VESSEL REVIEW | Ocean Legacy – Whale-watching and research support catamaran for Maui-based NGO

Photo: Pacific Whale Foundation

La Conner, Washington-based boat builder Mavrik Marine recently delivered a sightseeing catamaran ordered by the Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF), a marine research NGO headquartered in Maui, Hawaii. Designed by Australia’s One2Three Naval Architects, the vessel will be operated by PacWhale Eco-Adventures, a social marine tourism enterprise owned by the PWF.

Ocean Legacy was built to accommodate the variety of cruises and excursions that we offer,” Blake Moore, PacWhale Eco-Adventures Chief Operating Officer, told Baird Maritime. “PacWhale also employs its fleet of eight vessels to help fund PWF’s research, education and conservation programs in advancing the organisation’s mission to protect the ocean through science and advocacy and inspire environmental stewardship.”

Photo: Pacific Whale Foundation

Moore said additional requirements included ensuring that the vessel incorporated the most recent technological advances in sustainability with minimal to zero waste in all areas of operation coupled with critical attention paid to providing optimum visibility for both passengers and crew.

Structurally similar to PacWhale’s earlier vessel Ocean Guardian, Ocean Legacy is 65 feet (19.8 metres) long and 26.5 feet (eight metres) wide. Power is provided by MAN EPA Tier III-compliant engines, and two “wing” or remote helm stations are also fitted to facilitate safe, precise manoeuvring within the small harbour of Maui County.

Photo: Pacific Whale Foundation

“Other eco-friendly additions include solar-charged house batteries, minimising the power needed from petroleum-generated sources that run the vessel’s sound system, lighting, appliances and other shipboard systems,” added Moore. “There are also dedicated tanks that capture ‘grey water’ from onboard sinks and dishwashers (thereby eliminating the commercially accepted practice of dumping chemical-tainted used water into the ocean); LED lighting throughout to reduce power needed from petroleum-driven sources; convenient cup holders to keep reusable cups secured until placed into an onboard dishwasher; and ADA-compliant boarding and head access to accommodate passengers with limited mobility.”

To facilitate maximum comfort, Ocean Legacy is outfitted with custom windows and strategically placed “cut outs” around the foredeck stadium seating for maximum visibility, complimentary USB charging stations in the main cabin, cushioned benches, removable tables to accommodate various space configurations for private charters, a state-of-the-art sound system and two television screens offering an educational platform for onboard certified marine naturalists, and spacious lounge areas for relaxation and social interaction.

Photo: Pacific Whale Foundation

“A specially designed science station, powered in part by solar panels that feed house batteries, provides a dedicated work area for onboard science that integrates seamlessly into ongoing tours without impacting the guest experience,” added Moore.

Strategically placed pan, tilt and zoom (PTZ) cameras ensure passenger comfort and safety throughout every voyage. The interior cabin may even be reconfigured into an event centre with a full-service bar and mood lighting. The deck seating is removable and offers maximum flexibility to accommodate a range of private or group charters, live entertainment, and other private events.

Photo: Pacific Whale Foundation

The vessel operates out of Lahaina Harbor on Maui’s west side and offers a variety of daily (weather permitting) tour options, the majority of which feature narration by onboard certified marine naturalists who inform on marine environments/wildlife and ongoing conservation efforts while responding to guests’ questions. The vessel was also built to support the application of whale and dolphin tracking software used on excursions to collect important scientific data used by PWF researchers.

Ocean Legacy was meticulously designed with innovative features that support PacWhale’s and PWF’s commitment to sustainability and enhanced guest experience, serving as a blueprint for future PacWhale vessel builds,” Moore told Baird Maritime. “It is also the only commercial tour boat on Maui that currently offers ADA-compliant boarding and head access, ensuring convenience for guests with mobility issues.”

Click here to read other news stories, features, opinion articles, and vessel reviews as part of this month’s Passenger Vessel Week.

Ocean Legacy
Type of vessel:Sightseeing and research vessel
Owner:Pacific Whale Foundation, USA
Operator:PacWhale Eco-Adventures, USA
Designer:One2Three Naval Architects, Australia
Builder:Mavrik Marine, USA
Length overall:65 feet (19.8 metres)
Beam:26.5 feet (8.0 metres)
Main engines:MAN
Video system:Television screens
Other equipment installed:Remote helm stations; solar panels; USB charging stations
Interior lighting:LED
Accommodation:Head; lounges; science station; main cabin bar
Operational area:Maui, Hawaii

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