June 1999 - WORKBOAT MAGAZINE "Willard Building FRP semi-submersible"
Willard Marine is constructing a 65'x16'6"x6' semisubmersible passenger vessel for Island Enterprises, Inc. Inc., Catalina Island, Calif. The 49-passenger underwater viewing boat is the first semisubmersible built completely of fiberglass reinforced plastic, according to Willard Marine spokesman, Jack Hochadel.
"It's just not going to deteriorate," he said, "We're making this boat out of real high-strength fiberglass. There's no corrosion and little maintenance."
Yet what has Catalina's president, Jeff Stickler, excited is what will be going on inside the vessel.
"This new addition to our fleet will be a state-of-the-art attraction for underwater viewing, including a Hollywood-type, high-tech underway program on a large plasma flat screen with surround sound and 18,000 watts of halogen lamps for night viewing," said Stickler.
"Also unique are the fish feeding mechanisms which will disperse fish food with torpedo-like action at each of the 24 large 26-inch diameter underwater windows."
The boat will be delivered in May and in between Avalon and Catalina. The delivery is designed to coincide with the start of the high tourist season. The new boat will also support the weekly island visits by cruise ships.
Twin Detroit Diesel 4-53 engines, each producing 100 hp at 2,400 rpm, will handle main propulsion duties. They'll be connected to 3-bladed bronze propellers with 27" pitch. The connections between mains and props will be made through the water at about 7 knots. Ship's service power will be handled by a Detroit Diesel 4-71TI, producing an electronics package