Great Lakes pilot association diversifies fleet with fuel-sipping Huron Pride
The Lakes Pilots Association operates two Chesapeake-class pilot boats from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding. A third launch from the yard, delivered earlier this year, adds speed and versatility to that proven fleet.
The 42.5-foot Resilient-class Huron Pride operates from the pilots’ home base in Port Huron, Mich. The deep-V aluminum hull was designed by Ray Hunt Design and features a foam collar for protection when coming alongside a ship.
“It’s working out great,” Capt. Dan Gallagher, president of the Lakes Pilots, said this summer. “Our intention was to basically save wear and tear on our bigger boats. This time of year, we can utilize the smaller boat, which is faster and more fuel efficient.
“This burns half as much fuel as the bigger ones and saves us some time,” he continued.
The pilots association covers a vast swath of the Great Lakes from Port Huron in the west to the Welland Canal in the east, with a mandatory pilot change point in Detroit. Its 16 pilots assist foreign-flagged oceangoing ships calling on the Lake Erie ports of Cleveland, Toledo and Lorain in Ohio, along with others around Detroit.
The group’s two Chesapeake-class vessels include one delivered in 1977 that Gallagher said remains in “beautiful shape” and another from 2016. Huron Pride was conceived as a complement to those larger boats during the summer months with a much lower operating cost.
The propulsion system is different than on those earlier vessels. Huron Pride is powered by twin 450-hp Cummins QSL 9 engines driving HamiltonJet HJ322 waterjets through Twin Disc reduction gears. Zipwake supplied the interceptor system installed on the transom to improve efficiency and comfort.
Huron Pride’s top speed exceeds 37 knots compared to top speeds in the low 20s for the group’s two other launches.
“The vessel is an excellent summer complement to the Lakes Pilots’ 53-foot Chesapeake class, burning half the fuel at higher speeds,” said Peter Duclos, co-president of Gladding-Hearn. Huron Pride is the fourth Resilient-class hull Gladding-Hearn has delivered since 2005.
“It operates totally different than a twin-screw pilot boat,” Gallagher said. “It was a little bit of a learning curve for our guys. But they seem to enjoy it. It is very, very maneuverable.”
The aluminum pilothouse is equipped with five Llebroc Stalker XT seats and has a portable toilet system in the forecastle. The vessel also is equipped with LED lighting throughout, along with industry-leading man-overboard rescue and recovery systems.
“Gladding-Hearn, when they build a pilot boat, they do it right,” Gallagher said. “They are the Cadillac of builders and that is why we stick with them.”
Capt. Bob Moore
Gladding-Hearn delivered a new Chesapeake-class launch to the Associated Federal Pilots based in Venice, La.
The 52.6-foot, all-aluminum Capt. Bob Moore features the classic Ray Hunt Design deep-V hull. It is powered by twin 641-hp Volvo Penta D16 engines driving five-blade nibral props through ZF reduction gears. Electrical power comes from a 9-kW Northern Lights generator.
The vessel has raised boarding platforms forward and a boarding platform above the wheelhouse accessible by ladders.
Gladding-Hearn has several other pilot boat projects under development. These include Chesapeake-class launches for the Mobile Bar Pilots in Alabama, the Pilots’ Association for the Bay and River Delaware in Lewes, Del., and Bermuda’s Department of Marine and Ports Services.
The shipyard is also building a 56-foot launch for its longtime partners at the Virginia Pilot Association and a 73-foot aluminum pilot boat for the Galveston-Texas City Pilots. That vessel will be equipped with a Harkin safety rail system.
The Savannah Pilots Association has taken delivery of the 64-foot Savannah built by Snow & Company using a Camarc design.
The Seattle shipyard delivered the all-aluminum launch in March. It is the first of two vessels ordered by the Savannah, Ga., pilots association, which traces its history to 1864. The Savannah pilots help keep one of the busiest ports on the East Coast operating smoothly.
Savannah is powered by two MTU 12V2000M86 engines delivered by Pacific Power Group of Kent, Wash. Those mains drive HamiltonJet HTX 52 waterjets through ZF gears and Geislinger carbon fiber shafts. Phasor K4 30-kW generators supply electrical power.
Snow & Company is located at the former Kvichak shipyard in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood on the Lake Washington Ship Canal. The second pilot boat in the Savannah pilots order is scheduled for delivery toward the end of 2022.
Savannah has seating for seven pilots and two crewmembers. The vessel can hold 1,200 gallons of fuel, and its draft at a full load is 3.6 feet.
Snow also is building a 67-foot Camarc-designed pilot boat for the San Francisco Bar Pilots Association. It will be equipped with EPA Tier 4-compliant MAN engines, HamiltonJet waterjets and a Northern Lights generator.
Aransas Pilot III
The Aransas-Corpus Christi Pilots has taken delivery of a 70-by-19.5-foot aluminum launch built by Breaux’s Bay Craft of Loreauville, La.
The shipyard delivered Aransas Pilot III in June, and it is currently in service in Port Aransas, Texas. Aracor Inc., the pilot group’s parent company, is the vessel’s formal owner.
Aransas Pilot III is driven by twin 1,400-hp Cummins QSK38 M1 engines turning 39.5-by-50-inch nibral propellers through Twin Disc gears and 4.5-inch Aqua Tech shafts. The vessel has a top speed approaching 30 knots.
Electrical power comes from two 36-kW Northern Lights generators within sound-dampening enclosures. Other components include Humphree interceptors with active ride control and a Sleipner/Side-Power bow thruster.
Aransas Pilot III has seating for 12 pilots and one operator in the wheelhouse, which is equipped with Furuno navigation electronics and Icom VHF radios. Imtra Corp. supplied the Norsap 1600 pilot seats and Norsap 1500 captain’s helm chair.
Hiller Cos. supplied the CO2 fixed fire suppression system protecting the engine space.
The Western Great Lakes Pilots Association welcomed Waiska Pilot from North River Boats of Roseburg, Ore. The vessel primarily operates in Lake Superior and the St. Marys River near the Soo Locks.
The 37-foot vessel is powered by twin 350-hp Suzuki outboard engines, with a Sleipner/Side-Power bow thruster for enhanced maneuverability. Zipwake supplied the interceptors and Northern Lights delivered the 12-kW generator. Its top speed is 40 knots.
“We are pleased to have chosen North River for the design and build of Waiska Pilot, which has exceeded all expectations of the Association,” said Capt. Chris Edyvean of the Western Great Lakes Pilots Association. “We look forward to many years of reliable service from this new asset.”
Other features on the aluminum-hull vessel include Garmin navigation electronics, Icom VHF radios, Shoxs seats and a Wing collar system around the hull. Step Marine supplied a heated deck system that can easily melt snow and ice during early- and late-season pilot transfers.
Metal Shark continued its robust pace of fireboat deliveries with notable vessels for the Chicago Fire Department and South King Fire & Rescue in Washington state. The Louisiana company is also building two more 38 Defiant fireboats and a 50 Defiant fireboat for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue in Florida, and a 38 Defiant for the St. Johns Fire District near Charleston, S.C.
The 44-foot vessel for Chicago Fire is based on the 38 Defiant NXT platform. It is powered by three 350-hp Mercury Verado outboards turning Lexor propellers for a maximum speed of 45 knots. It will cruise at 36.4 knots, and its range at cruising speed is 206 nautical miles with its 300-gallon fuel tank.
Other components include Raymarine navigation electronics, Lectrotab electric trim tabs with LED indicators, five Shoxs 2000 seats and a Webasto heating system. Electrical power comes from a Westerbeke generator, and a Wing urethane-sheathed foam collar protects the aluminum hull.
The firefighting package consists of a 1,000-gpm Darley fire pump supplying water to a 3-inch Elkhart Brass Stingray fire monitor. The vessel also can supply water to shoreside units through two 2.5-inch handline connections. A separate tank stores 20 gallons of firefighting foam.
South King Fire & Rescue also took delivery of a 38 Defiant NXT fireboat. The 44-foot Zenith is powered by twin Cummins QSB 6.7 engines driving HamiltonJet HTX 30 waterjets paired with HamiltonJet Blue Arrow controls.
The cabin is protected against chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) threats. The climate-controlled space has four Shoxs seats with bench seating for two more people and an enclosed head with freshwater sink.
Raymarine supplied the navigation electronics, and a roof-mounted FLIR M364 thermal imaging camera provides additional rescue capability.
Firefighting is possible through Darley fire pumps driven off both main engines that supply water to two aft-mounted monitors and a roof-mounted unit. The vessel also has handline outlets and a 5-inch Storz supply outlet that can supply water to pump trucks.
Lake Assault Boats of Superior, Wis., delivered fireboats to departments in New York and Missouri, along with other key projects in development at the shipyard.
The 32-foot vessel for the Patchogue Fire Department on Long Island, N.Y., can draw as little as 22 inches. The boat helps protect a region with 14 marinas, at least 1,270 vessels and extensive development along the waterfront.
Two 400-hp Mercury outboard engines can push the vessel to over 40 knots, and Zipwake trim tabs improve responsiveness. Two Mercury joystick controllers in the cabin provide optimal close-quarters maneuvering. Other features include Garmin navigation electronics with touch-screen displays.
Firefighting equipment consists of a 1,500-gpm Darley fire pump driven by a dedicated GM V-8 engine supplying water to a 1,500-gpm TFT Monsoon remote-controlled monitor on the roof. There are also four mounting sockets on the vessel for a portable monitor.
The Osage Beach Fire Protection District in central Missouri took delivery of a 31-foot aluminum fireboat for use on Lake of the Ozarks. The vessel is similar to one Lake Assault delivered for a nearby department serving the city of Branson, Mo.
“They graciously allowed us to test their Lake Assault fireboat for a full day,” Osage Beach Deputy Fire Chief Steve Lucas said in a prepared statement. “We came away thoroughly impressed with how it handles rough water and cuts through the biggest waves. We figured, why reinvent the wheel?”
The vessel is equipped with twin 300-hp Mercury outboards, Garmin navigation electronics and a FLIR camera. Firefighting equipment includes a 1,500-gpm Darley pump driven by a V-8 engine supplying water to a remotely controlled TFT Monsoon monitor installed on the roof.
Silver Ships delivered a Freedom 30 rescue boat to Cape Coral Fire Department and has a contract in place to build a second. The custom vessel is designed to quickly respond to fires and other emergencies.
The aluminum monohull is powered by twin Suzuki outboard engines, and it is equipped with a Darley HE64 Hercules fire boat and a single TFT fire monitor installed at the bow.
North River Boats delivered a 39-foot patrol boat to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement.
The vessel is powered by twin 425-hp Yamaha XTO outboard engines and has a 300-gallon fuel tank. The fully enclosed cabin is outfitted with Garmin navigation electronics, Ritchie magnetic compass and ACR GlobalFix V4 EPIRB. The vessel is equipped with an array of LED deck lights, flood lights and searchlights, along with LED emergency lights.
NOAA declined to discuss the vessel’s specific law enforcement mission. A spokeswoman for the agency said the vessel will perform patrols and vessel monitoring, and will partner with local, state and tribal partners. Additional details on the vessel, including its home port, were not available.
Lake Assault Boats continues delivering Force Protection-Medium (FP-M) patrol boats to the U.S. Navy that will replace older patrol boats. As of early September, the shipyard had delivered 15 boats from an order that could grow to 119 and $56 million over five years.
The 33-foot FP-M has a deep-V hull design with a 10-foot beam, as well as a fully enclosed climate-controlled cabin. The hull is wrapped with a polyurethane foam collar. Its navigation and safety equipment includes Furuno radar and a FLIR thermal imaging camera. Propulsion comes from twin 225-hp Yamaha outboard engines capable of pushing the vessel beyond 30 knots.
The FP-M can pack plenty of firepower for a vessel of its size. Each one has four weapon mounts capable of accommodating up to .50-caliber machine guns.
On the West Coast, Moose Boats of Vallejo, Calif., delivered an M1-46 aluminum catamaran to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The 46-foot Chinook is operated by up to four game wardens conducting enforcement and wildlife sampling activities along the California coast. The boat is based in Fort Bragg, located roughly 175 miles north of San Francisco.
Chinook is powered by two 625-hp Volvo Penta engines driving HamiltonJet waterjets through Twin Disc gears. Additional components include Raymarine electronics, a FLIR thermal imaging camera system and HamiltonJet JETAnchor for stationkeeping. Icom supplied the VHF radios.
The vessel has a head and shower supported by an onboard desalination system. It is also equipped with an electro-hydraulic pot hauler for pulling and inspecting crab pots.
Moose Boats also delivered Don Kinnamon, an M3 model monohull patrol boat to the Santa Cruz Port District in Santa Cruz, Calif. The patrol vessel is equipped with two 300-hp Suzuki engines and has a 45-knot top speed. •