The Safe/Sea Newport is the first of the “35 class” of the Safe/Sea fleet. She was custom built in the winter of 2004-2005 by Almar, Inc. of Tacoma, Washington for the specific purpose of providing immediate response towing and salvage services in Narragansett Bay and near-coastal waters. Like all of the Safe/Sea salvage & towing vessels, she’s a rigid hull inflatable; her deep-v hull is welded aluminum with a bolt-on inflatable collar.
Many aspects of the Safe/Sea Newport are key to her exceptional performance and usefulness, but none are more important than her powertrain. She’s powered by twin 370 HP Yanmar 6LY series turbocharged & aftercooled diesel engines, which are coupled to Borg-Warner gears and Hamilton waterjets, giving her an effective range of over 300 nautical miles. The Safe/Sea Newport can achieve a top speed of 40 knots, with a comfortable cruising speed of 33 knots. In the hands of an experienced operator, she can spin in her own length, and even move directly sideways.
The Safe/Sea Newport’s inflatable collar serves two purposes. First, it forms an extremely effective fendering system, as there’s no way to compress the collar enough to collide with the aluminum hull. Second, the collar gives the Newport exceptional stability, especially in steep breaking seas or surf. In fact, the collar carries so much positive floatation that it’s virtually impossible to get a gunwale to “dig-into” a wave enough to cause a capsize.
Here’s the Safe/Sea Newport in action during a major storm in November 2007.