Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corp., Somerset, Mass., has delivered the 52.6'x16.11' pilot boat Assistant to Delta Launch Services LLC, the Metairie, La.-based operating company for the Associated Branch Pilots. The pilots operate in the Southwest Pass on the Lower Mississippi River. The new boat is the fifth St. John’s-class launch built by Gladding-Hearn for Delta Launch Services.

With a draft of 4.8', the new all-aluminum launch, a sistership to the Mississippi Delta, delivered in 2013, features the C. Raymond Hunt-designed deep V hull. It is powered by twin Caterpillar C-18 EPA Tier 4 diesel engines, each delivering 671 hp at 2,100 rpm and a top speed of 26 knots. The engines turn a pair of 5-bladed Brunton’s NiBrAl propellers through Twin Disc QuickShift MGX-5136A gears, with reduction ratios of 2:1. The launch is equipped with a 12-kW Northern Lights genset.

The wheelhouse, with a small trunk, is flush-mounted to the deck amidships. Aft of its helm station are six Llebroc pilot seats. The forecastle is equipped with enclosed marine head, settee and three berths. The wheelhouse and forecastle is heated and cooled by three reverse-cycle Marine Air Vector air-conditioning units, totaling 40,000 Btu.

Assistant has a Twin Disc EC-300 electronic controls system and a SeaStar/Hynautic hydraulic steering system in the wheelhouse.

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

Capacities include 645 gals. of fuel and 25 gals. potable water. The electronics suite consists of Furuno 8125 radar with 12" monitors, NX12A/4-foot open antenna array and DT800MSF depth/temp through hull transducer; two Standard Marine GX5500, Richie 5" compass; and Garmin GPSMAP-541.

The new launch, which has room for 12 passengers and accommodations for a crew of two, is Subchapter T-certified and was delivered Aug. 18.

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.