The first two 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 two 88', 149-passenger high speed aluminum catamaran vessels Potomac Taxi I and Potomac Taxi II departed Metal Shark’s Franklin, La., shipyard in mid-September. The water taxis plyed the Gulf of Mexico coastline and crossed Florida via Lake Okeechobee before proceeding northward up the Atlantic coast to Washington, D.C.
Powered by twin Scania DI13 081M engines delivering 500 hp at 1,800 rpm each, the Subchapter T vessels were designed by BMT Designers & Planners and BMT Nigel Gee. The boats feature an environmentally friendly low wake/low wash hull design.
Both vessels began operations on Oct. 12 with runs from the Georgetown area of D.C. and Alexandria, Va., to The Wharf in D.C. for a grand opening ceremony.
The new vessels will 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 the 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.”
Metal Shark began construction on the vessels in March and completed them in six months.