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JMS-Designed Bridge Inspection Vessel

6 October 2016


JMS Naval Architects designed a compact, self-propelled, bridge inspection vessel for a bridge inspection company in the northeast.

The new vessel is a 28’ aluminum catamaran built by Aluma Marine & Fabrication in Harvey, LA and joins the owner’s fleet of work and safety boats. The vessel was launched and tested this week with an in-water demonstration conducted in Mystic, CT.

JMS developed the concept, detail, and systems designs of the vessel, and provided technical support to the owner throughout the construction, outfitting, and testing of the vessel. The owner is in the process of patenting the design with intentions to produce more vessels for sale to other bridge inspectors and to expand their own fleet.

barge2The vessel is outfitted with a Socage T360 aerial lift to provide workers with 60’ of vertical reach above the water and allow for inspection and repair work of bridge structures. The vessel has an overall length of 28’-4”, a beam of 7’-8” and a collapsed height of 11’-8” allowing it to be transported over the road between job sites. To increase stability of the vessel during man lift operations, the vessel is fitted with a unique outrigger system which employs two 25’ long, 3’ diameter inflatable sponsons which are hydraulically deployed and retracted. When deployed, the overall beam of the vessel increases to 22’, providing a stable platform for aerial lift operations. The inflatable sponsons, built by CPI Marine in Kyle, TX, were fabricated from 40oz urethane and have 8” rub strakes to provide puncture and wear protection when operating in close proximity to structures and environmental obstacles. Each sponson has three removable air bladders for ease of maintenance and repair, as well as added protection against puncture. Each sponson can be deflated and packed into a 6’ x 3’ x 3’ box for easy storage in a truck bed during road transport. The vessel is powered by twin Honda BF115 four stroke outboard engines with counter rotating propellers. The controls for the engines and hydraulic spuds are located inside an enclosed, heated wheelhouse, providing shelter for the operator.


The Socage T 360 aerial lift was procured and installed by Cues Equipment in North Franklin, CT. With a fully extended reach of 60’ above the water, the aerial lift can be collapsed to a stowed height of only 7’-2” above the deck, permitting the vessel to have a low transport height for transit on public highways. The lightweight aluminum basket has a rated load capacity of 550lbs and can rotate up to 90 degrees in either direction. Both compressed air and AC power are available in the basket to support the use of inspection and repair tools on site. In addition to the aerial lift, Cues Equipment procured and installed a custom hydraulic power unit built by Foster Manufacturing Corp, and a Fabco Power 8kW hydraulic generator. The hydraulic power unit is fit with a Kubota diesel engine and supplies two independent hydraulic circuits which together power the aerial lift, hydraulic generator, outriggers, and hydraulic spuds.


Principal Characteristics:

  • Length: 28’-4”
  • Beam (sponsons stowed): 7’-7”
  • Beam (sponsons extended): 22’
  • Draft (sponsons stowed): 15”
  • Height (stowed): 12’
  • Reach (aerial lift): 60’ above water
  • Capacity (aerial lift): 550lbs
  • Hull: Aluminum
  • Propulsion: Twin Honda BF115 four stroke outboard engines with counter rotating propellers