Breaux’s Bay Craft delivers largest U.S. pilot boat to Texas

Breaux’s Bay Craft delivers largest U.S. pilot boat to Texas

Breaux’s Bay Craft, Loreauville, La., delivered the new 90’x23’x12’4″ aluminum pilot boat Spindletop to the Sabine Pilots on March 6. The Sabine River forms a natural boundary between Texas and Louisiana, but the Sabine Pilots serve the Texas ports of Orange, Port Arthur and Beaumont.

“This is the biggest pilot boat built in the U.S.,” said Roy Breaux, the shipyard’s owner. “There are bigger ones in other parts of the world, but this is the largest in the U.S.”

Breaux’s Bay Craft has specialized in building aluminum offshore crewboats for decades. However, the shrinking of the oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico and the pandemic have forced the shipyard to further diversify. “We delivered our first pilot boat to the Tampa Bay Pilots Association — a 54-footer,” said Breaux.

Designed by Breaux’s Bay Craft and C. Fly Marine Services, the new Spindletop has two boarding platforms on the bow, port and starboard, and two overhead on the pilothouse, port and starboard. Rescue assist equipment includes a SeaLift custom-built rescue platform on the transom with a 24V hydraulic unit and a transom jib pole with a 120V electric winch. The rubber bumper system is a combination of D Bumpers and aircraft tires around the perimeter.

USCG equipment includes life jackets for 16 people, Revere Coastal Commander life raft, flare kit, battle lantern, and throw rings.

“The boat ran six pilots out in its first hour of operation,” said Breaux.

The Herbert S. Hiller firefighting system includes one fixed CO2 suppression system with three bottles in the machine room. The Delta ventilation system includes four 11″ blowers with temperature and speed control and Delta moisture eliminators with automatic vent dampers.

Inside the pilothouse are 15 NorSap 1600 chairs and one NorSap 1700 captain’s chair with controls, VHF speaker and microphone in headrest, steering and three VHF push to talk buttons on armrest.

Accommodations include two double bunk staterooms, a settee seating area, full head and shower, and one head treatment unit with fresh-water flush.

Main propulsion comes from four Scania DI16-82-M diesel engines producing 800 hp at 2,100 rpm each. The mains connect to four HamiltonJet HM463 waterjets through Twin Disc MGX-5146 marine gears. The propulsion system gives the boat a running speed of 27 knots and a top speed of 30.6 knots.

Ship’s service power is the responsibility of twin Northern Lights gensets, sparking 38 kW of electricity each.

Tankage includes 4,000 gals. of fuel in two tanks — one 1,500 gal. forward tank and one 2,500 gal. aft tank; 360 gals. fresh water; and 100 gals. lube oil.

The electronics suite is made up of two Furuno DRS12A-NXT radar 4′ scanners; four Furuno TZT19F 19” monitors; twin Furuno MCU004 remote control for MFD; Seatronx sunlight readable touch screen monitor; Furuno SCX 20 Sat compass; Furuno FA 170 AIS; Furuno DFF3D sonar; Furuno weather station; FLIR Systems M400XR stabilized thermal/visible camera with JCU; four FLIR thermal and visible imaging cameras for temperature measurement; three Icom M605 VHF radios with two Icom command microphones; one 10″ monitor with six cameras with DVR for boarding areas — aft deck, machinery space and jet room; KVH Tracvision 3 motion satellite system, Sirius XM for weather overlay; three 32″ TVs with Direct TV; and two Kingdel Windows 10 microcomputers.

The new pilot boat also features Humphree HA-1100 Interceptors with Active Ride Plus Stability within a Vessel Motion Control System.

Breaux’s Bay Craft is currently building a 70′ pilot boat for the Aransas-Corpus Christi Pilots, Corpus Christi, Texas.


Melody Meadows

Based in Euless, Texas, Melody Meadows is a Chief Editor at Business Journal.  Previously  She worked for Crain Media and Yahoo News.  Ms. Meadows is a graduate of University of Texas at The University of Texas at Austin. Ms. Meadows started working for Business Journal in 2020.  She covers business, government, politics and stories about economics.