Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding delivers new Maryland Pilots launch

Written by Nick Blenkey
Chesapeake class pilot boat features a deep-V hull designed by Ray Hunt Design

Chesapeake class pilot boat features a deep-V hull designed by Ray Hunt Design

The Association of Maryland Pilots has taken delivery of its fourth Chesapeake class launch from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corporation, Somerset, Mass.

Since the Chesapeake class pilot boat was introduced by Gladding-Hearn in 2003, 22 have been delivered to 12 pilot associations throughout the United States.

With a deep-V hull designed by Ray Hunt Design, the new all-aluminum launch measures 52.6 feet overall, with a 16.8 feet beam and a 4.8 feet draft. Powered by twin Volvo Penta D16, EPA Tier 3-certified diesel engines, each producing 641 bhp at 1800 rpm, the vessel’s top speed is over 26 knots. The engines turn 5-blade Bruntons NiBrAl propellers via ZF500-1-A gear boxes. A Humphree interceptor trim control system, with its Automatic Trim Optimization, is installed at the transom. The launch is equipped with a 12kW Northern Lights genset and 100% LED lighting.

The vessel’s wheelhouse, with a small trunk, is installed amidships on a flush deck.

With electrically heated forward-leaning front windows, the wheelhouse is equipped with five NorSap shock-mitigating reclining seats, a baggage rack and control console.

The forecastle includes a Porta-Potty, split upholstered settee/bunk, lockers for tools and safety gear and a custom immersion suit rack.

The vessel’s interior is heated and cooled by two 16,000 Btu reverse-cycle HVAC units, in addition to a 2,000 Watt 240 V AC heater in the wheelhouse and in the forecastle.

Outside the wheelhouse are heated side-decks and handrails to prevent ice accumulation.

An aft ladder leads to hinged boarding platforms on the roof.

A control station is at the transom, along with a hydraulically powered J-Basket rescue system for pilot rescue operations.

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