2 Mavrik ferries done, 2 more to go


February 21, 2024

passenger ferry undergoes sea trials

Mavrik Marine

TESTING THE WATERS – Mavrik Marine's MV Delphinus has been at its San Francisco port since Feb. 12. For over three months from its November launch in La Conner, it plied the wasters of northern Puget Sound, as in this photo, as its systems and seaworthiness were proven. It passed the test.

The high-speed passenger ferry MV Delphinus has joined the San Francisco Bay Ferry system after breezing through builder trials and two weeks of sea trials that tested speed, endurance and maneuverability in different marine conditions.

The vessel left La Conner on Friday, Feb. 10 and arrived in San Francisco at 9 a.m. Feb. 12. It has been "accepted" by its new owner, Water Emergency Transportation Authority, the operator of the ferry fleet, and will be christened in early March.

The trip down was delayed from Jan. 14, first canceled by a pineapple express and heavy oceans. Continued strong coastal storm systems scratched another January and a Feb. 4 departure.

MV Delphinus is the second of four Dorado-class ferries Mavrik Marine is building for WETA. Each one carries 320 passengers and operates at 32 knots.

The hull and superstructure of the third ferry are about to be "mated" inside Mavrik's larger building and the hull and superstructure for the fourth ferry are under construction. These two ferries will feature quad-engine jet drives rather than the twin-engine jet drives that propel the MV Delphinus and its twin MV Dorado.

"Quad-engine jet drives are more energy efficient and environmentally friendly," said Bailey Shewchuk, president of Mavrik and chairman of its board of directors. Shewchuk stepped into his role after founder Zachery Battle died in November, shortly after the MV Delphinus was moved into the water.

Each ferry has been built in less time. "The processes that we go through become more repeatable," said Shewchuk. "There was a learning curve on MV Dorado, but we refined our processes for MV Delphinus and will refine them again for the next ferries."

That's good, because the market for efficient, high-speed ferries is growing. Environmental Protection Agency regulations for fuel efficiency mean that WETA and other ferry operators must upgrade their fleets. Several large operators will issue requests for proposals for new ferries this year. "That's good for Mavrik and other shipyards across the west coast," said Shewchuk. "We see potential for another 10 to 12 vessels between 2024 and 2030."

Some RFPs may be for electric-powered ferries. Mavrik will rise to the challenge. Its dual- and quad-engine jet drives already come from a third-party vendor, so a supplier for electric jet drives will be easy to find.

Mavrik's enthusiastic workforce is a big asset in the company's success, says Shewchuk. "Quality is our top priority," he said. "At the end of every day what people have accomplished is standing right in front of them. That sense of accomplishment and pride in the quality of the product is infectious.

"We want to be a part of La Conner," he said. "We don't want to be the Starbucks, we want to be the little coffee place on the corner. We are quite happy being a small shipyard in La Conner, producing outstanding boats."


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