Aboard the Response Boat-Small
February 19, 2013
a thwop, thwop, thwop , the 28-footer cut across the Intracoastal Waterway in Miami on
Sunday morning in conditions that felt more like the chilly north than the
subtropics. The temperature was near 50, but the wind at Fowey Rocks Light was
NNW at 22 — gusting to 26.
problem for Metal Shark Aluminum Boats’
28'6"x8'6"x19" prototype for the U.S. Coast Guard’s second generation
of Response Boat-Small. It was handling the chop with ease at a cool 40 mph —
cool being used advisedly — powered by twin 225-hp Evinrude E-TEC outboards. The cabin was cozy with its windows up
and comfy with its shock-mitigating seats.
Photo credit: Metal Shark Aluminum Boats
Coast Guard versions are equipped with twin Honda 225-hp four stroke outboards that run at a top speed of over
45 knots. With 30 already delivered as part of a contract with the Coast Guard, Metal Shark
brought the 28 Defiant — minus the orange collar — to the Miami International
Boat Show in partnership with Evinrude to show it off to prospective clients.
had interest from the other U.S. military groups, law enforcement and
commercial customers, said Dean Jones, Metal Shark’s national sales manager.
The Coast Guard contract with the Jeanerette, La., yard may total up to 500
RB-Ses worth $192 million over seven years. The remaining 30 will go to other
of the main features of the boat is that the windows are designed with
visibility and ventilation in mind. The side and rear windows are powered by
humans — hand cranked and locked in place — rather than electricity, and
retract into the boat’s sides. Metal Shark worked with Diamond Sea Glaze of British
Columbia on the new design.
shock-mitigating seats for sitting or standing come with a simple pump, so
users can adjust the pressure to match their weight — a feature that’s new for
this series, Jones said.
helm is on the port side, and the controls are in the middle, instead of having
everything to starboard, which makes them harder to get to in case the
RB-S has a fuel capacity of 110 gals., a range from 150 to 295 nautical miles, and mounts for .50-caliber machine guns. (Draft
with engines down and running is 33”.) The boat is being used for search and
rescue, vessel boarding-team deployment, law enforcement, drug interdiction,
and environmental response operations all along the East Coast — from the
frozen north to normally warmer Florida.