MAY 24, 2018 —Ferry service is undergoing a renaissance in New York City and yesterday it crowned its queen when Seastreak, LLC, Atlantic Highlands, NJ, commissioned the 600-passenger M/V Seastreak Commodore, the largest U.S. Coast Guard Subchapter K high-speed ferry operating in the U.S.

Built at a cost of some $13 million at Gulf Craft, Inc., Franklin, LA, the sleek Seastreak Commodore has the distinctive, yacht-like profile that has become the signature look of Australian naval architectural firm Incat Crowther—which has designed hundreds of passenger catamarans. However, at yesterday’s commissioning, Seastreak’s President James (Jim) A. Barker, noted that there were 78 changes to the drawings for the Seastreak Commodore before any metal was cut at the shipyard. “We knew what we wanted,” said Barker. “We got a boat that if we were going to do it again, we would not make any changes.”SlideJack Jim Jim

Barker credited the hard work of Seastreak’s operations and engineering team, which was led by Jack Bevins, Vice President of Operations, and Brian Achille, Director of Vessel Engineering.

The Commodore is the “centerpiece of a $30 million program to bring Seastreak into the 21st century,” said Seastreak Chairman James R. Barker. The program started with interior and propulsion upgrades of the Seastreak Wall Street and Seastreak New York, and is continuing with the Seastreak New Jersey (currently being refit at a shipyard in Louisiana), and the Seastreak Highlands. Additionally, a keel has been laid at Midship Marine, Harvey, LA, for a second Commodore Class boat similar to the Seastreak Commodore.

Photo inset: (L to R): Jack Bevins, Vice President of Operations, Seastreak, LLC, James R. Barker, Chairman, Seastreak, LLC, and Jim Barker, President, Seastreak, LLC, on the deck of the new Seastreak Commodore

Named in honor of Cornelius Vanderbilt, nicknamed the “Commodore” as the progenitor of commercial ferry service between Staten Island and Manhattan, the Seastreak Commodore is a well-appointed commuter ferry, with panoramic windows, flatscreen TVs, a well-stocked bar (always a crowd-pleaser on the boat), comfortable airline-type seating, wood-like flooring, LED lighting, WiFi, and seven restrooms. Cruising at 38 knots, the high-speed ferry whisks up to 600 passengers from Atlantic Highlands and Highlands in Monmouth County, NJ, to Wall Street in about 40 minutes. The passenger seating is arranged to have 520 interior seats with an additional 206 exterior seats supplied by Berteaux located on the ferry’s second and third deck.

Slide interiorPhoto at left, the Seastreak Commodore has a spacious, comfortable seating area

Propulsion for the aluminum-hulled catamaran is supplied by four MTU 12V4000 M64, EPA-compliant, Tier 3 diesel engines, that drive four KaMeWa 63S4 waterjets supplied by Rolls-Royce.

Karl Senner, LLC, Kenner, LA, supplied four Reintjes WVS 730 reverse reduction gearboxes that allow for back-flushing the waterjets.  These gearboxes utilize lightweight aluminum housings, diagonal offsets, and robust gearing ideal for high speed catamaran with high operating hours.

The bridge features advanced bridge navigation equipment, supplied by Furuno USA, including:  two 32 in. x-band high speed radars, FLIR night vision technology, and a Furuno ECDIS chart plotting system.

NYC Ferry Resurgence
The Seastreak Commodore feels and rides like a big boat. With an overall length of 147 ft 8 in, beam of 39 ft 5 in, and draft of 5 ft 4 in, it dwarves the new 149-passenger ferries being operated by Hornblower in NYC Ferry interborough ferry service.

Seastreak’s multimillion dollar investment in its fleet is part of a resurgence of ferries in New York Harbor, propelled by a booming commercial and residential real estate market on the waterfront, anemically underfunded, overcrowded, rickety subway system, and the establishment of the new NYC Ferry system that connects Manhattan with the outer boroughs. While there has been a lot of finger pointing about the current sad state of the NYC subway system, Mayor Bill de Blasio has drawn praise (for the most part) for the establishment of the NYC Ferry service, which carried 3.7 million passengers on four routes during its first year in operation.

With two more routes launching this summer, the city projects passenger numbers could reach 9 million by 2023. The popularity of the service has been such that Mayor de Blasio announced on May 3—almost one year to the day of the launch of the NYC Ferry service—that the city was going to invest another $300 million for new 350-passenger boats, improvements to piers and docks, and a second homeport where ferries will be maintained and repaired.  Over the next five years, the city expects to double the capacity of its fleet, increase the frequency of its service, and enhance piers to allow additional vessels to dock simultaneously.

The city’s Department of Transportation is also building three 4,500-passenger iconic orange Staten Island Ferries at Eastern Shipbuilding in Panama City, FL, at a price of some $300 million.

Private investors such as Circle Line are upgrading their fleets to tote tourists around the harbor and Manhattan and the Trust of Governors Island has ordered a new steel-hulled ferry from Blount Boats, Warren, RI, for the 800-yard crossing between The Battery in Lower Manhattan and the island.

Published in Ferries

MARCH 15, 2018 — The latest addition to the Seastreak New York ferry fleet, the Seastreak Commodore, is set launch Monday, March 19. Built by the Gulf Craft shipyard in Franklin, LA, she is due to enter service in April on Seastreak's New York City commuter route.

Designed by naval architectural and marine engineering firm Incat-Crowther and with room for 600 passengers, she will be the highest passenger capacity USCG K-class high-speed ferry in the United States.

She will cruise at 35-knots allowing Seaspeed to continue to offer the fastest available waterborne transportation option between Wall Street and Monmouth County, NJ, in under 40 minutes.

The vessel is powered four MTU 12V4000 M64 EPA Tier III main engines and will be propelled by four Rolls-Royce KaMeWa 63S4 waterjets.


Published in Ferries



  NOVEMBER 2018 - Venue to be announced 


Published in Conferences

OCTOBER 20, 2016 — The 600 passenger Incat Crowther designed catamaran passenger ferry on order at Gulf Craft LLC's Franklin, LA, shipyard for New York ferry operator Seastreak LLC (see earlier story) will have Rolls-Royce power and propulsion.

In addition, three existing Seastreak vessels (Highlands, New York and New Jersey) will be upgraded and repowered with Rolls-Royce equipment over the next several years.

When delivered, the new cat will be the highest passenger capacity USCG K-class high-speed ferry in the United States. It will carry up to 600 passengers between Monmouth County, NJ, and Wall Street in less than 40 minutes at a top speed of 35 knots.

Power will come from four high-speed MTU diesel engines type 12V 4000 M64 from Rolls-Royce. The engines will be EPA Tier III compliant and offer the lowest emissions on the market. The four engines will drive four Rolls-Royce Kamewa 63S4 waterjets, providing both reliability and redundancy.

This new vessel, together with improvements to the three existing Seastreak-class vessels, will require the investment of more than $24 million dollars.

Seastreak's President, James A. Barker, said: "These investments reflect our continuing commitment to our customers, and ensures that they will enjoy a modern, reliable and comfortable ferry fleet for many years to come."

Tor-Gunnar Hovig, Rolls-Royce, Senior Vice President Offshore & Merchant Solutions North America, said: "The combination of Rolls-Royce Kamewa waterjets and MTU high-speed diesel engines will help Seastreak transport thousands of customers every day economically, reliably and sustainably. We're delighted that Seastreak has not only selected Rolls-Royce technology for their newest vessel but also to repower three of their existing fleet."

The new ferry will include the latest in luxury seating, panoramic windows,interior design featuring all-LED lighting, flat screen TVs viewable from any seat, multiple dedicated charging stations, Wi-Fi, and high-tech HVAC systems.

The passenger seating arrangement will consist of 520 interior seats with an additional 206 exterior seats located on the second and third deck.

To be known as the Commodore class, it is expected to be delivered in 2017.

The upgrade and repower of three existing Seastreak class vessels will start with the Seastreak New York this winter. Seastreak plans to upgrade and repower one vessel per year each winter.

All three vessels will be refitted with modern Tier 3 MTU 16V 4000 M64 engines driving Rolls-Royce waterjets.

Rolls-Royce says the new engine and jet configuration will not only be cleaner burning, and better for the environment, but will also remove approximately 20 tons of weight, helping greatly with speed, and efficiency.

The upgrades will also involve new custom seating, windows, and carpeting, as well as other mechanical upgrades.

Published in Ferries

MARCH 24, 2014—Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) is urging the federal government to provide $267 million in funding for a New York City Department of Transportation plan to build three new 4,500-passenger ferries, as well as upgrade existing ferry terminals in Staten Island and Manhattan to better withstand flooding and add barge-based ferry landings that can be moved around the city in cases of emergency.

The NYCDOT is expected to apply for the grant next week from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Sandy Resilience Program, as part of the third portion of $3 billion in disaster funding from the Sandy Relief Bill. The $267 million represents about 75% of the total $356 million cost of the project.

“Superstorm Sandy’s immense wrath and critical damage underscored the need for modern, updated and more resilient infrastructure in New York City,” says Senator Schumer.  “Ferries are a key piece of resilient infrastructure because, with the right landing equipment, they can begin running immediately after a storm.”


It is estimated that the new 4,500-passenger ferries will cost a total of about $309 million to build. Each will be fitted with four Voith Schneider cycloidal propellers, providing exceptional maneuverability. Additionally, the double-ended ferries will also be fitted with side loading doors, allowing for more flexible passenger embarking/disembarking scenarios in the event of an evacuation or emergency. For example, the new ferries would have greater capacities than small privately owned passenger-only ferries typically used at ferry landings in Brooklyn or Queens that connect to rail transit services.

NYCDOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, says, "Resilient, dependable and adaptable waterway infrastructure will be a game changer in any future storm response and an essential link when our subway, road, tunnel and bridge networks are compromised.”  

In addition, the new boats are also expected to provide improved fuel consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Furthermore, the new ferries would allow the NYCDOT to retire some of the older boats in its nine-vessel fleet. Among them are the 49-year-old, 3,500-passenger John F. Kennedy and two 33-year-old, 6,000-passenger Barberi Class ferries, the Andrew J. Barberi and the Samuel I. Newhouse.

One of the largest ferry systems in the U.S., the Staten Island Ferry carries 22 million passengers annually between St. George on Staten Island and Whitehall Street in lower Manhattan.

Besides the new ferries, the project would also allow for flood protection upgrades at the St. George Terminal on Staten Island and the Whitehall Terminal in lower Manhattan. The terminals were hard hit during Super Storm Sandy. The upgrades are estimated to cost $7.5 million.

Lastly, as much as $40 million in funding will be used to enhance ferry landings at four locations to accommodate the new ferries and hardened them against damage from future storms and the effects of a sea level rise. Among the locations are Hunters Point in Queens and E. 34th Street in Manhattan and two others, at least one of which would likely be in Brooklyn. There will be two “flex barges,” capable of being deployed to multiple locations, in addition to the four modified landings.

Published in Ferries