In December 2018, Kitsap Transit, Bremerton, Wash, ordered two new 140'x37'x12', 250-passenger aluminum vessels from Nichols Brothers Boat Builders (NBBB). These vessels, which will have room for 26 bicycles, will provide expedient commuter services to downtown Seattle from both Kingston, Wash., and a planned Southworth, Wash., route.

Mackay Marine was selected to be a part of the team to provide marine electronics systems, technologies, and expertise. Mackay Marine photo

Mackay Marine was selected to be a part of the team to provide marine electronics systems, technologies, and expertise.

The bow-loading fast ferries, built by Nichols at its Whidbey Island, Wash., shipyard, are state-of-the-art, low-wake, high-speed vessels. The Enetai was delivered in September. Its sister vessel, Commander, is slated for delivery in March 2021.

The catamarans were designed by BMT to optimize loading and unloading of passengers as well as in-route time. The vessels can load passengers and bikes through a two-station loading area on the sides, or alternatively through divided passenger/bike lanes from the bow. The ferries will have a maximum speed of 37 knots and cruise speed of 35 knots at full load.

The new boats will be among the first vessels to feature a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) exhaust aftertreatment system powered by two MTU Tier 4 16V400M65L main engines each putting out 3,435 hp at 1,800 rpm, through ZF 9050 gears, turning Kamewa S71-4 waterjets, reaching 35 knots at full load. Additionally, an active ride control is being installed, supplied by Naiad; the interceptor system is designed to ensure a smooth, comfortable ride.

Mackay Marine equipped Enetai and Commander with fully integrated navigation and communications packages, facilitated by their diverse and longstanding global vendor partnerships.

The primary navigation suite seamlessly incorporates electronics from Furuno USA and Navico (Simrad). The bridge is comprised of dual sets of next generation Furuno FAR2218BB X-Band radars and the Navico NSSevo-3 chart plotter system with built-in sounder. A Navico GC85 Gyrocompass, designed for fast ferry operation, integrates heading and position data, alongside a Navico P3007 Satellite / GPS compass for full redundancy.

Multiple vessel identification and camera systems are designed to ensure enhanced security and safety, particularly critical in heavily trafficked waterways. Systems onboard include:

  • Furuno FA170 automatic identification system (AIS) provides local visual target detail to both radar and chartplotter.
  • An Axis Communications Q3515-LVE IP-based HD CCTV camera system with image stabilization, combined with multiple outdoor and overwatch cameras via the Axis NVR; transfers imagery to the Furuno MU190 19” monitor at the vessel’s conning position.
  • The FLIR M617CS stabilized thermal/visible camera enables infrared (IR) viewing of external video traffic during daily transits around Puget Sound. A Furuno 200WX weather system offers real-time weather updates.
  • The communications portfolio also blends equipment from multiple Mackay partners. Each vessel is outfitted with Zenitel’s Phontech ETB series docking station and SPA series PA (public address) system for docking and passenger notifications. A Wireless GSM MOFI – 4500, 4G/LTE wireless router, enhances cellular coverage while transiting the Salish Sea.
  • Additional communications include a Cobham SAILOR series 6222 Class A DSC VHF radio; two Standard Horizon Quantum GX6000 fixed-mount VHF radios for multi-channel monitoring of local maritime traffic, together with Kahlenberg’s KB-30A electronic horn/hailer to alert nearby vessels.

Both catamarans are outfitted with productivity and safety-enhanced electronics enabling Kitsap Transit to efficiently expand its routes within the Puget Sound region, Mackay officials said.