Stable pilot boats offer safe embarking and disembarking of pilots

No matter the weather conditions, pilot boats must always be ready to head out and meet vessels entering the ports. To manage this challenging task, a pilot boat needs to be stable, reliable, accelerate fast and be easy to maneuver. In this blog article, I will describe the Norwegian pilot boat operator Buksér og Berging and why they think Volvo Penta’s IPS engines are a perfect fit for pilot boats.

Buksér og Berging manages the Norwegian state pilot boats

Buksér og Berging is a privately owned shipping company that dates all the way back to 1913. Ever since the company started, they have provided specialised towage vessels for the marine, oil, and gas industries. In 2016, they became responsible for managing the Norwegian state pilot boats. A total of 25 pilot boats are distributed on 16 pilot boat stations located from north to south on the coast of Norway. The pilot boat service is developed to meet the highest standards to safely transport pilots on to vessels entering Norwegian ports.

A combination of speed and seaworthiness with a high level of safety

Pilot boats are on standby 24 hours a day, 365 days a week to assist vessels entering the ports. On average, a pilot boat runs for 30 000 nautical miles per year. Since pilot boats need to go out to meet a vessel at any time, they often have to operate in rough conditions and bad weather with poor visibility and high waves, which also complicate the navigation. Once the pilot boat has arrived at the vessel it needs to be held in a fixed position in relation to the vessel in order to enable a safe embarking and disembarking of the pilots. This is a crucial moment that needs to be safely executed in all weather conditions.

The security is very important on a pilot boat. When designing a pilot boat, a big challenge is to combine speed and seaworthiness. The pilot boat should be heavy enough to be stable in the sea but light enough to get up at high speed”, says Sjur Jacobsen, Fleet Manager at Buksér og Berging.

Strong propulsion with excellent steering and navigation equipment

A pilot boat needs to have good and powerful propulsion. It also needs to be stable in all weather conditions, have excellent steering and navigation equipment as well as offer safe transportation. In order to live up to the tough requirements, a pilot boat needs the right type of engine. The engine needs to be powerful, reliable, it must start quickly as well as have good acceleration. Often, the crew driving the pilot boat have about an hour to prepare before heading out to meet a vessel entering the port. However, sometimes they are informed about a mission only five minutes in advance. Then, it is crucial that the engine works flawlessly as soon as you start the boat. If the pilot boat is late, it could lead to expensive costs in both time and money for all parties involved.

The IPS solution is fuel-efficient and helps stabilise the pilot boat in all sea conditions

When Buksér og Berging got the responsibility to manage the Norwegian state pilot boats, they were also assigned the mission to update the fleet with a number of new pilot boats. Buksér og Berging chose to power the majority of the new pilot boats with Volvo Penta’s Inboard Performance System (IPS). IPS is a technology with forward-facing propellers that offers a complete and integrated propulsion system from the helm station to the propellers.

We are very pleased with the boats we are building together with Volvo Penta. The reason we choose to power the majority of our pilot boats with Volvo Penta engines is because of the IPS solution. An IPS engine is fuel efficient, easy to maneuver and accelerates quickly, which are qualities that every pilot boat needs to have. The IPS solution helps to stabilise the pilot boat in all sea conditions and holds the pilot boat in a fixed position in relation to the vessel and is, therefore, a great solution for us. We have already commissioned a few pilot boats with the IPS solution and the response has been very positive. The crew notices a great difference when it comes to speed, maneuvering and acceleration”, says Sjur Jacobsen.

Reliable power solutions and accessible service offered by Volvo Penta

Volvo Penta has over 100 years of experience working with marine professionals. Our ambition is that our customers stay competitive and successful within their area of expertise. To live up to that ambition we design reliable, fuel-efficient and innovative power solutions with the aim for a better performance as well as a better tomorrow. In addition, we offer global service and support to keep your business running.

From left: Thomas Løfstrand (Volvo Penta), Martin Jufors (Volvo Penta), Sjur Jacobsen (Buksér og Berging), Jon Mørkås (Buksér og Berging) and Christian Eriksen (Volvo Penta).

Aside from the IPS solution, we choose Volvo Penta due to their reliability and large service network. We get very good help from Volvo Penta and we are very happy with our cooperation. We have even visited Volvo Penta’s test center in Sweden where we got the opportunity to test the propulsion system, which was very helpful”, adds Sjur Jacobsen.

Are you curious about the IPS solution and want to know more? Or, would you like to see what other industries Volvo Penta operates in? Feel free to visit our website, contact me with questions or interact with us on social media.

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