Aluminum boatbuilder Metal Shark has delivered a new 45' pilot boat to the Canaveral Pilots Association at Port Canaveral, Fla. The custom-built aluminum vessel was built at Metal Shark’s recently opened shipyard in Franklin, La.
The Canaveral Pilots specified a purpose-built pilot boat design by naval architect Bill Preston. The design utilizes the weight of a single bow-mounted diesel engine and an extremely sharp forward entry to slice levelly through waves as opposed to riding over the top of the crests and then plummeting into the troughs. Due to its enhanced stability, this proven design is used by several pilot groups operating in open ocean conditions encountered along Florida’s Atlantic Coast.
“Metal Shark did a superb job of building the 45’ Pilot Boat,” Preston said. “They took the construction drawings to the next higher level of details resulting in the best possible product. All this was confirmed in the boat trials and on the delivery trip.”
Mike Rigby, senior boat captain and director of engineering for the Canaveral Pilots, explained, “We have nearly five miles of exposure to the South Atlantic and it can get very nasty at times. While we and other pilot groups on the East Coast of Florida are already very familiar with the seakeeping abilities of this design, Metal Shark really did an outstanding job with the execution. The boat performs far beyond our expectations and easily cruises at 18 knots in three to five foot seas combining single engine economy with a comfortable big-boat ride.”
Metal Shark added its own touches to the design, such as its use of wraparound “pillarless” glass in the pilothouse to substantially reduce blind spots for greatly enhanced safety during inclement weather or nighttime operations. This is an important consideration for pilots operating around the clock.
Metal Shark’s Franklin yard is capable of producing aluminum and steel vessels up to 250' in length.