The Board of Harbor Commissioners for Portland Harbor in Portland, Maine is seeking proposals for the design, construction, and delivery of a new harbormaster boat. 

The Harbormaster regulates the navigation and commerce on the waters of Portland Harbor. The area of jurisdiction includes the waterfronts of South Portland and Portland (combined population 95,990), including Portland’s many island neighborhoods throughout lower Casco Bay. 

Portland Harbor conditions can include strong winds, rough seas, dense fog, ice, and sub-zero temperatures. The new Harbormaster vessel must be able to withstand such conditions year-round in nearshore and open water environments. The boat must be capable of safely pulling alongside small and large boats and paddle craft for boarding, towing boats, timbers, entire trees and other objects, retrieving persons and objects from the water, transporting public safety personnel to on-water and island emergencies, deploying and retrieving divers, and maneuvering in crowded mooring fields, slipways, marine events, and shallow areas. 

Portland Harbor is the eastern seaboard’s northernmost ice-free commercial port and northern New England’s largest port. Due to the complex and layered responsibilities associated with ensuring public safety in the most active port in northern New England, the new vessel must be equipped with an advanced electronics package, to include radar, side scan and 3D sonar, pan-tilt-zoom camera and radiation detection, as well as a full marine law enforcement package: LED light bar, flood lights, whistle/siren, two VHF radios, and GPS/depth finder screens.

Shipyards interested in the submitting proposals are encouraged to visit for more details. Bid proposals are due ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­April 30, 2024 by 5:00 p.m. EST.

The Harbormaster staff patrols area waters and shores daily, and participates in coordinated emergency training and response with multiple agencies, including the United States Coast Guard – Sector Northern New England, the Police Dive Team, Maine Marine Patrol, Portland and South Portland Fire and Police Departments, Maine State Police, and others. 

The Harbormaster is included in the Emergency Management Plans of eleven facilities around the harbor, including container, bulk petroleum and cargo facilities, a power plant, ferry (1m passengers + 35,000 vehicles/year) and cruise ship (150,000 passengers/year) terminals, the Portland International Jetport (just under 2m passengers/year), and a large bascule bridge. With no municipal water-based law enforcement, the Harbormaster is the only agency whose sole focus is daily patrols of Portland Harbor. With an extensive working waterfront that includes not only boat and ship traffic, but also a vibrant mix of commercial operations and recreational destinations on the wharves and piers, we frequently respond to emergency situations. 


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