Damen Shipyards, Gorinchem, Netherlands, recently demonstrated its next generation composite Water Bus, the 2407, to an invited international audience. Built from FRP (fibre reinforced polymer) the new class is designed to give operators reduced fuel consumption, less maintenance, no corrosion or fatigue problems, and a durable structure. Passengers will enjoy journeys at speeds of up to 21 knots that are safe, quiet and with minimal vibration. The Water Bus design is available in versions from 16-24 metres (50'6"-79'), capable of carrying from 20 to 120 passengers.

Designed as a slender catamaran, the Water Bus series is built for regular, intensive commuting operations on busy waterways. Its high manoeuvrability via a simple joystick control is designed to bring added safety on congested waterways and the twin hulls produce extremely low volumes of wash, boosting fuel efficiency and minimising its impact on other vessels. Passengers benefit from a spacious boarding platform and can enjoy unimpeded, panoramic views of their surroundings.

The vessel can be easily adapted to specific customer requirements and a wide range of configurations are available, from commuting and shuttle to sightseeing and dinner cruising. The high-quality vacuum infusion build process is both fast to execute and exceptionally strong. Power is provided by twin, forward facing, double-screw podded propulsion units with underwater exhausts to further cut down on noise and vibration.

As part of the event, guests were invited to experience the Water Bus and its features firsthand with a short trip on the Boven-Merwede waterway. Riders pointed out that the high maneuverability, the comfortable seating, the high standard of the interior and how quiet it was when underway, Damen officials said. IThe boat’s modular construction, which allows the midsection to be of varying lengths, was also much commented on.

The Water Bus series will be built at Damen’s specialist composite facility at Damen Shipyards Antalya, Turkey, with fast delivery times possible due to the construction methods and materials.

“The seasonal impact on demand for passenger transport by water is well known, and with the summer ahead of us our first Water Bus 2407 is already getting plenty of interest,” Jelle Meindertsma, Damen sales manager, Benelux, said in a prepared statement. “Meanwhile a second unit is under construction in Antalya.”