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National Park Service Catamarans Under Construction

21 September 2016


Construction is well underway for two new catamaran ferry vessels being built at All American Marine in Bellingham, WA.

JMS Naval Architects is serving as Owner’s Representative during the construction, outfitting, system tests, and sea trials of two 72-foot, aluminum, catamaran, passenger ferry vessels for the National Park Service and Gulf Islands National Seashore. The two 150 passenger vessels, designed by Teknicraft of Auckland, NZ, will be used for the Pensacola Bay passenger ferry service beginning in March 2017.

As the National Park Service’s Owner’s Representative, JMS is reviewing the vessel design and specification for compliance with the National Park Service’s operating requirements. JMS is also conducting monthly site visits to the shipyard to oversee construction progress, quality, and conformance with contract requirements and will witness all Dock and Sea Trails conducted at the shipyard in Bellingham, WA as well as post-delivery in Pensacola, FL.


The new passenger ferry service will operate in Pensacola Bay between the City of Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, and Fort Pickens in Gulf Islands National Seashore.

The Fort Pickens Area of Gulf Islands National Seashore is a seven-mile long section of barrier island separating Pensacola Bay from the Gulf of Mexico. It comprises the westernmost section of Santa Rosa Island and is adjacent to the community of Pensacola Beach. The Fort Pickens Area is a destination for approximately 700,000 visitors annually and is one of the largest tourist draws for the heavily tourist-dependent economy of the Pensacola Beach area. The Park Service estimates that over 65,000 passengers annually will take advantage of the ferry system.

The new vessels are scheduled to be completed in February 2017.

Principal Characteristics:

  • Length: 72’
  • Beam: 28’
  • Draft: 5’-6”
  • Hull: Aluminum
  • Passengers: 150
  • Propulsion: 2 x Scania DI 13-081M; 444 bhp @ 1800rpm
  • Service speed: 12-15 knots