Elementary school student names Bellingham’s new fireboat

Once it is finished later this year, the city’s new $1 million fireboat will be named the Salish Star.

It was named by Sunnyland Elementary School fourth-grader Benjamin Wasserman, who had the winning entry among elementary school students who were asked to help name the new vessel.

Wasserman said he picked the name to honor local Native American history, and in particular, Lummi Nation.

“We are really pleased with the name ‘Salish Star,’ which Benjamin suggested,” Fire Chief Bill Newbold said in a statement. “It is clear he put a lot of thought into it, and that’s just outstanding for a fourth-grade student. We had some great name choices to choose from, and we want to thank all of the students, teachers and parents who helped put in suggestions.”

The fireboat is scheduled to be put in service after it is finished being built early this summer. Its construction is funded by a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and $250,000 in local matching funds that were split between the city and the Port of Bellingham.

It replaces the old fire boat, the Fire Belle, which was decommissioned in 2011 after officials decided it wasn’t getting used enough to justify the cost to keep it.