Nanaimo Port Authority (NPA) has invested $1.1 million acquiring two specially commissioned harbour patrol launches designed and built by Eagle Craft, a Division of Daigle Welding and Marine of Campbell River, B.C., to replace two 20-year old vessels. The Port Authority patrols the federally defined harbour and river estuary to help marine users with navigational safety and security.

The vessels are keeping an eye on marine activity, ensuring Transport Canada regulations are followed as prescribed by the Canada Marine Act, the Marine Transportation Security Regulations, and NPA’s Practices and Procedures. The vessels supervise deep sea vessels that enter the harbour, enforcing harbour control and safety zones for work on berths, sporting events, and fireworks displays, and providing Marine Ambulance service for vessels and residents located on the islands in and around the harbours limits. In addition, they provide Mutual Aid to the City of Nanaimo Fire Department for fires located near the shore and on the water, and provide contracted pilot transfers from the designated Pilot Boarding Station, and anchorages.

Extensive tests were conducted on the first in class NPA Eagle, and improvements to the design incorporated into the build of her near-sister vessel, NPA Osprey. The second vessel, NPA Osprey, has recently been upgraded with additional firefighting capabilities. The design of NPA Osprey was used to develop two additional nearly identical vessels for use by Port Metro Vancouver.

Benefits of the new versus the old include substantially reduced fuel consumption and exhaust emissions, reduced wash wave generation, much easier maintenance – one set of critical spare parts for both launches, improved reliability and up-time using innovative engineering to design out known sources of equipment failure, and improved operational performance because the launches were designed for their specific purposes.

The design of the new launches is the product of two years of joint research and development, aimed at meeting the needs of multiple missions. NPA Eagle is a 32-foot vessel with a top speed of 34 knots. NPA Osprey is a 39-foot vessel with a top speed of 26 knots. Both are equipped with firefighting systems, night vision equipment, and the latest navigational and communications equipment.

The Port Authority has had an excellent working relationship with the Daigle team in creating and maintaining a successful product that meet its multi-faceted requirements. NPA Eagle’s parent design has been successfully utilized by a variety of users such as Canadian Boarder Services Agency (which conducted patrolling duties during the 2010 Olympics), whale watching, and the Aqua Farms industry located in B.C. The new launches have replaced the NHP II and the port security boat, two well-used boats that were quite different from each other.