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National Park Service Catamarans Ready to Begin Passenger Service

28 June 2018

Tests and sea trials have been completed for the two new catamaran ferry vessels built by All American Marine of Bellingham, WA and designed by Teknicraft of Auckland, NZ. The new passenger ferry service will begin operations this Friday in Pensacola Bay between the City of Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, and Fort Pickens in Gulf Islands National Seashore.

JMS Naval Architects served as Owner’s Technical Representative during the construction, outfitting, system tests, and sea trials of the two 150-passenger ferry vessels for the National Park Service and Gulf Islands National Seashore.

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

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. Read more about the new ferry service here: Pensacola Bay ferries christened, ready to start service Friday.

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