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EM Cotter Fireboat: Buffalo’s Ice Breaker

Most Buffalonians that are familiar with the Edward M. Cotter Fireboat, may not be aware of its operational significance to Buffalo. Not only is the fireboat the oldest operational (in service) fireboat in the world, it also acts as a proud Buffalo ambassador. When ships of significance arrive in the Buffalo Harbor, it is usually the EM Cotter that leads the way, with fire hoses shooting giant plumes of water into the air. Another one of the fireboat’s duties is to break up the ice along the Buffalo River, creating a navigable channel for ships, or to prevent ice jams. A few moments ago, photographer/videographer Jim Cielencki sent along a pretty cool video of the fireboat busting up some ice. Cielencki had this to say about the experience:

For this Minute Monday, we watch the Edward Cotter Fireboat do double duty by breaking up the ice on the Buffalo River. The reason why it is doing this is to prevent flooding from the ice jam that will be forming in the following days after the warm temperatures arrive. There are a few areas of South Buffalo that are susceptible to ice jam flooding, so the Cotter is getting the ice broken so it can begin to move downstream.

And lest we forget the EM Cotter’s final call of duty, on the rare occasion that there is a fire on, or along, one of Buffalo’s waterways, the boat is full equipped to come to the rescue. It’s just another reason that makes our historic fireboat such a workhorse on the water.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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