The Delaware pilots association has ordered its third Chesapeake-class pilot boat from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corp. Delivery of the 53' vessel is scheduled for 2015 and will mark the 16th of this class built by the Somerset, Mass.-based shipyard since the class was introduced in 2002.

Designed by C. Raymond Hunt & Associates, the 52.6'x17'x4.8' all-aluminum pilot boat will have a top speed of 26 knots. It will be powered by twin Volvo Penta D16 diesel engines, each delivering 651 hp at 1,800 rpm with ZF 500-1-A gear boxes. Each engine will have a two-circuit Fernstrum keel-cooling system. The engines will turn 5-bladed nibral propellers. Volvo Penta’s EVC system will be mounted at the control stations in the wheelhouse and at the transom. 

The wheelhouse will be outfitted with five Stidd seats and a three-zone, diesel-fired Espar Hydronic 35 heater for the cabin, main deck and handrails. The forward wheelhouse windows feature ¾" electrically-heated laminated glass for de-icing. Interior sound levels are projected to be 78 dba.

At the transom will be a winch-operated rotating davit over a recessed platform for pilot rescue operation. The Delaware pilots chose an unpainted launch to reduce maintenance costs.