Gladding-Hearn to repower workhorse Tampa launch

(SOMERSET, Mass.) — The Tampa Bay Pilots Association has returned its first Chesapeake-class pilot boat to Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding for repowering after more than 50,000 operating hours.

Tampa was built in 2003 when the shipyard introduced the class of midsize, high-speed launches. In 2015, the Tampa pilots took delivery of the shipyard’s first Chesapeake-class MKII, which incorporates the performance benefits of Volvo Penta’s IPS 2 pod system.

Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding photo

The 53-foot all-aluminum Tampa will be repowered and undergo repairs after a thorough inspection the shipyard’s quality control department.

“After 19 years of hard work, the vessel is showing some wear and tear but she still has a lot of life left, so it’s definitely worth re-investing in.” said Peter Duclos, Gladding-Hearn’s co-president and director of sales.

Along with modifying the engine beds, hull frames, exhaust systems, cooling, and fuel system piping to accommodate new engines, the yard will replace the twin 600-hp Caterpillar 3406E engines with a pair of Caterpillar C18 EPA Tier 3-compliant diesel engines, each delivering 670 hp at 2,100 rpm and a top speed of over 25 knots.

After installing new shafts, bearings, seals and couplings, the engines will turn new five-blade Bruntons propellers via Twin Disc MGX-5136A Quickshift gears. In addition, the pilot boat will receive a new Seastar Optimus steering system and a new Northern Lights 12-kW generator.

Other upgrades include new Norsap 1500 pilot seats, new windows, three new doors to the pilothouse and four new hatch covers. The boat’s bottom, topsides and pilothouse will be stripped to bare metal and receive a fresh coating system.

— Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding

By Rich Miller