Chartwell, BAE, Derecktor teaming on new Vermont research boat

Chartwell Marine University Of Vermont Survey Vessel Copy

(BURLINGTON, Vt.) — Chartwell Marine has announced that it has been selected by the University of Vermont (UVM) to design a hybrid research vessel. The 62-foot catamaran, designed in collaboration with hybrid propulsion specialists at BAE Systems, will be capable of low-emission, low-fuel-burn operations and is set for launch in April 2022. Following a competitive vessel build tender, the contract has been awarded to Derecktor Shipyards.

Chartwell Marine’s hybrid design, which is powered by two Cummins QSB 6.7 M 306-hp diesel engines and two BAE AC traction motors, will provide the university with a new platform to facilitate its advanced research operation. The hybrid propulsion will enable all-electric operation for trips less than two hours in duration, which represents 60 percent of all current UVM voyages.

This will provide a number of benefits – not only reduced engine maintenance costs, as its diesel power plants see usage fall by 55 percent, but also improved low-speed maneuverability, a quieter operating platform with less vibration for students, and also a less intrusive vessel for studying marine life.

Chartwell Marine University Of Vermont Survey Vessel Copy

This survey suite will be further bolstered by InterOcean Systems, in partnership with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Together, IOS & WHOI have developed a unique new winch system that will enable UVM to operate more efficiently than ever before from both personnel and power perspectives. The winches are directly driven to reduce drivetrain losses and can be operated using a single wireless joystick.

These benefits will be made possible by an advanced new catamaran hull form that has been optimized via computational flow dynamics modeling to minimize resistance at low speeds, accommodate battery storage, and ensure maximum stability.

The university envisions three main uses for the vessel: a mobile classroom for undergraduate field trips; a platform for graduate students researching the Lake Champlain environment; and a way for engineering students to study the future of hybrid vessel design.

As part of the design process, Chartwell Marine provided services including concept design, preliminary design, technical specification drafting, and technical auditing of the shipyard tender process. Chartwell continues to provide production information and support to Derecktor Shipyards. The build began in October 2020 and is set to be completed by April 2022. Derecktor was selected due to its technical expertise in hybrid vessel production and its strong tender response.

“The future of vessel procurement will look quite different to its current form today, as operators worldwide begin to respond to increasingly stringent requirements for low-emission craft,” said Andy Page, naval architect and managing director, Chartwell Marine.

“Derecktor Shipyards has become an industry leader in the development and construction of hybrid vessels, and this will be our fourth such build,” said Justin Beard, marketing and sales development manager, Derecktor Shipyards. “While the concept is similar to previous builds, this particular vessel includes berth space, as well as more dedicated space for research. The finished product will be a truly unique research vessel built to foster the education of future scientists and engineers.”

“Going to market for the next vessel tender enabled us to explore new opportunities in hybrid vessel design, with Chartwell Marine offering a number of operational benefits,” said Patricia Prelock, provost and senior vice president at the University of Vermont. “UVM’s Amplifying Our Impact strategic vision ( underscores the university’s prioritization of research and initiatives that strengthen healthy environments and healthy societies. Our partnerships with Chartwell Marine and Derecktor Shipyards support that vision. We look forward to the journey of the vessel’s construction and its delivery in 2022 when the ship will arrive at the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Lab on Lake Champlain.”

– Chartwell Marine

By Professional Mariner Staff