Metal Shark Builds Custom Vessel for Canaveral Pilots
- Custom Bill Preston-designed 45' aluminum pilot boat built by Metal Shark for the Canaveral Pilots. (Photo: Metal Shark)
- Metal Shark's director of sales Dean Jones presents the Canaveral Pilots Association with a plaque commemorating the delivery of the Association's new pilot boat. On hand to mark the occasion for the Pilots are business director Doug Mutter, director of engineering Mike Rigby, co-chairmen Ben Borgie and Doug Brown, and boat committee member Richard Grimson. (Photo: Metal Shark)
Metal Shark has delivered a custom 45-foot aluminum pilot boat to the Canaveral Pilots Association at Port Canaveral, Florida. The vessel was built at Metal Shark’s newly-opened shipyard in Franklin, Louisiana.
For the project, the Canaveral Pilots specified a purpose-built pilot boat design by naval architect Bill Preston. The design utilizes the weight of a single bow-mounted diesel engine and a sharp forward entry to slice levelly through waves as opposed to riding over the top of the crests and then plummeting into the troughs. Due to its enhanced stability, this design is used by several pilot groups operating in the often adverse open ocean conditions encountered along Florida’s Atlantic Coast, Metal Shark said.
Mike Rigby, senior boat captain and director of engineering for the Canaveral Pilots, explained, “We have nearly five miles of exposure to the South Atlantic and it can get very nasty at times. While we and other pilot groups on the East Coast of Florida are already very familiar with the seakeeping abilities of this design, Metal Shark really did an outstanding job with the execution. The boat performs far beyond our expectations and easily cruises at 18 knots in three to five foot seas combining single engine economy with a comfortable big-boat ride.”
Metal Shark added its own unique touches to the design, such as its use of wraparound pillarless glass in the pilothouse to substantially reduce blind spots for greatly enhanced safety during inclement weather or nighttime operations.
Naval architect Bill Preston stated, “Metal Shark did a superb job of building the 45’ Pilot Boat. It was a pleasure to have the shipyard improve on the design and details. They took the construction drawings to the next higher level of details resulting in the best possible product. All this was confirmed in the boat trials and on the delivery trip.”