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Aluminum Used in New York’s Citywide Ferry System

Hornblower shipyard
An aluminum vessel hull being constructed at the Hornblower shipyard.

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and Hornblower, the operator of Citywide Ferry, began construction on the 19 aluminum vessels, utilizing the latest in 21st century maritime technology and best design practices. The new vessels will represent the New York City’s first citywide ferry system in over 100 years.

The use of lightweight aluminum provides fuel efficiency and safe transportation of passengers. The fleet of 19 vessels will be constructed with the equivalent of over 77 million cans of aluminum. Each boat is 26 m long with a capacity for150 passengers along with space for bikes, strollers and wheelchairs, offering passengers more space than more traditional ferries. The innovative hull was designed to limit wake and maximize fuel efficiency, and the use of ultra-efficient T3 Engines reduces emissions. The decks will also be heated, increasing each vessel’s resiliency and durability, especially during the cold, snowy winter months.

The vessels are being constructed in assembly line roll out at two experienced, world class shipyards — Metal Shark in Jeanerette, Louisiana, and Horizon in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. Both shipyards are receiving vessel components and building the frame for each boat, before systematically assembling the rest of the hull and super structure. This construction process reduces manufacturing time, allows for minor modifications throughout the boat build process and furthers on-time project delivery, with the first vessel expected to arrive in New York City in early 2017.

The shipyards were selected because of their strong history of producing high quality vessels quickly and efficiently. Metal Shark is one of the leading suppliers of vessels for members of the armed services, including the U.S Navy, and specializes in the building of patrol boats, fire boats, pilot boats and passenger vessels. Horizon has a track record of on-time performance under tight timeframes, having produced 40 aluminum boats in 20 months. Horizon Shipyard also completed an urgent build of 10 oil recovery barges in 30 days shortly after the Gulf oil spill to assist in the recovery efforts.

Phase one of Citywide Ferry Service, which includes the use of 12 vessels, is scheduled to launch in summer 2017.

Metal Shark shipyard
Assembly of one of the 19 aluminum vessels at the Metal Shark shipyard.

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