The Seaway Pilots Inc., Cape Vincent, N.Y., has ordered a Chesapeake-class pilot boat from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corp., Somerset, Mass. Delivery of the new 53.6'x17.8' launch is scheduled for early 2020. The Seaway Pilots navigate ships in and out of the ports and harbors of the St. Lawrence Seaway between St. Regis, N.Y., and Port Weller on Lake Ontario.

With a draft of 4.8’, the all-aluminum pilot boat features the Ray Hunt Design deep-V hull. It will be powered by twin Volvo Penta D16 Tier 3-compliant diesel engines, each delivering 641 hp at 1,800 rpm. That will give the boast a top speed of 25 knots. The engines will turn 5-bladed nibral propellers via ZF 500-1-A gear boxes. The launch will be equipped with a 12-kW Northern Lights Tier 3-compliant genset.

A Humphree interceptor trim-tab control system with automatic trim optimization will be installed at the transom. Diesel capacity is 800 gals., which shipyard officials say, will provide a range of at least 300 miles at an economical speed of about 20 knots.

The wheelhouse, flush-mounted to the deck amidships, features a center-line helm station, heated forward, side and roof windows, five Llebroc seats, and a settee. It is heated by a 32,000-Btu air-conditioning system. The decks, handrails and cabin are heated by a 100,000 Btu diesel fire hydronic heating system, augmented by main engine waste heat.

Outside of the wheelhouse are wide side decks, side and rear doors, and boarding platforms on the roof. At the transom are throttle and steering controls, and a winch-operated, fixed davit over a recessed platform for rescue operations.


Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.