Have you ever seen huge fountains of water inexplicably shooting off in all directions in the Pacific Ocean just off the Long Beach coast? Well, the bizarre sight has a simple explanation: The Long Beach Fire Department is running training exercises and/or conducting maintenance of its watercraft.


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Tuesday morning, passersby witnessed the phenomenon while Fireboat 15 was conducting such exercises, according to Capt. Jack Crabtree. Like with all equipment, the 10 water canons need to be maintained and operated regularly to ensure proper functionality in the event of a fire on the water.

The 108-foot-long fireboat, stationed on Pier F within the Port of Long Beach complex, sucks up ocean water and can fire off up to 60,000 gallons per minute when all canons are active. The largest canon, or monitor, can pump out up to 12,000 gallons per minute with a range of nearly 600 feet, Crabtree said.

So, rest assured, when you see the mysterious ocean fountains, they mean the fire department is doing its job to ensure safety on the waterfront.

Fireboat Station No. 15 is at the Port of Long Beach. Photo courtesy Port of Long Beach.

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal.