Norfolk boatbuilder wins £3m contract for three new vessels

PUBLISHED: 15:57 24 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:00 24 August 2017

The launch of pilot boat Razorbill at Goodchild Marine. Steve Pierce, left, and Alan Goodchild. Picture: TMS Media

The launch of pilot boat Razorbill at Goodchild Marine. Steve Pierce, left, and Alan Goodchild. Picture: TMS Media

TMS Media

A Norfolk boatbuilder has secured a £3m contract to design and build three pilot boats to operate in UK waters.

Goodchild Marine, based in Burgh Castle, won the long-term contract from Briggs Marine to construct the ORC pilot vessels.

The boats will be based in Liverpool to transport maritime pilots to and from ships sailing in and out of the port.

The first of the three 17-metre boats, Kittiwake, is already in use having finished her sea trials in May. Razorbill, the second, has recently been completed and is due to leave Goodchild Marine in the next few days, while the third will be ready in January.

Alan Goodchild, managing director of Goodchild Marine, said the company relished the opportunity to build boats in line with developing technology.

“With the continuing progress of wind farms, the pilot boat area is moving further offshore so we are making faster, bigger boats that can cope in adverse weather conditions with greater fuel efficiency.”

The company installed an innovative engine and asset managment system on each boat, with real-time monitor and satellite feed relaying information to port, he said.

“Our enthusiasm to incorporate such advanced technology into our designs keeps us ahead of the competition and encourages customers to keep coming back to our yard,” added Mr Goodchild.

Steve Pierce, yard manager, said: “We are proud to have been chosen after a fairly lengthy tendering process.

“Our staff have been working extremely hard to provide three boats that offer the latest up-to-the-minute electronics, safety features and engineering.

“Smaller port operations don’t dictate 17-metre boats so we believe there is a gap in the market for modern fuel-efficient pilot boats of 13.6 metres using the same design we have developed for Briggs Marine.

“We hope to develop that idea and sell it to a wider audience.”

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