In the 1920's the New York City Fire Department's fleet of 10 steam fireboats was aging, and it was decided to construct a new fireboat with internal combustion power.
Basic plans were prepared in 1928. Contracts were drawn up and construction started in 1930 by Todd Shipbuilding's Plant at the foot of 23rd Street on Brooklyn's Gowanus Bay.
Launching took place on October 6, 1931 with the boat completed and placed in commission on December 17, 1931.
Harvey's dimensions are 130' long with a 28' beam and a 9' draft. She is of steel construction with a riveted hull. Propulsion is by twin screws six feet in diameter.
She was the largest, and most powerful fireboat in the world when built. More importantly, she was the model of modern fireboat engineering, and set the pattern for all subsequent fireboats to follow.