VESSEL REVIEW | Eagle II – Sleek new double-ended Ro-Pax ferry for luxury resort island in Florida

VESSEL REVIEW | Eagle II – Sleek new double-ended Ro-Pax ferry for luxury resort island in Florida

St. John's Ship Building recently delivered a new ferry to the Fisher Island Community Association in Florida. Eagle II is operating within the Government Cut between the MacArthur Causeway and Fisher Island, a private island that is the location of the exclusive Fisher Island Club.

As there are no bridges or causeways connecting the Fisher Island Club to the mainland, the island is only accessible by yacht or the private, 24-hour passenger/vehicle ferry service, which departs from Terminal Island Road. To board the ferry, hotel guests are required to pre-arrange security clearance.

Designed by the Elliott Bay Design Group (EBDG), Eagle II has a higher level of outfitting than a typical ferry, which befits her status as a luxury transport. From underlit lounge seating to composite wood decks to yacht-inspired passenger rails, the fit and finish of the vessel is a step above what is typically seen on similar vessels.

The new vessel will allow for greater throughput of passenger traffic, but it will also allow the owner to service the "back-of-house" commercial traffic of the club with its ferry fleet. Presently this traffic is served by a tug and barge operation.

<em>The Fisher Island Club. Photo: Fisher Island Club</em>
The Fisher Island Club. Photo: Fisher Island Club

The Fisher Island ferry system operates at such a high cadence the only reasonable way to increase the system capacity was to increase the vessel capacity. The difficulty was that the size of the existing berths only allowed EBDG to increase the vessel's length, and by only so much. Like most vessel designs, it was a matter of maximising functionality within a limited set of constraints.

"The Fisher Island management has a strong focus on maintaining a high standard of vessel visual appearance and performance," EBDG told Baird Maritime. "There are a lot of small details we incorporated to achieve this that carry over to many different vessel types. For instance, the guard strake creates a drip edge to prevent water run-off from streaking the sides of the hull and we used sun control film on the windows to reduce the HVAC loads due to solar heat loads."

The 150-passenger Eagle II measures in at 152 feet (46.3 metres) in length, with a beam of 52 feet (16 metres) and draught of eight feet (2.4 metres), for a displacement of 480 tons and deadweight of 180 tons.

She is powered by a pair of Caterpillar C18 engines, each of 600 horsepower (450 kilowatts), at 1,800 rpm, coupled to Hundested CPG 38 gearboxes. The propulsion system is a mechanical system with controllable-pitch propellers (CPP), also from Hundested. EBDG chose a CPP to smooth out the engine loading during manoeuvring operations, which the vessel performs dozens of times a day on its short, technical route.

With this setup, cruising speed is a leisurely eight knots, with a ten-knot maximum. Eagle II is equipped with a Jastram steering system, and carries 9,800 gallons (37 cubic metres) of fuel.

Eagle II
Type of vessel:Passenger/vehicle ferry
Classification:USCG Subchapter T
Port of registry:Fisher Island, USA
Owner:Fisher Island Community Association, USA
OperatorFisher Island Community Association, USA
Designer:Elliott Bay Design Group, USA
CAD software:AutoCAD; Rhino
Builder:St. John's Shipbuilding, USA
Hull construction material:Steel
Superstructure construction material:Aluminum
Deck construction material:Steel
Length overall:152′ (46.3 metres)
Length waterline:141′ 4" (43 metres)
Length bp:131′ 9" (402 metres)
Beam:52′ (16 metres)
Draught:8′ (2.4 metres) DLWL
Depth:12′ (3.7 metres)
Displacement:480 LT
Deadweight tonnage:180 LT
Gross tonnage:< 100 LT
Capacity:30 cars
Main engines:2 x Caterpillar C18, Tier III, 600 hp (450 kW) @ 1,800 rpm
Gearboxs:2 x Hundested CPG 38
Propulsion:2 x Hundested CPP, 4-blade
Auxiliary engines:2 x Caterpillar C4.4
Generators:2 x Caterpillar C4.4, 99kW, 208 Vac, 60Hz
Steering system:Jastram
Maximum speed:10 knots
Cruising speed:8 knots
Batteries:NorthStar NSB-AGM
Electronics supplied by:Simrad
Radio/s:2 xVHF, Horizon Quantum GX5500X
Lighting:Phoenix HLD-LED; Pauluhn Dll-14; Phoenix Cube Lights
Type of fuel:LSMDO
Fuel capacity:9,800 gallons (137 m3) @ 98%

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