The newest addition to the Virginia Pilots Association boat fleet is powered by a unique propulsion system from Volvo Penta of the Americas. The 55-foot, seagoing pilot launch, named Hampton Roads, was delivered to the association’s facility in Virginia Beach this summer and is now in full service, delivering pilots to offshore ships preparing to enter port. The pilots, who are experts in the local shipping channels and harbor facilities, are responsible for navigating and maneuvering the large ships to their berths. Hampton Roads’ IPS technology, which was pioneered by Volvo Penta, uses steerable pod drives with dual counter-rotating propellers integrated with underwater exhaust. The forward-facing propellers pull the boat through the water rather than pushing.
The Volvo Penta IPS has been consistently shown to provide 20 percent faster speed, 30 percent lower fuel consumption and 15 percent faster acceleration when compared to a traditional inboard shaft system. It also reduces noise and vibration levels onboard by 50 percent.