Holland firefighter Dave McDonald and his crew battled past tough teams from Robinson Township and Spring Lake Township — twice — to earn the bright-orange life ring.
Spring Lake Township firefighters took second place, while Robinson Township firefighters finished third.
Twelve firefighter and Coast Guard teams competed in the double-elimination tournament held on Washington Avenue, between Third and Fourth streets.
Host Grand Haven Department of Public Safety won the event in 2017.
McDonald said he was able to get into the tournament Wednesday morning when Crockery Township had to pull out of the competition.
“It was fun,” he said. “I hope to be invited back.
McDonald admitted that he does compete on a traveling team that is composed of firefighters from different departments.
Also competing in the event from the land division were the Grand Haven Township and Ferrysburg fire departments.
Competing on the Coast Guard side were teams from Sector Field Office Grand Haven and Station Grand Haven, a team from the cutter Escanaba, two teams from the Neah Bay, and a team from the Canadian Coast Guard patrol boat Constable Carriere.
Carriere Executive Officer Bill Chapman noted the ship had been represented in the event before, but this year’s crew was new to Waterball. His team beat out Grand Haven Township in the first round, but lost to GHDPS in the second round.
Grand Haven Public Safety Director Jeff Hawke said this year’s event was the Chief’s Challenge, and three of the fire chiefs participated. Grudge matches were held at the end.
“Everybody had a lot of fun,” Hawke said. “There’s lots of camaraderie here.”