First US-built Voith Schneider propellers delivered to North Carolina DOT


(HATTERAS, N.C. and YORK, Pa.) — The first two American-made Voith Schneider propeller (VSP) units have been delivered and installed in Rodanthe, a ferry to be operated by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and used in its service to the Outer Banks.

“With the new VSP units installed, the Rodanthe will offer years of smooth, efficient service to the islands. By linking steering and propulsion together, the VSP allows for fast response and precision movement in even the roughest of waters. This helps the operators pilot their ferry better while also keeping passengers and cargo safe thanks to the VSP’s superior handling in comparison to other propulsion systems available on the market,” said Ivo Beu, Head of Marine Business Americas for Voith.

To serve the popular tourist area, the ferry will be added to the fleet that transports 1.6 million passengers and 751,656 vehicles per year between the islands of Ocracoke and Hatteras. These trips, made several times daily all year long, include careful maneuvering and docking procedures that are managed with the VSP’s unified steering- and propulsion-control system.

Commissioned by NCDOT, the VSP propulsion systems were built and tested in Voith’s York, Pa., facility to meet the unique specifications required for the island-hopping ferries. Likewise, their Pennsylvania assembly allows NCDOT to champion its use of an American workforce on the project. 

“These are the first VSP units ever built in the U.S., and they are being used to extend the NCDOT fleet of ferries utilizing this innovative propulsion system,” said Beu. “This is an important step to fulfill manufacturing requirements for government entities and businesses that want to support American workers. Likewise, by producing the VSP in Pennsylvania our North American production team expands its marine production expertise and capabilities to better serve our regional customers.”

After assembly of the VSP units was complete in November 2018, the propellers were delivered to Bollinger Shipyards in Louisiana for installation into Rodanthe. In May, the ferry will be delivered to the NCDOT Shipyard in Manns Harbor, N.C., and it is expected to go into service in the summer of 2019 on the Outer Banks.

To learn more about the capabilities of the VSP and its specialized control systems, click here.

By Professional Mariner Staff