Vessels: Long Beach Pilots Receive New Boat

Thursday, October 23, 2003

The waters off of Long Beach, Calif., could be considered a bit safer now, as Jacobsen Pilot Service Inc. this summer received a new 54-ft. (16.4-m) welded aluminum pilot boat from Hike Metal Products Ltd.

Following an international trend, the ships calling the Port of Long Beach today are much larger — particularly the massive new containerships that can deliver more than 7,000 teu on one ship — and the pilots have to board further out to sea. Also, the rush periods now demand a bigger boat with more seating for pilots. After 9/11 Jacobsen Pilots partnered with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Sea Marshals to help deliver them to the incoming ships.

The new pilot boat fulfills this mission when required. According to Tom Jacobsen, president of Jacobsen Pilot Service, the new boat was built to meet the growing needs of his company's services to the Port of Long Beach. With their speed and high level of seaworthiness, the new pilot boats are equipped to meet Jacobsen's piloting needs; sometimes dispatching up to eight pilots on the boat during the port's busy mornings.

"The business has changed and ships and we're now boarding ships further out at sea," Jacobsen said. Hike Metal was approached in the early summer of 2002 after Jacobsen conducted a thorough review of the market and read an article about a new Pilot Boat Hike had just built and delivered to Atlantic Canada. Jacobsen wanted a modern vessel, specifically designed for function, good visibility, ergonomics, and built to suit the operational requirements out of Long Beach, which is the second largest container vessel port in the U.S.

The Boat

The hull form is based on a well proven, standard advanced chine hull design developed years ago by Hike utilized in the construction of its' 30 ft. to 70 ft. patrol boats, currently used on both the Great lakes and inshore coastal operations in North and South America. Final design details and engineering was carried out by EYE Marine Consultants Inc. in Dartmouth Nova Scotia Canada. The deep-V hull provides smooth fast and responsive handling while the flattened side chine's afford excellent lateral stability, lift and further help knock down spray. The structural design is based on LRS Special Service craft rules while ABYC rules govern systems and outfit. Careful attention was paid to weight control, to produce a robust and yet sea-kindly craft fit for the demanding role of pilot transfer. The vessel is designed to have a minimum service life of 30 years.

Maintenance and service access was of paramount importance to Jacobsen Pilot Service Inc. and these consideration were maintained during all aspects of the design and construction process.

The interior fit-out consists of a lower deck accommodation with day berths for four, a head, and a small galley area. Access to the engine room is also located there through an oversize bulkhead door allowing easy removal and replacement of large components during future overhauls. The main deck and upper deck / wheelhouse consist of primarily the pilot seating area for a total of eight pilots. The helm seat is a Bostrom suspension type "Sierra" with lumbar support, fore and aft sliders and arm rests.

The other seats are also Bostrom seats mounted on plinths. Overhead grab rails are fitted throughout the vessel for personnel safety.

Linings within the accommodations are pre-finished aluminum sheet and wood trimmed which looks clean and is easily maintained. Mono rubber tile flooring is installed below while the main and upper wheelhouse deck is covered with sound mat.

The engine room is spacious and well laid out, with ample space over the engines, for easy access and maintenance tasks. It is fitted with a manually operable CO2 system. The propulsion engines can be removed through a soft patch in the pilot cabin floor and cabin deckhead. A single 12KW Northern Lights generator c/w sound shield provides AC power. All machinery is flexibly mounted for noise and vibration attenuation. In addition the engine room received an insulation system, which resulted in sound levels not exceeding 75 dba anywhere outside the machinery space. Engine exhaust systems are wet and include water lift mufflers. The main fuel tanks are aluminum and integral within the hull structure. A quick change lube oil system is provided with clean and dirty lube oil tanks fitted with capacity for engines, gearboxes and generator. The bilge system consists of two pumps, one on each engine c/w electric clutches and controlled by safety switches mounted in the wheelhouse. Jacobsen pilots requested a ballast tank system for making the boat more stable in rough weather. The ballast tank system is installed on the vessel centerline forward and aft and can be used for the weight and for trim adjustment in certain conditions.

Stern gear consists of Aquamet S.S. propeller shafts, Duramax shaft seals, Vulcan flex couplings and Hall & Stavert 5 blade propellers. Steering gear is electro/hydraulic type 4 station provided by Jastram Technologies.

A unique portable operating station c/w jog steering and engine controls is fitted inside a watertight station on the stern deck for use in a man overboard emergency. A very functional elevating platform for man overboard retrieval is fitted at the transom. Vessel fendering is provided by a reinforced gunwale panel incorporating a large section fender around the perimeter at deckline of the vessel. An additional fender aft to midship provides protection at the lower hull, both sides.

Welded aluminum bollards are fitted both sides along with a fixed towing post on the foredeck and a portable tow post aft. Since the boat was delivered to Jacobsen Pilot Service this past July, according to Tom Jacobsen, it has not left any room for disappointment. "We're very pleased with Hike and were impressed with their commitment to quality boatbuilding," Jacobsen said.

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