Delta Launch Services, the operating company for the Associated Branch pilots on the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River, has ordered a new 52.6’x16.11′ all-aluminum pilot boat from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corp. Delivery of the new vessel, scheduled for 2018, is the fifth St. John’s Class launch built for the Delta pilots by the Somerset, Mass. shipyard.
The new pilot boat will feature the C. Raymond Hunt-designed deep V hull and will be powered by twin Caterpillar C-18 EPA Tier 3 diesel engines, each delivering 671 hp at 2,100 rpm. “Quickshift” gears will turn five-bladed Bruton bronze propellers. The propulsion package will give the new boat a top speed of 24 knots. The launch will be equipped with a 12kW Northern Lights genset.
The wheelhouse, with a small trunk, will be flush-mounted to the deck amidships. Aft of its helm station will be six Llebroc pilot seats. The forecastle will be equipped with enclosed marine head, settee and three berths. The wheelhouse and forecastle will be heated and cooled by three reverse-cycle air-conditioning units, totaling 40,000 Btu’s.
Outside of the wheelhouse will be wide side decks, a rear door and side doors, and a boarding platform on the roof. At the transom will be a winch-operated, rotating davit over a recessed platform for rescue operations.
The new launch will be USCG subchapter T-certified to carry 12 passengers for hire.