The Seastreak Commodore, at 600 passengers the highest capacity Subchapter K fast passenger ferry ever built in the U.S., was welcomed into service this week.

Delivered by Gulf Craft, Franklin, La., on May 8, the Incat Crowther-designed 150’x40’ catamaran exceeded performance expectations during sea trials, hitting top speeds better than 39 knots. The new ferry made its way up the East Coast and underwent Coast Guard evaluations before a christening in Atlantic Highlands, N.J., on Wednesday.

The Seastreak Commodore cabin. Seastreak photo.

The Seastreak Commodore cabin. Seastreak photo.

The Commodore has seating for 500 on two main decks with panoramic views, and additional open air seating behind the pilothouse on the third deck. Passenger accommodations include a full service bar with snacks and seven restrooms.

Seastreak’s efforts to provide a yacht-like feel to the cabin include blue seat coverings and faux-hardwood pattern carpet. The spaces are lit by energy-saving onboard and tri-color exterior LED lighting by Imtra, including handrail-mounted stairwell lights, and interior units that are recessed and dimmable.

The climate control system uses the Daikin VRV IV heat pump system, with infrared sensors on each deck, to help fine-tune temperatures throughout the vessel. Along with the saloon-style bar, passengers have flatscreen TVs, wifi, and multiple dedicated charging stations. Up in the wheelhouse, bridge navigation equipment by Furuno USA include two 32″ x-band high speed radars, FLIR night vision technology, and the Furuno ECDIS chart plotting system.

Propulsion comes from four MTU Tier 3 12V4000M64 diesel engines, together producing 7,274 hp, driving four Rolls Royce S63 waterjets. It is the largest and fastest vessel in the Seastreak fleet.

Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.