The Pilots’ Association of the Bay and River Delaware has ordered another pilot launch from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corporation.
Founded in 1896, the association is one of the oldest state pilot organizations in the U.S. and a recognized leader in the technology, training, and accountability of piloting.
This latest vessel will be the pilotage association’s fourth Chesapeake Class launch and the eleventh pilot boat built by the Somerset, Mass., shipyard since 1957. Delivery is scheduled for 2024.
Since the Chesapeake Class pilot launch was introduced by Gladding Hearn in 2003, 28 have been delivered or are under construction for 15 pilot associations throughout the United States.
With a deep-V hull designed by Ray Hunt Design, the new all-aluminum pilot launch measures 53 feet, 6 inches overall, with a 17 feet, 8 inches beam and a 4 foot, 9 inches draft. The boat will be powered by twin Volvo Penta D16 diesel engines, each rated for 651 mhp at 1,800 rpm. Top speed will reach over 25 knots. The engines will turn 5-bladed Brunton propellers via ZF 500-1-A gear boxes. A Humphree interceptor trim control system, with automatic trim optimization, will be installed at the transom.
The pilot boat’s wheelhouse, with a small trunk, will be installed amidships on a flush deck. It is designed with electrically-heated forward-leaning front and side windows for deicing and four tinted windows on the roof. The wheelhouse has the helm station at center with the Volvo Penta EVC electronic control system and a luggage rack forward. Aft of the helm station are four Stidd reclining seats and another luggage rack. The forecastle includes an upholstered settee and a hanging locker for exposure suits.
The decks and exterior handrails will be heated to minimize ice formation from flying spray. A three-zone hydronic cabin, deck heat, and handrail heating system will be installed to circulate heated water through tubes fastened below the main deck, handrails and through three fan-coil units, two in the wheelhouse and one in the forecastle. Treated water will be heated by a 120,000 Btu Espar Hydronic 35 diesel-fired “boiler” and main engine waste heat. An auxiliary A.C. heater will be installed in the wheelhouse to heat the vessel while on shore power.
A control station will be located at the pilot launch’s transom. A rotating pipe davit will be welded to the deck at the forward end of the rescue recess in the boat’s transom. A self-tailing, two speed manual winch will be mounted, along with a Naiad-Dynamics Mate-Saver rescue noose, to aid in retrieving a pilot.