Blount to build another ferry for Long Island, N.Y.

Blount Boats has signed a contract with Fire Island Ferries to build an 85’x20′ aluminum ferry, the ninth Blount-built boat for the Long Island, N.Y., ferry operator.

The vessel will be a sister ship to the Firebird (Hull 253), Fire Island Flyer (Hull 308) and Fire Island Belle (Hull 326) built by Blount in 1984, 2001 and 2008.

The triple-screw vessel will be powered 600-hp at 2,100 rpm, Series 60 MTU diesels that are matched up to ZF 550 marine gears with 2:1 reduction ratios. Delivery of the new ferry (Hull 338) is scheduled for June 2013.

Fire Island Ferries will now have four vessels built to the 85′, shallow-draft passenger ferry Blount design. The Fire Island Belle is certified for 382 passengers.

Over the years, there really hasn’t been much in the way of changes to the boats. What changed was mainly the result of regulations. For instance, the Firebird had an open stairwell between decks. The later boats were required to have a fireproof, enclosed stairwell. Other regulations required things such as smoke detectors and magnetic holdbacks on doors on the 85’×20’×5’1.5″ boats.

When the Fire Island Flyer was launched in 2001, it was certified to carry 400 people. The Fire Island Belle is certified for 382 passengers. The difference is an increase in the average passenger weight used for stability calculations. In 2001, it was pegged at 160 lbs. That has been bumped up to 185 lbs. To avoid having to redo stability calculations, capacity was cut by 18 passengers.

The new ferry should at least match the Fire Island Belle, which cruises at 19 knots at 70 percent power. At that speed, the burn rate is 17 gals. per engine with 300 passengers aboard.

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