Four passenger vessels built by Louisiana-based shipbuilder Metal Shark for Entertainment Cruises’ Potomac Riverboat Co. have been delivered to Washington, D.C., and are now in service.

The BMT designed 88', 149-passenger high speed aluminum catamaran vessels Potomac Taxi I, Potomac Taxi II, Potomac Taxi III, and Potomac Taxi IV departed Metal Shark’s Franklin, La., shipyard and plied the Gulf of Mexico coastline and crossed Florida via Lake Okeechobee before proceeding northward up the Atlantic coast to Washington, D.C.

Main propulsion comes from twin Scania DI13 081M engines delivering 500 hp at 1,800 rpm each. The mains are connected to Michigan Wheel 31.5"x33.5", 5-bladed nibral propellers through Twin Disc MGXZ-5114 marine gears with 1.74:1 reduction ratios. The propulsion package gives the water taxis a running speed of 24 knots. Ship’s service power comes from two Cummins Onan 29QD-MDKDS gensets.

The USCG certified, Subchapter T, vessels feature an environmentally friendly low wake/low wash hull design, controls by Jastram, a Raymarine electronics suite and capacities that include 950 gals. of fuel and 100 gals. water.

The new passenger vessels were designed to provide commuters in the D.C. metro region with service between Old Town Alexandria; National Harbor, Md.; and Georgetown and The Wharf. Potomac Riverboat’s parent Entertainment Cruises is the largest dining and sightseeing cruise company in the U.S., with a fleet of 30 vessels that operate in over a dozen major U.S. cities, according to a Metal Shark release.

“From the start, the Metal Shark team has been professional, organized, diligent and skilled,” Entertainment Cruises CEO Kenneth Svendsen said in a prepared statement. “We have been pleased with the workmanship and attention to detail by all involved. Above all else, we can tell Metal Shark has a commitment to process and to doing things the right way.”

“It has been an honor as well as a great pleasure to build these boats for Potomac Riverboat Company and Entertainment Cruises,” said Chris Allard, CEO of Metal Shark. “They have been incredible to work with, and we look forward to supporting them with additional on-time deliveries in 2018.”



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.