“It makes an honest 41 knots all day. It’s a real blast to run and handles like a 60' sports car,” said Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding’s Peter Duclos. He’s talking about the last of three 3,200-hp 61' patrol and rescue boats for the New York City Police Department’s harbor unit that was delivered on Aug. 1.
The Somerset, Mass., boatyard built the 61'6"×17'4"×2'11" vessel to a C. Raymond Hunt deep-V hull design, similar to its Chesapeake-class pilot boats, although there are significant differences between the NYPD 61-footer and the pilot boats.
Among other things, the superstructure is much larger to handle a long worktable with several computer monitors that can be integrated with sonars, ROVs and onboard video cameras. There is also a diver’s ready room with a settee, table and work counter. On the aft deck is a 13' tender that’s launched with a hydraulic, knuckle-boom crane.
A triage area with a fully equipped galley and head is located in the foc’sle.
The port and starboard sides of the hull have rescue recesses with steps leading to a platform just above the waterline. There’s also a hinged rescue platform over the waterjets. The decks are heated so they are ice-free in the winter.
The wheelhouse features a port and starboard control station. “That’s not a usual feature,” said Duclos. “The beauty of it is you have great visibility on either side for maneuvering along side a dock or pulling someone out of the water. Plus there’s a control station on the fly bridge.”
Duclos described the boat as having a “tremendous amount of power for its weight.” There are two 1,600-hp MTU 10V2000M94 diesels matched up to Hamilton HM251 waterjets through ZF 3000 gears. “A typical pilot boat of this size would have half that,” said Duclos.
The 60-footer’s bow has been squared off with fendering and push knees for bow landings. That makes exiting the boat a lot easier over the bow. Another reason for the blunt bow was that the NYPD “was getting concerned about the size of the boat and that it wouldn’t be as handy in tight spots,” said Duclos.
Gladding-Hearn, in addition to the three 61' patrol and rescue boats, will deliver two 70' patrol boats to the NYPD by the end of the year.
Besides being bigger, the 70' boats will have more room “to accommodate more people and more power,” said Duclos. “They’ll be faster, closer to 45 knots.”
The 70-footers will also have a different mission. Whereas the 61' boats are on the water 24 hours a day, the larger boats will be used more for standby emergency response. When they leave the dock, the 70' harbor patrol boats are more apt to be carrying boarding teams. There will be ballistic protection around the wheelhouse, including bulletproof windows.
The boats themselves won’t have mounted weapons, but “if they have to send in an assault team, that’s what they are designed to do,” said Duclos.
When the police department is dealing with a chemical or biological attack, the accommodations area can be closed up and pressurized with filtered air. — Michael Crowley