JUNE 28, 2017 – Delta Launch Services, the operating company for the Associated Branch pilots on the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi, has ordered a new pilot boat from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corporation. It will be the fifth St. John’s Class launch built for the Delta pilots by the Somerset, Mass. shipyard and is scheduled for delivery in 2018.
The new launch, a sister to the Mississippi, delivered in 2013, measures of 52.6′ overall, with a beam of 16.11′ and a draft of 4.8′.
The all-aluminum pilot boat features the C. Raymond Hunt-designed Deep V hull. It will be powered by twin Caterpillar C-18 EPA Tier 3 diesel engines, each delivering 671 bhp at 2,100 rpm and giving the vessel a top speed of 24 knots. “Quickshift” gears will turn five-bladed Brunton bronze propellers.
The launch will be equipped with a 12 kW Northern Lights genset.
The wheelhouse, with a small trunk, will be flush-mounted to the deck amidships. Aft of its helm station are six Llebroc pilot seats. The forecastle will be equipped with enclosed marine head, settee and three berths. The wheelhouse and forecastle will be heated and cooled by three reverse-cycle air-conditioning units, totaling 40,000 Btu capacity.
Outside of the wheelhouse are wide side decks, a rear and side doors, and a boarding platform on the roof. At the transom is a winch-operated, rotating davit over a recessed platform for rescue operations.
The new launch will be USCG subchapter T-certified to carry twelve passengers for hire.