The Association of Maryland Pilots has ordered its fourth Chesapeake-class launch from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corp. Delivery is scheduled for December 2020.

Since the Chesapeake-class pilot boat was introduced by the Somerset, Mass., shipyard in 2003, 21 have been delivered to 11 pilot associations throughout the U.S.

With a deep-V hull designed by Ray Hunt Design, the new all-aluminum launch will measure 52.6'x16.8', with a 4.8' draft. Powered by twin Volvo Penta D16, Tier 3-certified diesel engines, each producing 641 hp at 1,800 rpm, the vessel’s top speed is expected to reach over 25 knots. A Humphree interceptor trim control system, with its automatic trim optimization, will be installed at the transom.

The engines will turn 5-bladed Bruntons nibral propellers via ZF500-1-A gear boxes. The launch will be equipped with a 12-kW Northern Lights genset.

The vessel’s wheelhouse, with a small trunk, is being installed amidships on a flush deck. With forward-leaning front windows, the wheelhouse will be outfitted with five NorSap shock-mitigating reclining seats, baggage racks and built-in furniture and cabinetry. The forecastle will include a porta-potty, split upholstered settee/bunk, a tool box and lockers for immersion suits and other safety gear. The vessel’s interior will be heated and cooled by two 16,000-Btu reverse-cycle HVAC units, in addition to a 2,000 watt 240 VAC heater in the wheelhouse and in the forecastle.

Outside of the wheelhouse are heated side-decks and handrails to prevent ice accumulation. Ladders on the sides of the wheelhouse lead to hinged boarding platforms on the roof. A control station is at the transom, along with a powered rescue system, for pilot rescue operations.