The Association of Maryland Pilots took delivery recently of its fourth Chesapeake class launch from Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corp.

Since the Chesapeake-class pilot boat was introduced by the Somerset, Mass., shipyard in 2003, 22 have been delivered to 12 pilot associations throughout the U.S.

With a deep-V hull designed by Ray Hunt Design and a 4.8' draft, the new all-aluminum launch measures 52.6'x16.8'. Powered by twin Volvo Penta D16, EPA Tier 3-certified diesel engines, each producing 641 hp at 1,800 rpm, the vessel’s top speed is over 26 knots. The engines turn 5-bladed Bruntons nibral propellers via ZF 500-1-A gear boxes. A Humphree interceptor trim control system with its automatic trim optimization is installed at the transom. The launch is equipped with a 12-kW Northern Lights genset and 100% LED lighting.

The vessel’s wheelhouse, with a small trunk, is installed amidships on a flush deck. With electrically heated forward-leaning front windows, the wheelhouse is equipped with five NorSap shock-mitigating reclining seats, a baggage rack and control console. The forecastle includes a Porta-Potty, split upholstered settee/bunk, lockers for tools and safety gear and a custom immersion suit rack. The vessel’s interior is 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 the wheelhouse are heated side-decks and handrails to prevent ice accumulation. An aft ladder leads to hinged boarding platforms on the roof. A control station is at the transom, along with a hydraulically powered J-Basket rescue system, for pilot rescue operations.