Lake Assault Boats, a subsidiary of Capstan Corp., has been selected from a field of four competitors to build a fleet of 43 new 27’x9′ river barges for the city of San Antonio, Texas. The contract value is $6.5 million. The boats will become a component of San Antonio’s River Walk experience that connects retail stores, restaurants, office buildings, and major tourist attractions throughout the city that lie along the San Antonio River. All 43 boats will be delivered and placed into service in late 2017, in time for the city’s 2018 tricentennial celebrations.
Production began in December 2016, and the first river barge prototype will be delivered to San Antonio in early February. After a period of on-the-water testing and final evaluation, full-scale production will begin in March 2017. Large-scale deliveries will start in mid-September with 19 craft transported on a caravan of 10 semi-trucks. The remaining 23 vessels will be delivered in mid-November.
The boats are designed with care for the environment and sustainability as a top priority. Each will be powered by a Torqeedo 10 kW outboard electric motor, with power supplied by 16 lithium batteries. Recharging the batteries is an automatic process that only requires the operator to plug the boat in to shore power.
Each of the new barges will be configured and modified in a range of floor plans to support touring, dining, commuting, entertaining, and other applications. For example, curved bench seating at the bow and stern, and moveable seating and table configurations, give more options to passengers, and allow easy wheelchair access. The modular deck design will allow for different layouts of tables, chairs and even corner booths. The flat deck and fold-down ramps will enable easy entrance and exit. Programmable LED lighting will create a visual display and will identify each type of craft — yellow for taxi, red for touring, and blue for dinner cruises.
“The reconfigurable nature of these boats make them truly unique, accommodating everything from dinner boat cruises to water taxi services, and everyone, from commuters and morning yoga enthusiasts,” Chad DuMars, Lake Assault Boats’ vice president of operations, said in a statement announcing the contract. “This was truly a team effort that brought to bear the resources, support, and expertise of our entire organization, including those of Lake Assault, Fraser Shipyard, and our parent company, Capstan Corporation.”