Chouest boat boasts speed, passenger comfort and cargo capacity


Cutting the water like knives sweeping aft from the bow of Fast Hauler, the splash rails folded a V-shaped white blanket of foam over the still water of the Gulf of Mexico on a sea trial in November 2012. It was a perfect day for a boat ride aboard the 194-foot fast/supply boat built by Breaux Brothers Enterprises of Loreauville, La., for Edison Chouest Offshore of Galliano, La.

Breaux Brothers, their yard hugging the bank of the serpentine Bayou Teche, has built seven of the 194-footers with two more in the series underway. Then the company will build two 201-foot fast/supply boats for Chouest, confirming a stellar relationship — past, present and future — with a company that seems to have an unquenchable thirst for new offshore oil vessels.

Seating for 86 passengers.

3,222 square feet of deck space for carrying cargo.

Capt. Scott Dufresne at the helm for sea trials.

“The craftsmanship of Breaux Brothers is the best,” said Capt. Scott Dufresne, a veteran Chouest employee. He noted with enthusiasm the smooth transition as he brought Fast Hauler up from 9.5 knots to 26.8 knots.

The propulsion train consists of four soft-mounted Caterpillar 3512B mains, rated at 1,810 hp each at 1,600 rpm, with 2.529:1 ZF 4650 gears turning 56-by-60-inch propellers.

The DP-2 vessel has two 250-hp Thrustmaster 30TT250AL 30-inch integrated through thrusters. The electronic steering and propulsion controls are from Mathers Clear Command.

John Deere supplied an 80-kW model 6068TFM76 generator and a model 6081AFM 330 auxiliary engine that drives a Crane Deming 2,500-gpm fire pump piped to an Elkhart Giant Python fire monitor. Caterpillar supplied a second 80-kW model A264110000 generator.

Capacity is the mantra of the offshore oil industry and the crew boat designers and builders have answered the call, turning what used to be essentially crew transfer vessels into fast supply boats with passenger seating.

On Fast Hauler the 3,222 square feet of deck cargo area reflects that change in focus. The boat can carry 86 passengers.

The care and feeding of the boat crews have also changed in recent years, addressing the ever more difficult task of attracting and retaining valuable crewmembers.

“They (Breaux Brothers) don’t just build a boat; they build a boat for the captain and crew,” said Dufresne. “The handling and performance is great, but they also build them for the comfort of the crew.”

View aft from the pilothouse.

ZF Mathers Clear Command electric controls.

Engineer Charlie Fuller.

Breaux Brothers’ Jerry Boudreaux tests the Elkhart fire monitor.

The vessel is propelled by four Caterpillar 3512B mains generating 1,810 hp each at 1,600 rpm through ZF 4650 gears.


By Professional Mariner Staff