USCG Passenger Certified – Saltwater
Our commercial US Coast Guard certified passenger vessels operating in open ocean, salt water environments require many of the same needs as our freshwater boats for safety, efficiency and longevity but hull materials and components need special consideration due to the corrosive environment the vessels must operate in. Saltwater resistant aluminum alloys, stainless steel fixtures and fasteners, installation of sacrificial zincs, tinned wiring and sealed electrical components are critical to minimizing maintenance and ensure the entire vessel in protected for long term use.
Eric Yancey ~ Breakaway Adventures ~ Wrangell, AK
The Ocean Pro sets the standard for jet boat tours in Wrangell AK . It is the most comfortable boat for clients as far as the ride, visibility, and over all comfort namely because of the bus style seating and sliding glass side windows. A majority of our tours are operated in saltwater so the 18 degree bottom is great when the saltwater chop develops. Comparing the two boats. Both the Stikine Dream built in 2000 and the Ocean Pro built in 2003 have the same propulsion packages (Yanmar 6LP-STE diesel coupled to Hamilton 241 jet pumps). The Ocean Pro runs a little slower (2-3 knots) than the Stikine Dream does. This is because the Stikine Dream is a 11 degree bottom canvas top and soft side windows, The Ocean Pro is 18 degree bottom, hard top, sliding glass windows and a 3/8 inch bottom so this all adds up to more weight. To run both boats at the same speed the Ocean Pro has to run approx. 200 rpm’s more than the Stikine Dream. The Ocean Pro really does shine when it comes to choppy water, I can maintain a running speed with out any of the traditional “slam” that one gets with a shallow degree dead rise of the usual river style jet boats. It really pays off as I operate year around here in Alaska . Even though I have to run the Ocean Pro rpm’s up a bit, the fuel consumption doesn’t increase much. Both vessels run at 34-38 mph range depending on load and burns less than 7 GPH per engine. I use 7 gallons to calculate consumption which does give me a safety margin. The Ocean Pro gives me a feel of being in a airplane when it corners, because of the deeper vee it leans or banks into corners, more so than the Stikine Dream, I kind of think it feels neat from the drivers perspective. Both vessels are USCG cert. for Lakes, Bays, and Sounds exposed water routes. Cert. for 18 passengers 2 crew complete with 20 person IBA’s and other required safety equipment.
Doug Ward ~ Dolphin Jet Boat Tours ~ Juneau, Alaska
Dolphin Jet Boat Tours searches for whales on the Alaskan open waters, and in June of 1999 we extended our fleet with the addition of Big Blue. This 40′ triple diesel engine Bentz Boat has run almost every day since it’s June arrival.
The factor limiting our ability to use Big Blue is the comfort of our passengers, not the ability of the boat to handle the seas. When the weather gets to the point that the majority of the passengers would be uncomfortable, we will cancel a tour. In addition, we are on a tight schedule and cannot afford to drop off step. Another operator with a different type of passengers and different operating schedule could continue to operate at reduced speeds through worse water.
The size, steepness, frequency, direction and uniformity of waves all effect the severity of the seas. To date, we have not encountered seas too severe for Big Blue. I have seen seas that were too rough for Big Blue during a winter day in Juneau, but to build a 30 passenger boat that could handle those seas would not be practical for everyday use. On that day the 85′ catamaran to Greens Creek did not run. Any boat is a compromise between fair-weather performance and rough water survival. Big Blue is an eminently capable fair-weather boat with outstanding characteristics in marginal weather. When we buy another boat, it will be built by Bentz.