Humphree supplies stabilization system for new Alaska pilot boat


(SELBYVILLE, Del.) — The new pilot boat for the Southwest Alaska Pilots Association features a vessel stabilization system supplied by Humphree USA, giving a smooth comfortable ride to pilots and crew in all sea conditions.

The new 75.7-foot aluminum Galveston-Class pilot boat was designed by C. Raymond Hunt and built by Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corp. It is powered by twin 1,400-hp EPA Tier 3 diesels with waterjet drives. Top speed is 28 knots.

Humphree supplied a set of transom-mounted interceptors, which respond instantly to deploy and retract vertical blades in the water stream beneath the hull, creating lift forces that offset the hull’s motions. The Humphree installation also includes Active Ride Control, which automatically minimizes roll and pitch, and optimizes fore-and-aft trim.

The Humphree interceptors run on 24V DC electric power with no hydraulics, minimizing maintenance requirements.

“In pilotage operations, we are required to operate day and night regardless of the winds and seas, and it’s vitally important to provide a safe platform for embarking and boarding pilots,” said Capt. Ron Ward of Southwest Alaska Pilots Association. “We are very impressed with the ability of the Humphree interceptors and Active Ride Control to hold the boat steady and stable even with high winds and heavy seas and swells.” 

“Pilot boats are a tough testbed for our products, since they require trouble-free performance in some of the world’s toughest environments,” said Sean Berrie, CEO of Humphree USA. “In the pilotage business, you can’t afford downtime, and safety is the highest priority when boarding or disembarking a pilot alongside a large moving ship.”

Humphree also provided interceptors for the new Gladding-Hearn Chesapeake-class pilot boat delivered earlier this year to the Virginia Pilots Association.

“We are fitting Humphree interceptors on many of our new pilot boats in response to demand from customers,” said Peter Duclos, president of Gladding-Hearn. “Humphree is building a great reputation for its reliable stabilization technology.”

The Southwest Pilots Association provides pilotage to all shipping on the ports and waterways of south central Alaska. The association is charged with the safe navigation of vessels and the protection of life, property and the marine environment on the waters of Icy Bay, Prince William Sound, Resurrection Bay, Kenai Fjords, Cook Inlet and the Kodiak Island Archipelago. The Association maintains offices and dispatch centers in Homer and Valdez, Alaska with seasonally manned stations at Valdez, Seward and Kodiak.

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By Professional Mariner Staff