The Tampa Bay Pilots Association will have one of its Chesapeake-class pilot boats repowered and repaired at Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding.
The 53' Tampa was built in 2003 when the Somerset, Mass., shipyard introduced the Chesapeake class of midsize, high-speed launches. In 2015, the Tampa pilots took delivery of the shipyard’s first Chesapeake-class MKII, which incorporates Volvo Penta’s IPS 2 pod system.
With more than 50,000 operating hours, the all-aluminum pilot boat will be repowered and undergo repairs after a thorough inspection from the shipyard’s quality control department.
“After 19 years of hard work, the vessel is showing some wear and tear but she still has a lot of life left so it’s definitely worth reinvesting in,” said Peter Duclos, Gladding-Hearn’s co-president and director of sales.
Along with modifying the engine beds, hull frames, exhaust systems, cooling and fuel system piping to accommodate the new engines, the yard will replace the twin 600-hp Caterpillar 3406E engines with a pair of Cat C18, EPA Tier 3-compliant diesel engines, each delivering 670 hp at 2,100 rpm and a top speed of over 25 knots.
After installing new shafts, bearings, seals and couplings, the engines will turn new 5-bladed Bruntons propellers through Twin Disc MGX-5136A Quickshift gears.
In addition, the pilot boat will receive a new SeaStar Optimus steering system and a new Northern Lights 12-kW generator.
Other upgrades include new Norsap 1500 pilot seats, new windows, three new doors to the pilothouse and four new hatch covers. The boat’s bottom, topsides and pilothouse will be stripped to bare metal and receive a fresh coating system.