First hybrid pilot boat debuts at Seawork

The UK has its first hybrid pilot boat Photo: Goodchild Marine The UK has its first hybrid pilot boat Photo: Goodchild Marine

The UK's first hybrid pilot boat is preparing to make its maiden voyage from its Norfolk workshop to a new home in the capital, stopping at Seawork in Southampton to make its debut.

The ORC 136, named Leader, has been built by Goodchild Marine Services for the Port of London Authority (PLA) and combines both diesel and electric power for emission-free operation whilst in electric mode.

Unmatched capability

Alan Goodchild, managing director of Goodchild Marine, said that working on the project was an honour. "There are other hybrid boats on the market, but to the best of my knowledge, there isn’t another like this," he said. “Its design gives it unmatched all-weather capability and the fuel efficiency is second to none due to the light hull shape, giving it minimal drag.

“We are confident that Leader will do just what its name suggests by encouraging others to support the need for greener, cleaner air.”

Promoting green technology

The new vessel will assist PLA in promoting the adoption of new, green technology as detailed in the authority's recently published 'Air Quality Strategy for the Tidal Thames' which aims to reduce river-based air pollution.

The plug-in hybrid system was provided by Marine and Industrial Transmissions and its partner, Transfluid, and the Yanmar engine was supplied by E P Barrus. The ORC range has a unique beak bow hull design which is said to make the vessels lighter and faster.

Seawork debut

The Leader is expected to reach 15 knots under hybrid power and will be used for transferring pilots to and from vessels in Gravesend Reach. Once trials are complete the boat will travel to Southampton to make its debut at Seawork International.

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