Military stokes patrol boat demand; Gladding-Hearn leads on pilot boats

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There were plenty of noteworthy small ships built within the last year in the pilot, patrol and fireboat sector.

Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding led the market in pilot boat deliveries once again, while Metal Shark completed multiple pilot launches and has a faceted pilot boat under construction now.

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he Lake Charles Pilots took delivery of Cameron Pilot II from Gladding-Hearn.

The patrol boat market remains steady, bolstered by multiple projects for the U.S. Navy. Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies welcomed new vessels and foreign governments turned to American shipbuilders for capable new patrol and small military vessels.

Smaller, nimbler fireboats continue to leave American shipyards for inland and coastal departments, with more vessels under construction.

Lake Assault Boats built a 28-foot vessel for the San Bernardino County Fire Protection District in California. It’s the agency’s third boat from the Superior, Wis., shipyard.

The fireboat works on California’s high-altitude Big Bear Lake. As such, the new vessel has a fully-enclosed pilothouse and reinforced hull to handle ice. It’s powered by twin 350-hp Mercury Verado outboards and has a 1,500-gpm Darley pump powered by a dedicated V-8 engine, along with a TFT fire monitor and three discharge ports.

Lake Assault also delivered a 28-foot firefighting and rescue craft to the Dallas Fire-Rescue Department in Dallas County, Texas. The vessel typically operates on the 22,000-acre Lake Ray Hubbard.

Propulsion comes from two 250-hp Honda outboard motors controlled through a one-touch joystick system. The vessel also has a digital anchoring system. It draws less than 18 inches. The 1,250-gpm fire pump is driven by a dedicated GM V-6 engine.

MetalCraft Marine of Kingston, Ontario delivered its fourth FireStorm 50 fireboat to the Kuwait Fire Service Directorate. Propulsion comes from Volvo D13 1,000-hp twin diesels combined with Marine Jet Power 310X mixed flow waterjets, a combination that allows the boat to reach 44.5 knots.

Temperatures in Kuwait routinely exceed 100 degrees. Thus, the boat is cooled by twin 27K-BTU Dometic turbo air HVAC units, with a back-up 36K-BTU Arctic Wolf compressor. A 20-kW Kohler generator provides electrical power.

Its firefighting system consists of twin Darley ZSM 3000 pumps that achieved 7,500 gpm during sea trials. The fire pumps supply roof- and bow-mounted EXM Scorpion 2,500-gpm remote-controlled water cannons from Elkhart Brass. The vessel is also equipped with twin Copperhead 1,250-gpm manual water cannons on the aft deck.

MetalCraft Marine and its subsidiary Stanley Boats delivered a 34-foot landing craft and fireboat to the Costa Rica Fire Department. The boat will provide fire protection around Tortuguero Station along the Central American country’s northeast coast.

Twin 150-hp Yamaha outboards propel the vessel to 40 knots. Its firefighting equipment includes a Darley PSDE 1,500-gpm fire pump and an Akron Apollo monitor. The aft deck is designed to carry 10 people under the covered roof for medical support or evacuation.

MetalCraft Marine and Stanley Boats built a Stanley 26 Bullnose fireboat for the Forsyth County Fire Department in Georgia. Propulsion on the 26-foot boat comes from a 300-hp Yamaha engine providing a top speed of over 36 knots. A Darley PSDE fire pump can provide 1,500 gpm.

Other notable fireboat projects including those from Metal Shark of Jeanerette, La. The yard is building a custom 70 Defiant model fireboat for Canaveral Fire Rescue in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

The 70-foot welded aluminum monohull pilothouse vessel is equipped with four 800-hp MAN diesel engines paired with quad HamiltonJet waterjets, a configuration that will deliver a top speed of 35 knots.

The vessel will be equipped with twin Darley fire pumps rated at 3,000 gpm, each feeding two 2,000-gpm remote-operated bow monitors, a 5,000-gpm remote-operated rooftop monitor, two 1,250-gpm manually operated aft deck water monitors, two aft deck risers with dual 2.5-inch hand line connections, and dual 5-inch Storz hydrant outlets. It’s also equipped with a 500-gallon foam tank with gravity fast feed capability and integrated Purple-K dry chemical fire suppression system.

The vessel’s design also includes a positive-pressure chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosive (CBRNE) system to provide crew protection during extreme disaster response scenarios. It will be equipped with a FLIR multi-sensor marine thermal camera.

Metal Shark also built Marine 57 for the South Bowers (Del.) Fire Co. The aluminum monohull powered by twin Mercury outboards is responsible for rescues in Delaware Bay. It entered service in April 2020.

Moose Boats of Vallejo, Calif., is making progress on an M2-38 aluminum catamaran bound for the Rochester (N.Y) Fire Department, for use on the Genesee River and Lake Ontario.

The vessel, scheduled for delivery in spring 2021, will be powered by twin 425-hp Cummins engines paired with Twin Disc reduction gears and HamiltonJet waterjets. Its firefighting equipment consists of a single Hale RSD fire pump capable of nearly 2,000 gpm and two TFT remote-controlled monitors.

The Fall River Fire Department  in Massachusetts took delivery of a 34-foot aluminum monohull from Munson Boats of Burlington, Wash. The vessel, named Marine 1, primarily works in the Taunton River and Mt. Hope Bay.

The vessel is powered by twin 350-hp Suzuki outboards and can travel up to 37 knots. It is equipped with a Hale 1,500-gpm fire pump, two forward-facing fire monitors, and an enclosed pilothouse with head, galley, and air conditioning and heating system.

Silver Ships of Mobile, Ala., made a handful of deliveries, including an Explorer 26 Dive Support Vessel for the Tempe Fire Department in Arizona. The 26-foot landing craft vessel is powered by a single 250-hp Honda outboard.

The company delivered an Explorer 26 fireboat to the Spotsylvania Fire Department in Virginia. The landing craft-style hull has a power-operated bow door to allow for rapid ATV deployment, and an enclosed pilothouse.

Twin 175-hp Suzuki outboards provide propulsion, and the vessel can reach 37 knots. The wheelhouse is equipped with an Eagle Lowrance navigation electronics package that includes GPS, sonar, chart plotting, and structure scan sonar. It also has a FLIR M-324S infrared video camera.

The firefighting system consists of a Hale Attack Max HPX450-B35 fire pump delivering 500 gpm.

Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding of Somerset, Mass., made several notable deliveries to pilot associations across the United States. Among them was Cameron Pilot II, built for the Lake Charles Pilots in Lake Charles, La.

The 70-foot all-aluminum deep-V hull designed by Ray Hunt Design is powered by twin Cummins QSK38-M diesel engines, each delivering 1,300 hp at 1,800 rpm. Its top speed is 28 knots. Twin Northern Lights M864W3 25-kW gensets provide electrical power.

The wheelhouse is equipped with Garmin radars, chartplotter and GPS, along with a Furuno AIS and Standard Horizon radios. It’s outfitted with eight Llebroc pilot and crew seats, a sofa and two baggage racks.  

Gladding-Hearn delivered its sixth pilot boat to Delta Launch Services, the operating company for the Associated Branch Pilots based at the mouth of the Mississippi River. The 52.6-foot aluminum  St. John’s-class launch was designed with the deep-V hull developed by Ray Hunt Design.

It is powered by twin Caterpillar C18 EPA Tier 3 diesel engines, each delivering 671 hp at 2,100 rpm and a top speed of over 24 knots. Twin Disc MG-5136A gears turn five-blade propellers. The new launch is U.S. Coast Guard Subchapter T certified to carry 12 passengers for hire.

Gladding-Hearn also delivered Richmond, a Chesapeake-Class MK II launch to The Virginia Pilot Association. The 56-foot boat is powered by twin 700-hp Volvo Penta D13-700 diesel engines paired with Volvo Penta’s fully integrated IPS propulsion system. The top speed is 34 knots.

“The combination of the Volvo Penta IPS system and the Humphree interceptors gives the pilots faster acceleration and higher speeds and improved comfort, while burning about 25 percent less fuel,” shipyard President Peter Duclos said.

Richmond has heated side decks and handrails to prevent ice accumulation. It also has a winch-operated rotating davit system over a recessed platform for pilot rescue operations.

Metal Shark of Jeanerette, La. delivered two new pilot boats to Belle Chasse Marine Transportation, located outside New Orleans. Jet 1 and Jet 2 are 45-foot Defiant-class aluminum monohulls powered by twin Cummins QSM11 diesel engines coupled with HamiltonJet HJ322 waterjets. Cruising speed exceeds 30 knots and the top speed is close to 40.

Metal Shark is building a 55-foot aluminum pilot boat for the Pascagoula Bar Pilots Association in Mississippi. The new vessel will be powered by twin 803-hp Caterpillar C18 engines turning Michigan Wheel 34-inch-diameter Nibral four-blade propellers through Twin Disc gears.

This boat incorporates the “faceted hull” design that Metal Shark initially developed for the U.S. Navy 40 PB program. The boat has the large overhead spotter windows for maneuvering near big ships and a FLIR thermal imaging system.

Armstrong Marine of Port Angeles, Wash. delivered Piloto VIII to the Port of Manzanillo on Mexico’s Pacific coast. The 31-foot rigid hull inflatable boat is powered by twin Suzuki 250-hp outboards that deliver a 32-knot cruise speed and a 40-knot top speed. It is equipped with Shockwave S3 shock-mitigating seats for the operator and three passengers.

Metal Shark delivered a 36-foot welded-aluminum patrol boat to the San Juan Police Department in Puerto Rico. The 36 Fearless model high-performance craft is powered by three 300-hp Suzuki outboard engines delivering a top speed faster than 50 knots.

The boat will be used in disaster relief, search and rescue, counter-narcotics, and other law enforcement operations. It also supports dive operations and is equipped with a custom 36-inch dive door and dive ladder, underwater lighting, 12 dive tank holders. It has a Garmin radar, and FLIR camera.

Metal Shark’s 40 Defiant design will become the new standard for a U.S. Navy patrol boat used around the world. All told, up to 160 of the 44-foot U.S. Navy 40 PB vessels could be built in the coming years.

These vessels are designed for extended gunfights and fending off asymmetric threats, including attacks from a swarm of small, armed boats. It has an armored, climate-controlled pilothouse, foundations for six MK 16 automatic weapons plus a forward foundation for remote-controlled MK 49 and MK 50 weapons systems.

It will be powered by twin Cummins QSB 6.7 diesel inboard engines, coupled via Twin Disc MG-5065SC marine transmissions to HamiltonJet HTX30 waterjets designed specifically for the Navy 40 PB program. The boat is capable of 40 knots.

Metal Shark also announced production of the 52 Fearless Super Interceptor, a high-performance military patrol vessel capable of 70 knots.

The 52-foot vessel will be powered by twin 1,650-hp MAN 12-cylinder diesel inboard engines combined with Arneson ASD14 surface drives via ZF transmissions. The company said 15 vessels were on order for overseas military and police agencies.

Armstrong Marine of Port Angeles, Wash., won a contract to design and build multiple law enforcement vessels for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. They include the 38-foot monohull Salish Scout and its sister ship, Sentry.

Powered by twin 425-hp Cummins QSB 6.7 engines in a semi-tunnel straight shaft arrangement, the boat cruises at 24 knots and can reach 30 knots during pursuits. Salish Scout is designed for marine law enforcement and geoduck clam fishery management. To that end, it is equipped with a 4-foot dive platform, tank racks, aft deck shower, and custom dive ladder to accommodate divers who monitor the clam beds.

Silver Ships delivered the patrol boat Emil Skoglund to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The vessel is named for a Michigan DNR officer killed on the job.

The 29-foot vessel is powered by two 350-hp Mercury Verado outboards paired with the Mercury JPO joystick controls for close-quarters maneuvering. The enclosed wheelhouse is equipped with shock-mitigating seats, RayMarine navigation electronics and a FLIR thermal imaging camera.

The yard also delivered a 26-foot AM800 patrol boat to the Colchester Police Department in Vermont. It is powered by two 250-hp Evinrude outboard motors with RayMarine navigation electronics.

Eglin Air Force Base in Florida took delivery of a 36-foot patrol boat from Silver Ships that is capable of 43 knots. The rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) is powered by two 300-hp Mercury Verado outboards and equipped with a Darley fire pump, Furuno navigation electronics and SHOXS seating.

Moose Boats won a contract from California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife to build a 46-foot aluminum M1-46 catamaran to serve as an offshore game warden boat.

The boat will be powered by twin Volvo Penta D11 625-hp turbo diesel propulsion engines paired with Twin Disc gears and HamiltonJet waterjets. It is designed for extended law enforcement and wildlife sampling operations off the Northern California coast. It will join Moose Boats M2-38 catamaran Cabezon in service.

Moose Boats also announced a contract to build an M3 patrol boat for the Santa Cruz (California) Harbor Patrol. The 34-foot aluminum monohull will be powered by twin Yamaha 300-hp outboard engines. It will be equipped with a walkaround cabin designed for a two-person crew.

MetalCraft Marine built a 34-foot Interceptor patrol boat for the Mobile (Alabama) Police Department, which oversees a major port on the Gulf of Mexico. Powered by twin Suzuki 300-hp outboard motors, it can reach speeds up to 44 knots.

It’s designed for long hours in the Gulf of Mexico and Mobile Bay and has heating and air conditioning, along with a comprehensive suite of Simrad navigation electronics and a SeaFLIR camera.

MetalCraft Marine also delivered the 43-foot Boat 42 to the Los Angeles Port Police. It’s powered by two Cummins 6.7-liter engines each generating 480 hp and Konrad Marine heavy duty 680 duo-prop outdrives.

Boat 42 is designed to work in 13 to 17-foot seas, allowing operators to go offshore to inspect incoming ships for nuclear and hazardous chemical contaminants. The boat has two military-grade detection units to identify chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear hazards.

Ribcraft USA of Marblehead, Mass., delivered two 19-foot vessels to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for use in the Southern District.

The Ribcraft 5.85s are powered by a 115-hp Yamaha motor and can reach 35 knots. They’re built to be easily transported by trailer and operated by one or two wardens for law enforcement operations.

Ribcraft also has a contract to build about 48 anti-mine boats for the U.S. Navy. The contract is worth up to $43 million. The boats will be equipped with twin Cummins QSB-6.7 473-hp diesel engines and twin HamiltonJet 292 waterjets.

Wisconsin’s Fincantieri Marinette Marine and Vigor have delivered numerous 45-foot Response Boat Medium vessels to the U.S. Coast Guard in recent years, and they have now found buyers in the export market.

Specifically, the companies announced a contract to deliver six boats to the U.S. Coast Guard for transfer to the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Coast Guard for patrol and search and rescue. The boats are powered by Rolls-Royce Kamewa FF375S waterjets paired with twin MTU Series 60 825-hp engines.

These vessels are equipped with a 92,000-BTU HVAC system to keep its crews comfortable on blazing hot days. The hulls were built with high temperature resistant aluminum, and upgraded with a hot weather package that includes additional air conditioning and thermal insulation.

Lake Assault Boats won a contract worth up to $56 million to build up to 119 force protection-medium boats for the U.S. Navy. The first deliveries are expected in November 2020.

The boats will be used for security purposes, including escorting large vessels in and out of port. The 33-foot boats will be powered by twin 225-hp outboard motors and will have four machine gun mounts.

By Professional Mariner Staff