Louisiana-based shipbuilder Metal Shark has set its sights on the pilot boat market with a range of custom-configurable pilot offerings and two new pilot boats currently under construction.
Metal Shark is currently building a 45' Defiant pilot boat for the Virgin Islands Port Authority at its Jeanerette, La., production facility. At its 25-acre shipyard in nearby Franklin, La., Metal Shark is building a 64' Defiant pilot boat for the Brazos Pilots Association of Freeport, Texas.
The next-generation pilot boats were designed by Metal Shark’s in-house design team and combine proven running surfaces with modern, crew-friendly, pilot-focused features including flush decks, pilot boarding platforms, and multiple fendering options. In addition to the 45' and 64' models now in production, a 55' Defiant pilot boat is also available.
The new vessels are immediately identifiable due to Metal Shark’s signature “Pillarless Glass,” pilothouses, which offer greatly improved visibility by drastically reducing blind spots — a key concern for pilots who operate around the clock. The forward-raked, automotive-style frameless glass allows for nearly unimpeded view from the vessels’ elevated helm stations.
Defiant-class pilot boats may be completely custom configured, from the type and location of platforms and rails, to various propulsion types and fendering systems, in order to fully address the unique challenges and demands of each pilot group’s operating environment.
“We looked at all of our options nationally and visited several boatbuilders along the Gulf Coast,” Capt. Daniel Blanton, president of the Brazos Pilots Association, said in a Metal Shark press release. “We chose Metal Shark because of their state of the art facilities and their ability to customize and build to our specifications at a competitive cost.”
“Metal Shark has built and delivered over 500 boats in the past three years alone,” company vice president of commercial sales, Carl Wegener, said in a statement announcing the pilot boat contracts. “We have an enviable track record of on-time, high quality deliveries to our military, government, and passenger vessel customers, with proven reliability in the harshest environments to be found. Today we’re bringing Metal Shark’s military-honed quality to pilots, too.”
Both new Metal Shark pilot boats will be delivered in 2018.
Established in 1986, Gravois Aluminum Boats LLC, and its government/commercial boat entity Metal Shark Boats are leading suppliers of custom boats for defense, law enforcement, and commercial entities. Key customers include the U.S. Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, Army, foreign militaries, law enforcement agencies, passenger vessel operators, pilot associations, fire departments, and other operators worldwide. Under the direction of its owner/operator Allard and Gravois families, Metal Shark has produced over 500 vessels in the past three years at its two fully self-contained South Louisiana production facilities. Metal Shark produces a wide range of custom monohull and catamaran vessels up to 250'.