There’s a lot of cutting and welding of aluminum plating going on at Yank Marine Inc. since the Tuckahoe, N.J., boatyard inked a $10.4 million contract with Port Imperial Ferry Weehawken, N.J., to build a pair of 110'×31'×5' ferries. 

LeMole Naval Architecture of Tuckahoe designed the ferries, which will be operated by Port Imperial’s NY Waterway

Work started in January when the boatyard’s crew started building keels and frames for both 400-passenger catamaran commuter ferries. “Then we stacked all the parts for hull number 91 and are just building hull 90,” said the boatyard’s John Yank. “When all the aluminum work is done, we’ll start on the second hull.”

The first ferry is scheduled for a March 2015 completion. “But we hope to complete it in January,” said Bette Jean Yank. The second ferry is scheduled for a March 2016 launch.

Both ferries will operate on the 30-minute commute run between Belford, N.J., and New York and will replace two ferries that are currently hauling passengers on that run. The major difference between the new ferries and the old ones is that the Yank Marine-built ferries will have a traditional shaft and prop arrangement, whereas the older boats are powered with waterjets.  

“Most of the other [NY Waterway] ferries are jets. They wanted less maintenance and more fuel efficiency” for the new boats, said Bette Jean Yank.

The ferries will be powered by a pair of 2,250-hp Caterpillar 3512C diesels matched up with ZF 3600 gears, said Aaron Duffy, project manager for the building project. The design was tank-tested at 29 knots, though the cruising speed should be 27 knots. 

Seating on the two ferries will be on both decks, with a capacity of 350 people with standing room for 50. It’s a commuter run, so accommodations are sparse but will include a food service area and four bathrooms. 

It’s probably not surprising that Yank Marine landed the contract to build the ferries, since the boatyard has a good track record with NY Waterway. That includes repowering 10 ferries and installing 10 DOC exhaust systems to reduce emissions. “We’ve done a lot of repair work for them,” noted Bette Jean Yank. 

The two ferries are the largest boats built at Yank Marine since 2005 when the 150' dinner-cruise boat Atlantis, which runs out of Brooklyn, N.Y., was delivered. So far, 20 additional people have been hired to build the two ferries.  — Michael Crowley