California-based Willard Marine has been awarded a contract by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to produce a rigid hull inflatable boat for the Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC) to facilitate its fisheries and marine mammal research in the Pacific region.
Willard Marine said it will provide a slightly modified version of their SEA FORCE 730, a military-grade, aluminum, rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) that is designed with a deep-V hull.
The research RHIB designed for NOAA is constructed in accordance with ABYC standards and Subchapter S requirements, and is fitted with both lift fittings and a lift sling that are designed for hoisting 6,700-pounds of weight with a 6:1 weight ratio safety factor. Twin Honda 115hp outboard engines will propel the vessel throughout the Hawaiian islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Johnston atoll, US Pacific Remote Insular Areas and the Samoan archipelago as NOAA conducts various scientific sampling methods, including bottom fish collection, remote sensing survey, marine mammal population survey, and dive operations.
The collar will be closed-cell foam with a polyurethane sheathing that covers the foam. Additionally, Willard Marine will provide a complete davit for deploying and recovering scientific equipment. The davit, which will have a mount for attaching winches/pot pullers, will be removable from the mounting bracket when not in use. Eight removable SCUBA tank holders and an aluminum engine guard will be installed, and personnel recovery cutouts will be provided on both sides of the collar.
“Willard Marine has provided a variation of our SEA FORCE 730 to the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and many other government agencies for a variety of missions because it’s a really tough and reliable boat,” explained Ulrich Gottschling, President and CEO of Willard Marine. “NOAA has procured many boats from us over the last 11 years because we continue to provide maximum quality for the optimum price,” Gottschling added. Vessel delivery is scheduled for the summer of 2016.”