Blount Boats delivered the 85’x20’6″ Fire Islander in September. The 382-passenger, two-deck, all-aluminum commuter boat will operate on Great South Bay between Bay Shore, N.Y., and Fire Island.
The triple-screw vessel is powered by Detroit/MTU Series 60 Tier 2 diesel engines, producing 600 hp each at 2,100 rpm,. The engines turn 34″ Rolls-Royce props through ZF 550 reduction gears with 2:1 ratios. At a displacement of 43.6 tons, it has a cruising speed of 19 knots at 70 percent power, loaded, and a top speed of 24 knots. The two outboard engines are plumbed to a heat-recovery system that supplies hot water to several Heater Craft heaters so that this vessel can be used in the winter months. Two banks of three in-line Duramax keel coolers are strategically placed for engine cooling that allows for less drag and optimum speed.
The Fire Islander has been built and certified under U.S. Coast Guard Subchapter K. It was based on the original design of the Firebird, built by the Warren, R.I.-based Blount for West Ferry, a sister company of Fire Island Ferries, in 1984.
Like other ferries in the Fire Island fleet, the Fire Islander is a no-frills affair. There are Blount-built aluminum seats and fiberglass seats from Aquidneck Custom, but no concessions stands, bars or toilets, ADA-compliant or otherwise.
The Fire Islander is the ninth vessel built by Blount Boats for the Fire Island Ferries fleet since 1972.