VESSEL REVIEW | St George – Fast pilot/rescue boat for Bermuda waters

Photo: Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding

The Department of Marine and Ports Services (DMPS), an agency of the Government of Bermuda, recently took delivery of a new pilot boat built by Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding in Massachusetts.

The Ray Hunt-designed St George replaces an older, similarly named Gladding-Hearn steel-hulled pilot boat that had been in service for 42 years. It utilises a deep-V hull layout that promises enhanced seakeeping capabilities in rough waters. The concept has already been proven on the slightly larger pilot/rescue boat St David, which was also designed by Ray Hunt for the DMPS.

The Lloyd’s Register-classed St George has all-aluminium construction, an LOA of 52 feet (15.8 metres), a beam of 15.1 feet (4.6 metres), and a draught of 4.8 feet (1.46 metres). The main deck was built without any outer perimeter handrails to permit transfers via any point, ensuring greater operational flexibility. Peter Duclos, co-president at Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, said the design was developed to have a heavier than usual displacement to ensure greater longevity and reduced maintenance requirements.

Photo: Government of Bermuda

Two Caterpillar C18 diesel engines that each produce 670 hp (499 kW) at 2,100 rpm drive five-bladed nibral propellers via ZF 500-1A gearboxes to deliver speeds of up to 24 knots. Also fitted are a Northern Lights 9kW generator to supply power for the onboard systems as well as keel cooling and dry exhaust systems for the engines.

The wheelhouse electronics include a Raymarine radar. The wheelhouse itself has exterior handrails to still allow safe passage along the main deck, reverse-angled windscreens to reduce glare, and upward-facing windows to improve visibility from the centre helm station, providing the coxswain with enhanced situational awareness necessary when conducting transfers to and from larger ships.

Photo: Government of Bermuda

NorSap shock-mitigating seats are available for the coxswain and three passengers/pilots. Also within the wheelhouse are a baggage rack and a settee, while the forecastle is laid out with a toilet and berthing space. The interiors are kept comfortable by two Webasto 16,000Btu reverse-cycle AC units.

St George will complement the two-boat fleet for the Bermuda Branch Pilot Service and will provide pilot transfer support for all commercial vessels arriving and departing Bermuda. Thanks to the installation of a boarding ladder and recessed steps at the transom, the boat will also serve as a backup offshore search and rescue vessel to St David stationed in the East End.

Photo: Cecil mondane Talbot
St George
Type of vessel: Pilot/Rescue boat
Classification: Lloyd’s Register
Flag: Bermuda
Owner: Department of Marine and Ports Services, Bermuda
Designer: Ray Hunt Design, USA
Builder: Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, USA
Hull construction material: Aluminium
Superstructure construction material: Aluminium
Deck construction material: Aluminium
Length overall: 52 feet (15.8 metres)
Beam: 15.1 feet (4.6 metres)
Draught: 4.8 feet (1.46 metres)
Main engines: 2 x Caterpillar C18, each 670 hp (499 kW) at 2,100 rpm
Gearboxes: 2 x ZF 500-1A
Propulsion: 2 x nibral propellers
Generator: Northern Lights, 9.0 kW
Maximum speed: 24 knots
Radar: Raymarine
Other equipment installed: 2 x Webasto AC units
Seating: 4 x NorSap
Type of fuel: Diesel
Accommodation: Toilet; berth
Crew: 1
Passengers: 3
Operational area: Bermuda

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