Bristol Harbor Marine Design (BHMD), a division of Bristol Harbor Group, Inc., has completed the hull and preliminary engineering for the Liberty 129TM, a new fast ferry that will compete with the foreign designs currently being constructed by US ship builders
. A scale model of the hull has been constructed and tow tank testing is scheduled for October at the University of Michigan. The new design will be rolled out at the International Work Boat Show 4-6 December, in New Orleans.
The design is all-American from the keel up to U.S. Coast Guard Sub-Chapter K regulations for medium to large size passenger vessels. Structural design and engineering are to the requirements of the American Bureau of Shipping Guide for Building and Classing High-Speed Craft. Fast ferries currently built in the US have utilized designs from Australia and the United Kingdom.
The new vessel will be 129-ft (39.3-m) in length, have a 36-ft (11.0-m) beam and will include interior seating for 321 passengers. It will be handicap accessible. The catamaran hull can be powered by either twin or quad diesel powered water jets, and has a design speed of 32 knots.
The BHMD approach has been to develop a 100% new design, with features optimized to meet US regulations and shipyard manufacturing technologies. Advanced 3D solid modeling software has been used throughout to facilitate this process.
The primary target customers for the Liberty 129TM are ferry operators in the burgeoning U.S. water commuter market where 90 percent of 700 ferries now operate at speeds less than 25 knots.