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BOATBUILDING: What's in your work boat?

Moose Boats takes on the challenge of building its largest ship to date. It's an important step for this growing California shipyard. Equally impressive is what is in this rapidly evolving hull and why these features were chosen.

The U.S. boat building scene is a changing landscape of waterfront manufacturing, constantly evolving to meet the inevitable peaks and valleys of demand. Nowhere is this reality more apparent than with the California-based Moose Boats. In October 2016, Lind Marine announced the acquisition of Moose Boats. This move was important because Lind Marine operated a 5-acre shipyard with a 430-foot dry dock and 1,600-foot linear pier on Mare Island in Vallejo, California. Since the ink was still wet, Moose was ready to develop into another growth phase.


Moose Boats was founded by Roger Fleck in 2000 and has delivered a total of around 100 military, law enforcement and lifeboats in a very short time. Moose Boat's move to a larger manufacturing facility on Mare Island has allowed the company to scale its production line to meet demand for larger aluminum vessels and offer a wider range of designs. The Moose Boats catamaran currently under construction for Westar Marine Services in San Francisco - 75 feet LOA and 130,000 pounds full displacement - is a perfect example of this development.


Just under two decades of building smaller catamarans up to 46 feet, 40,000 pounds full-load displacement with semi-finished fabrication, and the need to support all of the systems and amenities of much larger vehicles made the transition to larger 75-foot catamarans (and beyond) an easy one and obvious shift for Moose Boats. Moose vice president and sales engineer, Mark Stott, told MarineNews in March, "Our greatest innovations are solving a customer's specific needs or working together to develop a solution that the customer has come up with."


With larger vehicles, such as the new Moose Boats catamaran currently being built for Westar Marine Services, the shipyard has been able to use its internal design principles in a larger space with greater opportunities. The core philosophy of Moose Boats has always included terms such as "form, function, practicality, seaworthiness, safety of the crew, stability, usability and maneuverability". If so, the largest boat to date has all of this and more when it finally slips into the water in Q3 2019.

'Check all boxes'
Westar Marine Services looked for moose boats with basic criteria that required crew boats to move personnel and marine business to various destinations in the San Francisco Bay area. This required a hull that could use an integrated loading crane to carry 28 passengers and 20,000 pounds of palletized cargo. Westar's existing crew boats consist of steel mono-hull constructions with pilots on deck level, crew seats on deck level and a service speed of around 10 knots. In addition, Westar's existing engine bay accesses were blocked when a large amount of cargo was stored on deck, so that captains and sailors did not have direct access to the pilot house's crew cabins.


Westar has successfully operated conventional propeller-driven steel mono-hull crew boats for decades and understandably hesitated to change anything that worked for them. Therefore, the original design concept for Westar's new ships was a 65-foot aluminum hull with conventional propulsion. Westar's request for service speeds in the low to mid 20 knots range with EPA Tier 3 engines led to the concept of studying a highly efficient displacement catamaran hull shape to meet both power and fuel consumption requirements.


Utilizing Incat Crowther's catamaran design expertise, which recommended a highly effective 70 to 75 foot displacement catamaran, Westar's speed and load requirements were met. Various propulsion analyzes were carried out and finally water jets were excluded due to their inefficiency in the speed range of 20 knots. With a proven track record in Europe and impressive reviews from US East Coast pilot boat operators, Westar chose Volvo Penta's IPS system for its thrust, maneuverability and efficiency.


Incat Crowther then specified the IPS 900 drive package, which consists of D13 700 hp Volvo engines and IPS3 drives. The conservatively expected full load performance at 85% of the MCR is an impressive 24.5 knots while limiting fuel consumption and engine loading. The shipyard design team then set out to capture the Moose Boats goals of an aesthetic, practical and functional work boat. As the design took shape, a new type of crew boat emerged. one with a modern hull shape and a new next generation propulsion system.

What's in your work boat?
The old adage "The devil is in the details" doesn't quite fit here. But as with any quality ship, the end product is definitely "the sum of its many parts". If so, any potential operator looking to build a new hull should ask, "What's in your work boat?"


For the Westar hull, a Northern Lights 20kW diesel generator supports two Dometic reverse air conditioning systems and a 4,000 pound telescopic boom crane with an electric hydraulic power pack. A dedicated diesel powered Hale fire pump provides a Task Force Tips monitor and exhaust valves. Both the crane and the fire extinguishing ducts are mounted on the passenger cabin roof and use the entrances to the engine room to ensure the connectivity of the water pipes and to facilitate maintenance. In addition, the loading deck remains free.


The pilothouse has a wrap-around dashboard that includes a Furuno TZ-touch 14-inch multifunction navigation display, air conditioning thermostats, intra-wipers, Volvo control units, two Volvo wing station joysticks, Volvo engine, alarm and steering displays supported. The Blue Sea Systems 360 switches / circuit breakers are used specifically for power distribution, the Hella navigation lights and the Imtra deck lighting.


The window area has been maximized to ensure awareness of the situation and the comfort of passengers and crew. Transparent Armor Systems supplies more than twenty laminated exterior windows, four waterproof exterior doors and five interior doors.


Perhaps the most significant change from typical Moose Boats performance, aside from the size of the ship itself, can be seen in how the fenders are achieved. In the crew and commercial boat world, there seems to be no substitute for tires when it comes to protecting the hull from other boats and piers. Dozens of reused aircraft tires line up the sides of the fuselage, the bow and the stern of the catamaran, as well as the tire rubber pads from Schuyler Rubber for the front and rear. Stainless steel wire ropes with turnbuckles that allow maintenance teams to quickly change and re-tension tires, if a tire is torn or damaged, the aircraft tires are hung up. The aesthetic of this arrangement was a departure from the usually slimmer Moose Boats product, but Mark Stott says, "We've now spoken out with its rugged, commercial look and functionality."


The impressive equipment package of the boat was chosen a little deeper, which is partly due to the following features :

  • hull: This adaptation of Incat Crowther's tried and tested hull shape was specially developed and optimized for Volvo's IPS propulsion system. The hard shape and the shape of the rear end are designed to maximize flow to the drive units. Thanks to the high freeboard and tunnel spacing, it does justice to the offshore conditions.
  • drive : The two Volvo Penta diesel engines with steerable IPS pod drives with forward-facing double counter-rotating propellers provide an extremely efficient drive solution for crew boats. Volvo Penta reports that IPS has a 30 to 40 percent longer range, a 15 to 20 percent higher top speed, a 20 to 35 percent reduction in fuel consumption, 20 to 35 percent lower CO2 emissions and a 50 percent lower one Noise development achieved. IPS is also easier to install, takes around 50 percent less time than inboards, and is easier to maintain. The pods also offer higher torque and faster acceleration, as well as a higher bollard pull of around four tons per pod unit. The IPS pods are connected directly to the motors and are further forward than internal shaft drives. They offer more interior space. In addition, IPS provides safe and predictable boat handling in close proximity, especially when using joystick control. The Volvo Penta Power Center in San Francisco, Helmut Marine Service, will install and test the propulsion system.
  • The IMTRA package : IMTRA provided a number of functions for this new building, including the powerful LED utility and engine compartment lights from Frensch; DRH navigation lights, LED deck lights of the offshore series from IMTRA; and Exalto wipers. The Frensch auxiliary headlights are extremely efficient surface-mounted devices with extremely high performance, which are selected for their durability and their compact shape. ideal for engine compartments. The DHR-LED navigation lights offer a unique, commercial design with built-in LED drivers built right into the light and the ability to service the light on board if required. The Offshore Series LED deck lights have been specifically designed with the extra protective measures required to survive life at sea and also provide the lighting necessary to focus on the tasks ahead. Exalto wipers offer unmatched assembly flexibility, easy installation and are designed for the toughest conditions.
  • navigation : Rose Point ECS improves operational efficiency, situational awareness and decision making with clear, easy-to-read displays and controls that provide instant access to the information a professional mariner needs to navigate safely. Rose Point ECS offers comprehensive, sophisticated navigation tools in one package.
  • fender : The Schuyler Rubber Company makes the fenders that work boats need to keep working. Durable in harsh conditions, these fenders are made from tires for post-consumer trucks. They use the best rubber construction the tire industry has to offer. All fender systems are custom-made for each individual configuration and supplied with the fastening system integrated into the fenders. The Westar catamaran will use the Schuyler SR3D loop fender system, which has excellent energy absorption properties as the rubber compresses on contact but retains its shape and protects the structure of the hull behind it.


Fine tuning
The front end of the pilothouse draws its design features from the catamaran cabin of the Moose Boats M2 with an extended aft end that allows access to the foredeck via port and starboard doors and the aft station via a door in the center line. An internal staircase provides access to the crew lounge, head and passenger cabin. The raised pilothouse gives Westar's captains the lines of sight they need while staying tight enough not to come in contact with the switch of large ships during crew and cargo transfers.


In addition, it was decided that fewer changes to the deck level lead to greater safety for the crew. The final design allows transition from the helm station to the aft helm station without negotiating steps. Similarly, the passenger cabin, head and crew lounges are located on the main deck level, providing Westiffs sailors and customers with increased safety and comfort.


Access to the engine compartments is via a staircase at the rear corners of the passenger cabin, so that the crew members can access the engine rooms while driving, regardless of the deck cargo and without affecting the surroundings of the engine room.


All of this, packaged with an impressive selection of high quality OEM components, will later this year produce the workboat that Weststar has always wanted. Along the way, Moose showed his ability to achieve even larger hull shapes. And it really is the, what's in this workboat.

This article first appeared in the print edition ofMarineNews-Magazinefrom April 2019.