The Port of Los Angeles recently awarded Vigor acontract to build two new aluminum 55'4"x16'5" pilot boats. Designed by Camarc, the new vessels will be built to handle normal to more extreme environmental conditions. The smaller pilot boat Camarc design currently used throughout Europe, Australia and South America delivers the same consistent performance as the larger boats used in the U.S. midsize market, Vigor officials said in a statement.

The 61,000-lb. displacement boats will feature a twin chine heavy weather hull form and multiple heavy fender systems facilitating safer pilot transfers in challenging weather. An articulated rescue davit will provide man overboard recovery. The overall design also maximizes the available horsepower and performance from a Tier 3 (non-catalyst) level engine.

Main propulsion will come from twin Caterpillar C-18 ACERT diesel engines, producing 803 hp at 2,100 rpm each, that meet current state CARB commercial harbor craft emission requirements. The Cats will connect to 5-bladed, fixed pitch, Nibral props through ZF 665A-1 marine gears. The engine package will give the boats a cruising speed of 24 knots and a top speed of 27 knots.

“Vigor is excited to be able to offer these pilot boats to the dedicated professionals of the LA port pilots,” said Art Parker, Vigor sales manager. “Camarc has optimized this design to incorporate the significant seakeeping and safety of the larger pilot boats. The American midsized market has needed a world-class pilot boat at an acceptable acquisition and maintenance cost. This is without a doubt a proven breakthrough design.”

Capacities will include a crew of two, 660 gals. of fuel oil and 66 gals. fresh water. Ship’s service power will come from a Northern Lights M844DW3 genset, sparking 16 kW of electrical power. In the wheelhouse will be a Furuno electronics suite.

Vigor expects to complete construction of the boats by late summer of 2020.


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.