Visitors to the Windy City will have a new ride for touring the waterfront when Blount Boats Inc., Warren, R.I. delivers a 100’x35’ steel passenger ferry boat for Shoreline Sightseeing Co., Chicago, Ill.

Designed by Seacraft Design LLC, Sturgeon Bay, Wisc., the proposed 300-plus passenger will be certified under Coast Guard subchapter K to operate as an architectural tour boat in partially protected waters.

Power will come from twin Volvo D13 MH, 400hp diesels with twin 65 kW John Deere generators, ZF W325 gearboxes with a 2.933:1 ratio, and 44” diameter, 4-blade propellers, for a top speed of 11 knots. Delivery is slated for spring 2016.

Draft amidships will range from 3’8” for a light ship and 4’3” fully loaded. For fitting under bridges, air draft will range from 14’2” to 14’9”. The vessel will carry 1,800 gals. of fuel and 1,500 gals. each of potable water and waste water.

This will be the second vessel built for Shoreline Sightseeing by Blount, which in 1999 delivered the 64.8’x22’x7.7’ Star of Chicago, modeled on the “bateaux mouches” of Paris, open excursion boats that carry visitors along the river Seine.

“That was one of the 64’ T-boats that we built so many of,” said Blount vice president Julie Blount. The new design “is more like a self-propelled barge,” she said.

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 4.06.46 PMA rendering of the new vessel Blount will build for Shoreline Sightseeing. Image courtesy Blount Boats.

Narrated architectural tours, describing the city’s buildings and history for visitors, are a specialty of Shoreline Sightseeing, which recently marked its 75th anniversary. The company operates 19 tour boats and water taxis along the Chicago waterfront.