Florida Sea Tow operator gets Maine-built boat
The North Tides , a 46′ × 14’6″ × 4’11” fiberglass boat from Wesmac Custom Boats in Surry, Maine, was scheduled to be delivered to Sea Tow SSRq s Marco Island, Fla., franchise in late July.
“We have done a lot of law enforcement boats, but this is the first we’ve built for search-and-rescue work, and the first for Sea Tow,” said Steve Wessel of Wesmac.
Sea Tow provides marine assistance to recreational boaters, which often involves towing boats that have broken down. For this work, the North Tides is equipped with an aluminum bollard in the after part of the cockpit. It’s anchored to the rest of the boat by a rugged fiberglass foundation.
The cockpit deck is built with a composite construction that has a 1″ foam core with layers of mat on each side. Like the rest of the boat, this is vacuum bagged. But in the deck around the bollard, the foam is removed. “We cut the foam out in that area, and made it 1-¼-inch solid glass,” Wessel said.
The solid glass is tied into two solid fiberglass vertical stanchions. “They are a couple of feet fore-and-aft and go down to the hull and stringers. Including the bollard, it weighs about 700 pounds,” Wessel said.
When the North Tides comes up against another boat, a 4.5″ bumper rail provides protection. This adds 9″ to the boat’s normal 14’6″ beam.
Below deck is an 853-hp Caterpillar C15 engine that turns a 32″ × 33″ 5-bladed prop through a ZF 360 marine gear with a 2:1 reduction ratio.
On the boat’s initial sea trials, the power package gave the North Tides a top speed of 27.2 knots at 2,300 rpm.
– Michael Crowley