Designed by the Elliott Bay Design Group of Seattle, the heavy-duty ferry Fire Island Maid was constructed at Metal Shark’s facility in Bayou La Batre, Al. and is the newest addition to the Fire Island Ferries fleet.
Operated by the Sayville Ferry Service, a subsidiary of Fire Island Ferries, the new craft provides passenger and freight shipping services from Long Island, N.Y.’s Bay Shore to several communities along the Great South Bay that separates Long Island from Fire Island, a route the company has served since 1948.
According to naval architect and EBDG project manager Joey Carella, the 70-foot Fire Island Maid was built to replace the ferry Turtle, a craft of similar design, but much heavier. “The challenge was to design a lighter vessel with the same capabilities and dimensions as its predecessor,” he said.
“Both ferries feature steel hulls and aluminum superstructures, but our structural engineers were able to come up with a design that utilized the same materials that were reconfigured to all of the newest regulatory requirements and still satisfy the customer.”
Fire Island Maid is equipped with a hydraulically operated bow ramp and reinforced decks, making it capable of supporting fully loaded concrete trucks or up to 100,000 lbs. of general cargo.
The multi-purpose craft’s lightship weight is 160,000 lbs. so it can be hauled with the client’s existing lift.
It features an aft pilothouse accommodating a crew of two. The ferry is powered by twin Cummins QSL9 Tier 3 marine engines with a ZF Marine Cruise Command control system and Twin Disc transmissions.
According to Cummins, the Fire Island Maid ’s engines and exhaust system “are fully integrated for optimized fuel economy above the five per cent achieved with EPA Tier 4 Interim engines, achieving near-zero emissions simultaneously.”
Electrical service power is provided by a specially mounted Cummins Onan MDK generator that produces a minimum level of noise as it puts out 17.5 kW at 1,500 rpm.
“We are excited to add Fire Island Maid to our fleet of vessels. EBDG listened and provided a more efficient structure and arrangement. I know this new ferry will make a difference for our passengers and shipping customers,” said Dave Anderson, general manager of Fire Island Ferries.
Fire Island Maid “is the second vehicle ferry built by Metal Shark for the communities of Fire Island, following the 70-foot vessel built at our Franklin, La., shipyard for Beachcomber Freight [Sayville Ferry] in 2018,” said Carl Wegener, Metal Shark’s vice president of commercial sales.
“We are very pleased that Northeast operators and Passenger Vessel Association members continue to see the value and quality that a Metal Shark-built vessel brings to their business models.” •