Elliott Bay to design new class of boats for Staten Island Ferry

The following is the text of a news release from the Elliott Bay Design Group:

(SEATTLE) — Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG), a leading naval architecture and marine engineering firm with offices in Seattle, New Orleans and Ketchikan, Ala., has been selected by the New York Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) to design a new class of ferries that will operate between the boroughs of Staten Island and Manhattan.

"Given their extensive and proven ferry boat design experience, we are looking forward to working with the Elliott Bay Design Group on this project," said Capt. James C. DeSimone, deputy commissioner and COO, Staten Island Ferry.

The project scope consists of a complete design package, including contract drawings, specifications and other documents for vessels to replace the existing Barberi and Kennedy class ferries. Also included in the scope are modifications to the existing Molinari-class ferries to retrofit a new propulsion system, something the city says is necessary to establish consistency between the new ferries and those that will remain in the fleet.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., has urged the federal government to provide $267 million to the NYC DOT for passenger ferries and upgrades to existing ferry terminals. According to Schumer, damage from Superstorm Sandy has necessitated a more modern and resilient infrastructure, and ferries are a key part of that because of their ability to begin service immediately following a storm given the proper landing equipment. NYC DOT is expected to apply for the grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Sandy Resilience Program to help pay for the ferries, which will cost an estimated $309 million to build.

"We're excited to get the project underway to build on the work we have done to date," stated EBDG project manager Matt Williamson. "We're looking forward to developing a vessel design that meets the need of the Staten Island Ferry on all fronts – economical to construct, efficient to operate and providing safe and reliable service to the people of New York. It’s been a pleasure to partner with NYC DOT to support their iconic vessels; we look forward to continuing our working relationship."

EBDG served as subcontractor as part of the KPFF project team that performed a preliminary design investigation to ascertain the needs of a future ferry fleet. The results determined that reconstructing the fleet's older classes of boats wasn't economically feasible. Instead, the investigation recommended the design of new double-ended ferry boats with overall passenger capacity of 4,500 and cycloidal propulsion.

As one of the nation's leading ferry design firms, EBDG has designed more ferries than any other firm in the U.S. Throughout its 26-year history, EBDG has supported operators with a comprehensive array of services including transportation studies, concept designs, capital budgets, security improvements and mid-life refurbishments. Recent clients have included Washington State Ferries, Alaska Marine Highway System, Texas Department of Transportation, The Steamship Authority and North Carolina Department of Transportation.

By Professional Mariner Staff