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65ft x 21.5' x 9.25ft Aluminium Catamaran Research Vessel


New 65 ft. Aluminum Research Vessel for Florida State University

The 65 ft. Research Vessel APALACHEE was recently delivered to the Coastal & Marine Lab at Florida State University (  The Lab is located on the Gulf of Mexico in St. Teresa, FL, about 45 miles south of the main campus in Tallahassee, Florida.  APALACHEE is an aluminum catamaran built by Geo Shipyard, New Iberia, LA.

Preliminary Design, Bid Documents and Construction Support Services were furnished by DeJong & Lebet, Inc., Naval Architects, Jacksonville, Florida.  DeJong & Lebet, Inc. assisted the FSUCML  in analyzing the most suitable vessel design based on the Lab's requirements,  then prepared a Bid Package which was provided to several shipyards to prepare proposals for consideration by FSU.  D&L  worked closely with Dr. Felicia Coleman, Director of the FSU Coastal & Marine Lab, and Capt. Rosanne Weglinski, Research Vessel Captain at the Lab.

Geo Shipyard was the successful bidder on the project.  Geo's past construction projects have included several aluminum catamarans similar to APALACHEE.  Detail Design services for the shipyard were provided by Fyffe Yachts, Kemah, TX.  It took approximately one year to design and construct the vessel.  Andy Lebet, President of DeJong & Lebet, Inc. met with FSUCML personnel at the shipyard periodically during construction, as well as reviewing the construction plans.

APALACHEE is certified under Subchapter T of the U.S. Coast Guard regulations, with a stability letter   for 44 passengers plus 4 crew on exposed waters, and also carries a Research Vessel designation.  She is powered by a pair of John Deere 6135 diesel engines, each rated for 500 HP @1900 rpm, connected to Twin Disc MGX-5114 gears.  Propellers are ZF four-blade Nibral  KCA model.  The Twin Disc MGX gears were chosen for their ability to provide low speed maneuvering, a critical feature for operation as a research vessel.

The vessel achieved a top speed of 24.5 knots in a light condition during sea trials.

Electrical power is provided by a pair of Northern Lights 30 kW generator sets.

The vessel features a wet lab, dry lab, full galley and mess table, and permanent accommodations for 5 crew, as well as the capability to support extra crew on overnight trips.  She can carry up to 2 long tons of cargo, winches, containers, equipment, etc. on the aft main deck for the various research projects.  The deckhouse, pilothouse and dry lab are fully heated and air-conditioned, and feature high quality custom built cabinetry & finishes.

Some of the Design Features of the APALACHEE include:

  • Hydraulic A-frame

  • 2-Ton Hydraulic Knuckleboom Crane

  • Aft control station overlooking the aft working deck

  • 2nd Deck trawl winch

  • Swing davit for water sampling

  • Outriggers

  • Welded in threaded tie-down point grid on the aft deck

  • Fold-down dive platforms with built-in steps to the main deck and fold-down ladders for water access

  • (2) 12-man inflatable life rafts

  • 450 Gallon Per Day Watermaker

  • Main Deck aft 240 V. electrical outlet for dive-air compressor or other portable deck equipment

  • 6.75 Ton Air Conditioning/Reverse Cycle Heat pump HVAC System

Principal Characteristics of the vessel are as follows:

  • Length overall:  64'-9”

  • Beam:  21'-6”

  • Depth Amidship:  9'-3”

  • Normal Full Load Operating Draft:  4'-6”

  • Maximum Draft:  5'-10”

  • Fuel Capacity:  2,500 gallons

  • Potable Water Capacity:  325 gallons

  • Black Water Capacity:  325 gallons

Major Equipment suppliers for the vessel include:

  • Main Engines:  John Deere

  • Generators:  Northern Lights

  • Marine Gears & Engine Controls:  Twin Disc

  • Propellers:  ZF Marine

  • Thrust Bearing:  Aquadrive

  • Windows:  Wynne Enterprises

  • Doors:  Beclawat

  • Steering System:  Kobelt

  • Main Switchboard:  Gems, Inc.

  • Distribution Panels:  PanelTronics

  • Winch Rebuild:  Coastal Marine Equipment

  • Crane:  ESI/HydraPro

  • HVAC:  Cruiseair/Dometic

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