Bermuda's Department of Marine and Port Services has awarded a contract to Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corp., for a new 52' Chesapeake-class pilot boat.

The launch will be built to Lloyd’s Register class. Delivery is scheduled for early 2023. The Somerset, Mass., shipyard built a 61’ pilot/rescue vessel for the port service in 2011.

With a deep-V hull designed by Ray Hunt Design, the new all-aluminum pilot boat measures 52.11’ overall, with a 15.10’ beam and a 4.8’ draft. Powered by twin Caterpillar C-18 diesel engines, each producing 670 Bhp at 2100 rpm, the vessel’s top speed is expected to reach 22 knots.

The engines will turn a pair of 5-bladed Brunton nibral propellers via ZF 500-1-A gear boxes. The launch will be equipped with a 9-kW Northern Lights genset.

The vessel’s wheelhouse is set aft of amidship on a flush deck. With forward-leaning front windows, the wheelhouse, with a center helm, is outfitted with four Norsap shock-mitigating reclining seats, a baggage rack, settee and cabinetry. The forecastle will include an enclosed head and a split settee/berth with storage below for safety gear.             

The vessel’s interior is cooled by two 16,000-Btu reverse-cycle Marine-Air air conditioning units.

Outside, a ladder on the back of the wheelhouse provides access to the roof. A Harken TR-31 safety rail track system will be installed on the wheelhouse handrail. A boarding ladder and a set of recessed steps at the transom will assist in pilot rescue operations.