Flugga Boats, located in the remote Shetland Islands, to the north of Scotland, may seem like an unlikely source of very innovative boat design and construction.
However, they have come up with something incredibly innovative and practical for the local branch of the very large Norwegian fish farmer Grieg Group.
Unusually, but very practically, they have combined aluminium and HDPE in RIB-like workboats that are ultra-modern in every respect. Their hulls are aluminium and their collars are of soft and forgiving, but very tough, high-density polyethylene.
Apart from their design and construction advances, they are powered by twin diesel outboard motors. They are smart, fast, warm, strong, safe, comfortable and very practical.
“The workboats we built for Grieg Seafood all use our patented polyethylene collar and aluminium hulls,” Flugga Boats told Baird Maritime. “This makes for a very durable boat that requires very minimal maintenance, is not affected by UV, and is very tough in workboat environments. Couple this with the OXE diesel outboard for superb economy and the ability to run a cabin heater off the engine make these very nice boats to operate in Shetland’s climate.”
Flugga Boats added that the newbuilds are capable of maximum speeds in excess of 30 knots and a cruising seed of 25 knots, making them even lighter on fuel.
“The construction of the Grieg workboats was done in compliance to the current regulations outlined in the Workboat 2 publication by the MCA. These govern all workboats in the UK, as well as construction, manning, etc. The creation of a level playing field for all builders is welcome as far as we are concerned. Designs have to be approved, even new builds of existing designs.”
Flugga Boats saw the recent introduction of updated MCA regulations as a piece of good news that meant that 2020 was still good for business despite it being “a weird year” due to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We were very lucky that we had a significant order,” Flugga commented, “and so were able to ‘self isolate’ in the workshop and beaver away. Even so, pressure was on to complete the builds on time as an extra two boats were added to the original order, but we did meet the completion date.”
The builder added that resulting boats have been very well received and more orders for them are expected.
“The main issue now is getting the customers to see the boats with the meeting restrictions that are in place.”
Flugga Boats’ optimism about the prospect of additional orders is due to the company’s belief that future operators are gradually leaning towards certain trends and advances that translate to reduced environmental impact, even in the manufacture of the vessels themselves.
“Environmental considerations are high on the agenda at the moment,” Flugga Boats told Baird Maritime. “We have a wind turbine that powers our workshop and this is a feature that we find helps us. Couple this to the use of the diesel outboards with the very low emissions and the fact that our hulls can last over 20 years means they are a good deal for any farm.
“Still, there remains a challenge. Electric drives are getting close to being viable, but not without some form of subsidy for the industry at the moment. Some countries have subsidy of over 50 per cent of build cost, which we could live with if it was available here. We have designs drawn up already, but don’t anticipate any orders for these for the next few years unfortunately.”
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