Fireboat projectiles – SUVAT equations in two dimensions

How to use this resource

Please download the PDF of this resource using the Download PDF link in the banner above.

Below is an interactive which supports the resource. The interactive can be launched by clicking on its image, or through links in the PDF itself.

Some resources have pre-requisites; where this is the case, you'll be able to access any required resources through the Pre-requisites section.

Topic areas

Mechanical engineering

  • Displacement
  • Speed
  • Velocity
  • Acceleration
  • SUVAT equations
  • Resolving a vector into two perpendicular components
  • Projectile motion 
  • Fluid flow rate


  • Algebra
  • Trigonometry
  • Trigonometric identities
  • Quadratic


It is recommended that the resource Motion of a tube train – SUVAT is covered before using this resource. It would also be useful to have an awareness of resolving the horizontal and vertical components of velocity.

Problem statement

Fireboats are used to fight fires in coastal areas to protect, for example, boats in marinas, bridges over rivers and waterside property. They are also used offshore to, for example, fight fires on oil rigs.

In order to be effective, they must be able to pump enough water at sufficient speed to reach a fire from a safe distance, and also be able to aim the water stream high enough to reach fires that may be significantly above the water level. 

How can the path of the water stream be described mathematically and how can this be used to predict height and reach?


Click the image to access SUVAT - projectile interactive. 

The above interactive allows you to to experiment with projectile motion of a particle.

Supported by

  • Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Motorola Solutions Foundation