^ Brunswick Commercial and Government Products’ (BCGP) 1100 Impact Offshore Interceptor
Image Courtesy of BCGP at http://www.brunswickcgp.com/Page.aspx/pmId/317790/pageId/154966/view/Overview/Models—Impact.aspx
Workboats & Patrol Boats
Workboats include numerous kinds of crafts and boats that serve as patrol boats, tugs, towboats, military boats-vessels, offshore service vessels, diving-salvage boats, barges, research-education vessels, fire and response vessels and the like.
A precise definition of workboats eludes us. According to Lodewijk van Os, Product Director at Damen Shipyards, workboats are the ‘daily working environment of seafarers, who come onboard to execute a job utilising the specific design features and equipment of the boat.’
U.S. 2010 Naval Operations Concept defines blue water as open oceans; green water as coastal waters, harbours, and ports; and brown water as navigable rivers and their estuaries. Workboats are normally brown and green water specialists although they can operate in all three.
Workboat sectors such as inland waterways and the U.S. Gulf are not posting very healthy growth. Patrol boats however are continuing with their northward march they started from the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Just before 9/11, the Navy was on course to retire some of its patrol crafts (PCs). It had even lent five to the Coast Guard. After the attack, the Navy asked the Coast Guard to return the PCs. Regular boaters will also note the beefed up marine security around naval bases.
Multi-Agency Craft Conference (MACC) 2016
According to the June 2016 edition of Maritime Reporter & Engineering News, the domestic drivers of the U.S. workboat sector are:
- Shipbuilding Activity and the fillip given to it by government spending, directly influences the construction activity in the workboat sector
- Energy Sector is a major employer of workboats. The fortunes of many types of workboats therefore depend on the prices of crude oil. Freight rates rise and fall with that of crude oil
- Regulatory Amendments or changes to the Coast Guard rules on towboats under subchapter M will alter the structures of various workboats and the mode of operation of workboats and their operators
- Completion of the Panama Canal will help expand traffic at many ports thereby creating demand for tugboats and other workboats
- Inland Port Infrastructure in the U.S. directly affects its capacity to handle workboats. The better the infrastructure, the more is its workboat handling capacity. Observers say, infrastructure upgrades are essential
Patrol boats can either be inshore patrol vessels (IPVs) of offshore patrol vessels (OPVs). These are usually smaller than a corvette and can be as large as a frigate. Typical patrol boats include torpedo boats, fast attack craft, and missile boats.
Vibrant activity at the Multi-Agency Craft Conference (MACC) 2016 held at Baltimore on June 8-9 bears testimony to the consistent expansion and bright prospects of the patrol boat sector. The theme for MACC 2016 was All About Boats.
Representatives of the U.S. Navy, the United States Coast Guard (USCG), and the state and municipal law enforcement agencies flock at the MACC every year to review what their suppliers have to offer and to let the suppliers know their requirements.
This year, the Navy and the USCG asked for faster boats that could traverse greater distances while providing improved crew endurance at sea. The USCG is looking to slash dependence on special-purpose boats and has asked suppliers to reduce the number of standard boat classes.
Highlights of patrol boats at MACC 2016 include:
- Brunswick Commercial and Government Products’ (BCGP) 1100 Impact Offshore Interceptor. The demonstration boat clocked a top speed of 65 knots
Its 300-gallon tank lends it a sizable range of 300 nautical miles. The cruise speed is 38 knots at 4,000 rpm. At 10.9 m long and 3.65 m wide, the impact offshore interceptor can carry 18 persons with a combined total weight of 2,504 kg (5,521 lbs)
- SAFE Boat International’s 35’ x 10’ Multimission Interceptor (MMI) can hit a maximum speed of 55 knots in the open ocean. The interceptor is smaller, faster, and can handle diverse missions
This aluminium MMI can transport 14 personnel and support a total weight of 2,704 kg (5,961 lbs) for a range of up to 200 nautical miles. It can survive in sea state 6 and operate in sea state 5
A trio of Mercury Marine Verado 350 hp outboards powered the demo models of both the above boats at MACC 2016
- Ocean Craft Marine (OCM) 9.5 m High-Speed Vessel Interdiction RHIB features the latest 12-inch full-floating, tri-axial, articulating pneumatic shock absorber that buffers the equipment, console, and crew
Although weighing a healthy 3,139 kgs (6,920 lbs), the RHIB clocked 55 mph, went from o to 30 mph in 5.5 seconds, and jumped on plane in 3.3 seconds during tests by boattest.com
Evirude G2 Outboard Motors power the OCM RHIB to a fantastic 600 horsepower. The RHIB comes equipped with state-of-the-art communication and navigation equipment
Paul Graville of Amgram Ltd., a design and naval architecture consultancy, opines that change in the workboat sector comes steadily. This is because workboats represent tools operators are reluctant to experiment with.
And because small companies and operators are not very eager to undertake expensive research that may or may not yield results. Paul Graville also identifies the following future trends for the workboat sector:
- progressively tightening regulation regarding emissions, discharges, better conditions, and safer seating will speed up these developments
- the integration of design and production interface will further intensify
- adhesives will find more application as they can slash production times considerably
- the importance of consultants in selecting the right workboat will rise
- more operators will use multi-hulled workboats
- researchers will develop hulls and bows that offer lower resistance
- the use of electronic gadgets will increase
- alternative fuel systems and multiple drive options may become the norm, not exception
- waterjets will not completely replace fixed pitch propellers but will see their popularity go up substantially
- with all these changes, crew training practices will also witness a metamorphosis
Living as we all are in an era of fast paced change, no walk of life is immune from rapid evolution. The need to quickly churn out more useful, faster and more eco-friendly boats endowed with greater ranges will drive the development of workboats in the U.S. and the rest of the world.
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