JANUARY 4, 2014—Casco Bay Island Transit serves as a vital lifeline for the residents of the six Casco Bay Islands providing commuter, tourist, freight, vehicle and mail service daily from the mainland through Portland, ME. Spanning some 57 years, Blount Boats has built eight passenger vessels for the service. Most recently, the Warren, Rhode Island, shipyard delivered the 399-passenger ferry M/V Wabanaki to Casco Bay Island Transit.
The 110-foot-long by 32-foot-wide passenger ferry was designed by Seaworthy Systems Inc., part of the Rolls-Royce Group, Essex, CT, to comply with U.S. Coast Guard Subchapter K regulations. The Wabanaki is very similar to the M/V Aucocisco III, which was also designed by Seaworthy Systems. The Wabanaki replaces the 40-year-old Island Romance—which was also built by Blount.
A federal grant of $5.5 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to the State of Maine was used to partially fund the construction of the ferry. The grant was part of about $60 million in funds awarded to 19 states to build new ferries or upgrade ferry facilities in 2009 under the government stimulus package.
At the time the grants were announced, then U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said, "The Recovery Act was put in place quickly to rescue the economy from the worst recession since the Great Depression and rebuild it for a stronger future. Rebuilding the nation's infrastructure is a key part of that prescription for strength. It creates jobs today and builds for better, more sustainable economy moving forward."
The Wabanaki is equipped with two electronically controlled Caterpillar C-18 Tier II diesel engines that meet the latest EPA standards, complete with two Twin Disc MGX-516 Marine Gears and ZF Mathers engine controls and shaft brake systems. Additional features include a 50 hp Wesmar Electric Bow Thruster System, six Mathers control stations, a 400,000 BTU Burnham Boiler, a Jastram Electro-Hydraulic Steering System with controls for six stations and a 2000 pound capacity passenger/light freight elevator to meet latest ADA regulations. Other features include two ADA compliant bathrooms, recycled lumber seating throughout the vessel, vintage style rounded stern and functioning stack.