Maryland pilots order new launch from Gladding-Hearn

(SOMERSET, Mass.) – The Association of Maryland Pilots has ordered its fifth Chesapeake-class launch from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding. Delivery is scheduled for early 2024.

With a deep-V hull designed by Ray Hunt Design, the all-aluminum launch measures 52.6 feet overall, with a 16.8-foot beam and a 4.8-foot draft. Powered by twin Volvo Penta D16 EPA Tier 3-certified diesel engines, each producing 641 hp at 1,800 rpm, the vessel’s top speed is expected to reach over 26 knots. A Humphree interceptor trim control system, with its automatic trim optimization, will be installed at the transom.

The engines will turn five-blade Bruntons nibral propellers via ZF 500 1A gearboxes. The launch will be equipped with a Northern Lights 12-kW genset.

The Chesapeake-class Susquehanna. Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding photo

The vessel’s wheelhouse, with a small trunk, is being installed amidships on a flush deck. With electrically heated, forward-leaning front windows, the wheelhouse is outfitted with five NorSap shock-mitigating reclining seats, a baggage rack and three weathertight doors.

The forecastle will include a portable toilet, split upholstered settee/bunk, a tool box and lockers for immersion suits and other safety gear. The vessel’s interior is heated and cooled by two 16,000-BTU reverse-cycle HVAC units, in addition to electric heaters in the wheelhouse and in the forecastle.

Outside of the wheelhouse are heated decks and handrails to prevent ice accumulation. A Harken TR-31 safety rail system will be installed on the wheelhouse handrail. An aft wheelhouse ladder leads to hinged boarding platforms on the roof. A control station at the transom will also include a hydraulically-powered J-basket rescue system capable of rescuing a pilot to the main deck by a single operator.

– Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding

By Rich Miller