Naiad Inflatables is putting the finishing touches on a 57'×16'×7' aluminum pilot boat for the Matagorda Bay Pilots in Port Lavaca, Texas. The $1.5 million RIB, with a 4'6" draft, is the largest pilot boat ever built at Naiad’s Newport, R.I., facility.

“The Naiad 15-meter pilot vessel is a proven platform with 10 sisterships already in service,” said Stephen Connett Jr., Naiad’s president. 

Designed and engineered by Steve Schmidt of Naiad Design, Picton, New Zealand, the fendering is Naiad's proprietary foam core system, which the company has been using on commercial RIBs for more than 12 years. 

“It's large cross section offers better protection and better shock absorption than the smaller, denser materials offered by many of our competitors,” said Connett. “One of the primary benefits of this system is greatly increased safety for both the vessel and crew.”

Twin Scania DI13 77M marine diesels, producing 700 hp at 2,200 rpm each, will provide the new RIB with main propulsion. The DI13s will connect to Michigan Wheel 4-bladed, 30"-dia. props on stainless steel shafts through Twin Disc MGX-5114 gears. The propulsion package will give the RIB a running speed of 30 knots.

There’s tankage for 525 gals. of fuel. Controls will be ZF 4200 and Seastar will provide the steering system. The cabin area will be well appointed with Shockwave seating, full Raymarine electronics suite and air conditioning.

The pilot boat is scheduled for completion in early January.

— Ken Hocke