Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corp., Somerset, Mass., will build another 52.6'x16.11' pilot boat for 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 will be the sixth St. John’s-class launch built by Gladding-Hearn for Delta Launch Services.

The new launch will be a sistership to the Assistant, delivered in 2018.

With a draft of 4.8', the new all-aluminum launch features the C. Raymond Hunt-designed deep V hull. It will be powered by twin Caterpillar C-18 EPA Tier 4 diesel engines, each delivering 671 hp at 2,100 rpm and have a top speed of 24 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 will be six Llebroc pilot seats. The forecastle will be equipped with enclosed marine head, settee and three berths. The wheelhouse and forecastle will be heated and cooled by three reverse-cycle Marine Air Vector air-conditioning units, totaling 40,000 Btu.

The 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 on the Assistant 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 Subchapter T launch will have room for 12 passengers and accommodations for a crew of two.