Palmer Johnson won the 2019 “Project of Significance” award at the annual Hamilton Jet Americans Distributor Conference. We won for partnering with Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry for their new ferry that is currently being built, and will launch in Spring 2020.
4 Reasons this project is significant for all involved:
- First water jet boat for Shepler's.
- First Hamilton Jet ferry project in the US Great Lakes.
- First water jet application for the shipyard, Moran Iron Works.
- One of the first vessels to have the brand new HJ AVX control system.
The propulsion method for Shepler's current fleet is by normal prop shaft and propeller. When the ferries go in and out from the docks in Mackinaw City, MI the pilots are constantly challenged by the lack of water space for moving the ferries.
The Great Lakes can also fluctuate greatly in water depth, meaning their current propellers can hit objects when the water is low. Shepler's Ferries have had challenges with constant repairs of propellers. These are costly repairs over time due to the repair cost itself and more importantly potentially effecting operation times for their customers.
When Shepler's was designing their new ferry they were trying to increase maneuverability, speed and control while decreasing cost of ownership. Hamilton Jet stepped up to the plate with their HM461 water jets in conjunction with Seacraft Design, the naval architect for the project. With this propulsion method, pilots have increased maneuverability in the dock area, essentially they can move the boat sideways. The water jets also work extremely well in shallow areas, reducing repair costs. In addition, the water jets allow the ferry to “get on plane” faster, which helps increase their operation efficiencies and keeps their boats on accurate schedules throughout the day.
Hear from Billy Shepler, Fleet Captain
“When we decided to have a new ferry built for our operation, we came to the conclusion that water jet propulsion will give us better maneuverability around our dock areas, increased efficiencies with our daily ferry schedules, and less down time for repairing damaged propellers. All these items add up to better service for our customers. When it came to deciding on a water jet manufacturer, we chose Hamilton Jet. They have a deep history with water jets, which is what their entire business is built around. They are the experts and we know we'll continue to get great service from them. Their continual support, along with Palmer Johnson Power Systems, during the planning stages, made the process as smooth as possible. We are very excited for our first ever water jet boat, and look forward to her hitting the water for the 2020 season.”