Casco Bay Lines ferry replacement program underway

Rhode Island-based Bristol Harbor Group (BHGI) has been selected by Portland, Me.-based Casco Bay Lines to provide naval architecture and marine engineering services for the evaluation and design of a new, as yet unnamed, sub-chapter K passenger/vehicle ferry.

The new vessel will operate year-round in Casco Bay and replace the 10.5-knot, 93-foot MV Maquoit II, which was built for CBL by Washburn & Doughty in 1994. 

The contract calls for BHGI “to develop a preliminary design report, a base design, and final plans, specifications and estimate package suitable for [a] construction bid solicitation,” the company said.

BHGI “will work with key stakeholders during the design process to ensure that the final design meets all owner requirements, including minimizing both operational costs and the vessels’ carbon footprint.”

“We are pleased to have been selected as the most highly qualified firm to provide services to CBL on this design effort” said Cory Wood, BHGI vice president. “BHGI has built a strong professional relationship with CBL over the past decade, providing owner’s representation services on two ferry construction projects. We look forward to supporting them during this exciting project.” 

The Bristol Harbor Group contract is the latest component of Casco Bay Lines’ strategy to upgrade its fleet. The company currently operates a fleet of six steel-hulled ferries with an average age of over 26 years. 

Construction work is also continuing on Casco Bay Line’s new $25 million, 599-passenger, hybrid-electric ferry at the Senesco Marine shipyard in North Kingstown, R.I.

Slated for delivery in June of this year, the new double ended,164-foot passenger-vehicle hybrid-electric ferry will replace the existing diesel-powered ferry, the Machigonne II – the 36-year-old, 122-foot passenger-vehicle ferry that currently serves Peaks Island in Casco Bay. 

Designed by the Elliott Bay Design Group, the new replacement ferry is being constructed in ten modules, five that make up the hull portion of the ferry and five for its upper deck portions. 

It will feature a battery-equipped, diesel electric hybrid propulsion system in place of a conventional diesel propulsion system that powers the older Machigonne II.  

The new craft will have capacity for 15 vehicles and 599 passengers with three decks including a sun deck offering  unobstructed views. The double-ended configuration eliminates the need to turn the vessel around and thus reduces the required speed and energy consumption for the new vessel even though it is larger than the older ferry it will replace.

Casco Bay Lines estimates that the change in propulsion systems will result in a reduction of 800 tons of carbon dioxide a year.