MetalCraft Building Multi-Beam Hydrographic Survey Craft

Thursday, April 13, 2000
MetalCraft Marine Inc., of Kingston, Ontario, is nearing completion of its second Hydrographic Survey Craft for the Canadian Government's Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), Canadian Hydrographic Service. The 30 x 10.3 ft. vessel will carry three transducers, the largest being a state of the art 332 mm Multi-beam Transducer by Kongsberg-Simrad, Model EM-3000. The total Multi-beam system is worth approximately three times the value of the vessel, which was sold for $129,000. The Canadian Hydrographic Service, Central and Arctic Regions is responsible for updating and validating Canadian navigational charts for all inland and Arctic waters, including the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway. The two boats purchased from MCM marks a new shift by the CHS into the procurement of aluminum vessels, which can allow for more customization than the previous Fiberglass boats, which makes up the bulk of their fleet. The two boats will go into service this season. The boat has an extensive electrical system to handle all of the scientific electronics, powering five computers with three monitoring stations, as well as the standard electronics for the boat's operators. The boat has a 12VDC, 24VDC and A/C systems, with all systems complying to American Bureau and Yachting Council (ABYC) standards. The custom panels by Thornton Electric of Mississauga feature ammaters, voltage regulators, ground fault indicators and frequency meter. The 24VDC system primarily powers the sonar and positioning systems, whereas the computers which monitor and analyze the information run on A/C. On top of all this electronic equipment was added a complex Positioning System from Applanix Corp. The POS-MV has three Gyros, three accelerometers and two GPS receivers, all verifying the boat's attitude for actual position, compensating for roll, pitch and yaw by the second. This information is completely integrated into the Black Boxes and monitoring computers. The system is regularly checked for calibration to ensure accurate results. This, along with 120 soundings per ping of the transducer, gives a very accurate and complete reading of the bottom topography back to the computers, where compiled data makes it to charts in six months to a year. All of this, plus operators and safety gear, will be transported on a 30 ft. Kingfisher semi-production boat. The MetalCraft Marine contracting staff was impressed with how frugal the DFO government employees were, and how determined they were to save taxpayer dollars. The task of fitting all of this gear into such a small package was an engineering challenge, but the needs were not only price-driven. The boat will be used in smaller back lakes, accessible to the boat by trailing. It also must be shipboard-launched for certain scientific projects. The Kingfisher is one of MetalCraft's most significant platforms, having built more than 110 vessels to this design in various sizes, ranging from 20 to 30 ft., since 1995. The KF series utilizes semi-production line efficiencies to achieve a competitive price point. The design meets ABS, CFR 46 and Canadian Coast Guard TP 1332 standards. Key elements to the design are utilization of the same framing system from 20 ft. sizes to 30 ft. sizes (obviously, with additional frames). An unusual feature with the framing system is its use of full web longitudinals and transverse frames, as opposed to conventional 'T' bar or ample longitudinals. This feature offers significant gains in hull strength and actually reduces hull weight and cost. The company can produce detailed data proving the additional strength and weight savings, which is essential with most government customers. With expansion of the key components being a constant - like frames - wheelhouses, hulls, design time and computer lofting is also reduced, producing additional savings. All the boats are built on extensive tooling, so men on the floor do not have to be concerned with the distortion, twist and hog problems often encountered by small aluminum boat builders. Just prior to the DFO Hydrographic Survey Craft, MCM delivered a KF-28 for the Rockland County Sheriff's Department, New City, N.Y. That vessel also priced out at $129,000, although it had no GFE, and came with a complete electronics package, fully insulated hull and cabin, the same Volvo diesel package, heating system, hinged dash/panel, identical windows and door, head, suspension seats, etc. The boat was significantly lighter, weighing in a 8,800 lbs., without all the specialized electronic equipment, and topped out at 38 knots with the Volvo twin 150 hp duoprop diesel outdrives. Cruise speed was 35 knots. The Kingfisher production line keeps going with three other boats under contract, and a number under negotition. "There's no secret to a successful boat shop," says Bob Clark, contracts manager, "just good quality product at a good price." MetalCraft Marine is a small high-quality builder of aluminum patrol, workboats and RIBs. They are located at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River on Lake Ontario. Their site is known as the oldest boatyard on the Great Lakes, dating back to 1678. They are regular suppliers to many Government organizations, including the Canadian and U.S. Federal Governments. They are the builder of the Canadian Coast Guard's 47 ft. self-righting motor lifeboat project, built under agreement with the USCG. The company has been in business since 1987. Vessel Specifications Length: 30 ft. Beam: 10.3 ft. Draft: 1.8 ft. Main propulsion: (2) Volvo Penta AD 31 DP at 150 hp @ 3,800 rpm Ship's service power: Northern Lights 8kW/12V generator Propellers: Twin Volvo B7 Steering system: Teleflex Hydraulic Speed: 30 knots Hull construction: Welded aluminum Crew capacity: two Passenger capacity: one Windows/Door: Beclawar Seating: Bostrom Suspension DB rating: 81 db Fuel tanks: 106 gal. per side Main transducer: Kongsberg Simrad EM 3000 Positioning system: Applanix POS-MV Electronics/Navigation equipment: Supplied by government
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