 fire boat is close to completion and delivery.

More than 45 days late, the boat had only a couple of small issues to be addressed by the fire district’s final deadline on Tuesday, Feb. 18. If Freeland manufacturer North Cross Aluminum had missed the date, the commissioners were prepared to withhold a final payment of $9,600 as per the contract’s late fee clause.

A team of fire district personnel was scheduled to do a final inspection Wednesday afternoon to make sure the boat was in working order. Should everything go well, North Cross will get its final check.

“Unless they find something, which I don’t expect, when they do the final inspection that doesn’t work or hasn’t been adequately corrected,” Palmer said.

One recent delay was delivery of a fabric cover. Once finished, Palmer said the district will receive it directly rather than get it from the boat builder.

One possible issue with the manufacturer’s nameplate and phone number — possibly considered public advertising — welded onto the port and starboard sides was negated. Palmer said there were no federal regulations prohibiting the inclusion of the company’s phone number, though he noted that it was unusual.

“Just because we have the phone number on it, doesn’t mean we’re advertising for them,” Palmer said.

 

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