149 Pax High Speed Ferry

Private Entity, Draft — June 30, 2008

Introduction

The vessel was constructed in 2005 and is a catamaran style passenger-only ferry which is certified to carry a maximum of 149 passengers. The ferry has two passenger decks and has a service speed of approximately 25 knots. The main deck is the entry deck.

  • Main Deck — The main deck is approximately 72 feet long and 27 feet wide. Passengers embark and disembark the ferry over 99 percent of the time from two crew operated hinged gates at the bow and less than 1 percent of the time1 from two crew operated sliding gates (one on each side of the vessel near the stern). An enclosed cabin occupies most of the main deck and contains fixed passenger seating, a snack bar and two wheelchair spaces with companion seats. Two forward doors connect the seating cabin with the uncovered bow area which is open to passengers when the vessel is underway. Also, two rear doors connect the cabin with the uncovered area at the stern which is also open to passengers when underway. In the stern area, a sliding door provides access to the single-user toilet room and an uncovered stair connects the second deck.

figure149-1
Figure 1. Main Deck — Original Design

  • Second Deck — The second deck is approximately 31 feet long and 22 feet wide (around 578 square feet) and is located over the main deck enclosed seating area. The only enclosed space on this deck is the pilot house which is restricted to crew only. Fixed seating is provided on this deck and a stair at the aft end of the deck connects the main deck.

figure149-2
Figure 2. Second Deck — Original Design

Methodology

A representative of the Access Board reviewed the original designs of the vessel with a representative2 of the ferry to identify passenger features that would not meet the 2006 draft passenger vessel accessibility guidelines3. The ferry representative proposed new designs for the passenger features that would meet the draft guidelines and estimated how much the new designs would add to a new vessel’s construction cost.

The ferry representative reported that the cost to construct the original vessel was approximately $2.5 million in 2005. The ferry representative estimated the cost for constructing the vessel based on the original designs to be approximately $2.6 million in 2006 dollars. Because of the seating impacts, the ferry representative provided estimates for two options for the new designs.

Option 1 — Based on the footprint of the vessel not changing, this option resulted in the cabin losing seven fixed seats and the starboard side stern door, and making it more difficult to use the storage space under the stern stair. The ferry representative estimated an annual loss of $112,000 in passenger revenue would occur due to the loss of the seven fixed seats. Under this option, the ferry representative estimated that the proposed designs to meet the draft guidelines would add from $37,000 to $58,000 to the vessel’s construction costs, or a 1.4 to 2.2 percent increase.

Option 2 — The option increased the length of the vessel by three feet to return the cabin seating area to 96 seats (actually 99 could be provided). The ferry representative estimated the cost of the vessel would increase by $257,000 to $398,000, an increase of 10 to 15 percent. Excluding the one time redesign cost, the increase would be $77,000 to $138,000, or about 3 to 5.3 percent. It is possible with an increase in cabin seating additional revenue may cover the increase in annual operating expenses noted below.

If the vessel maintains the current service speed of 25 knots, option 2 is estimated to increase annual fuel consumption by 6.6 percent which equates to 4,260 gallons (at $2.67/gallon equals an $11,374 increase). This also increases annual engine maintenance expenses by $25,000. If the vessel maintains the same engine output (same RPM) which would slow the vessel by 0.55 knots because of the added vessel weight and therefore increase the travel time between stops, option 2 is estimated to increase fuel consumption by 3 percent which equates to 2,105 gallons (at $2.67/gallon equals an $5,620 increase). This also increases annual engine maintenance expenses by $10,000 to $15,000.

Actions taken on features in the original vessel designs to create designs meeting the draft guidelines for a new vessel are discussed below. The case study sought to identify actions that: 1) have significant impacts, 2) incurred additional costs but did not have significant impacts, or 3) have other outcomes which should be noted.

An action is identified as having a significant impact where the redesign of the feature would add more than 0.5 percent to vessel’s construction costs; would substantially reduce the vessel’s usable space or necessitate an increase in the vessel’s size; or would present major operational issues. An action is identified as incurring an additional cost but not having a significant impact where a specific cost can be attributed to the redesign of a feature but it does not meet the criteria for a significant impact.

Actions That Have Significant Impacts

1. Seating Areas

The vessel has two seating areas on the two decks with a total of 146 fixed seats. The main deck cabin contains 96 fixed seats with armrests (which includes two fold-down seats without armrests), and the second deck contains 50 exterior seats with armrests. Two aisles running fore/aft divide the cabin into three seating sections. In the center seating section, a small-low table divides each of the seven (four seat) rows in half (i.e., two seats on each side of a table). Therefore, 14 of the 96 cabin seats are at tables. Between the two bow entry doors (a distance of 104 inches), two wheelchair spaces are provided in the cabin seating area with two adjacent seats which can fold up to provide a third wheelchair space. When wheelchairs must be connected to forward bulkhead (wall) securement devices, wheelchairs would be positioned facing aft.

Although the ferry at times functions as a tour boat, the draft guidelines would classify the two seating areas on this vessel as transportation seating areas. V106.5 and V221.1 Exception. Based on 146 fixed seats in the vessel, the draft guidelines would require three wheelchair spaces be provided and be located in the cabin seating area (as no vertical access is provided to the second deck seating area) and at least one must be at a table. V222.3.3. The draft guidelines require the wheelchair spaces to be dispersed in the seating area but can be dispersed in groups of two. V222.3.3 Exception.

Forward Cabin Wheelchair Spaces — The ferry representative proposed in the new designs to move the two fold-down seats mounted on the cabin’s forward bulkhead toward the starboard side cabin door. This allowed space for two adjacent wheelchair spaces (each 33 inches by 60 inches), with side approach, next to the portside cabin door. One wheelchair space, nearest the centerline of the vessel, would be approached from the starboard side fore/aft aisle (pass the two fold-down seats) and the other would be approached from the portside fore/aft aisle. When the two fold-down seats are in the up position4 , a 36 inch wide path connects the centerline wheelchair space. This action is estimated to have an insignificant impact on the cost of the new vessel. Although the wheelchair spaces when occupied would prohibit passengers from using the two seats in the forward row of the center seating section, this is less than the original layout which impacted three or four seats.5

figure149-3 

Figure 3. Aft Cabin

figure149-4 

Figure 4. Forward Cabin

Table Wheelchair Space — The ferry representative proposed in the new designs to add a 17 inch deep table (with complying knee and toe clearances) to the above centerline wheelchair space. As the table is supported by the forward bulkhead, no table legs would interfere with users approaching the wheelchair space from the two fold-up seats. This action is estimated to have an insignificant impact on the cost of the new vessel and have an insignificant impact (due to the table projection) on passenger movement between the two forward cabin doors when the two wheelchair spaces are unoccupied.

After Cabin Wheelchair Space — The issue of providing a wheelchair space in the after part of the cabin triggered the greatest concern when combining its impact with the loss of three seats due to door maneuvering clearance requirements (discussed below). In providing one more wheelchair space6 , the ferry representative had to weigh the impact (option 1) of losing four more seats and related passenger revenue on the multitude of short and long routes and services, versus (option 2) increasing the vessel length with its related increase in fuel expenses and construction costs to not lose the four cabin seats and also gain back seats lost due to the door maneuvering clearance requirements. Ultimately, due to the complexities in making difficult business decision, and the time and resource constraints of this case study, the ferry representative could not choose between the two options and recommended both be included in the case study report.

Option 1 — Based on the footprint of the vessel not changing, the ferry representative estimated the service would lose approximately $12,340 in annual ticketing revenue and another $3,750 in annual snack bar revenue per lost seat. Therefore, the four seats loss, due to the one aft cabin wheelchair space, are estimated to cost the ferry service about $64,360 in annual revenue. Combined with the loss of three fixed seats to provide maneuvering clearances at the two forward cabin doors and one stern door (see door maneuvering clearances and thresholds section #3 below) which represents an additional estimated revenue loss of $48,000, a total annual revenue loss of $112,000 is estimated. Replacing the seven tables in the center seating section with seats is not a choice due to the positive customer response regarding their availability and the competitive distinction the tables provide. During discussions, the following seating variables were noted which impact the ability of this private ferry service to attract and retain customers.

  • The length of the routes customers travel.
  • The customer expectations to be able to sit down or the need to sit down.
  • The degree hot, cold, and rainy weather conditions increase the demand for interior seating on particular routes.
  • Expectations as a ferry customer could be different from customers using the vessel as a tour boat or for a corporate event.
  • To what degree can dissatisfied customers use other competing sources/modes of transportation and recreation.

Option 2 — The ferry representative estimated that lengthening the vessel by three feet would add 10 seats which would restore all the lost seats and end up with a net gain of three seats. However, this action would:

  • Increase the main deck square footage by 4.2 percent at a cost of $50,000 to $100,000 for materials and labor, and a one time redesign cost of $180,000 to $260,000, for a total cost increase of $230,000 to $360,000, excluding some access improvements.
  • Increase the total vessel cost by an additional $27,000 to $38,000 for access improvements not incorporated into the 3 foot extension work which were made in option 1.
  • Increase annual fuel consumption — If the vessel maintains the current service speed of 25 knots, option 2 is estimated to increase annual fuel consumption by 6.6 percent which equates to 4,260 gallons (at $2.67/gallon equals an $11,374 increase). This also increases annual engine maintenance expenses by $25,000. However, if the vessel maintains the same engine output (same RPM) which would slow the vessel by 0.55 knots because of the added vessel weight and therefore increase the travel time between stops, option 2 is estimated to increase fuel consumption by 3 percent which equates to 2,105 gallons (at $2.67/gallon equals an $5,620 increase). This also increases annual engine maintenance expenses by $10,000 to $15,000.
  • Increase seating by three seats (99 total seats in the cabin) and would potentially increase revenue to possibly cover the above increases in annual operating expenses.

Actions That Incur Additional Costs But Do Not Have Significant Impacts

2. Ceiling and Door Heights, and Ceiling Grab Rails

The main deck cabin has a ceiling height of about 79 inches. Within the cabin, two grab rails are mounted on the ceiling (one along the inboard side of the two fore/aft seating aisles) and are about 75 inches off the deck surface. Aisle access ways run beneath the grab rails and connect the seats in the center of the cabin to the two fore/aft aisles. The four exterior doors of the cabin have vertical clearances of about 76 inches. Door closers reduce the door openings to about 75 inches at the hinge sides. The draft guidelines require all passenger circulation paths to have vertical clearances of 80 inches minimum, but door closers and door stops are permitted to be 78 inches minimum above the deck surface. V204 and V307.4.

The ferry representative proposed in the new designs to raise the ceiling height to 80 inches, and modify the ceiling mounted grab rails7 , so that the rails are not continuous and are not located over the aisle access ways8. The new designs are also proposed to have vertical clearances of 79.5 inches beneath the door stops and 79 inches beneath the door closures. The ferry representative estimates that raising the ceiling will not have an impact on the stability of the vessel, its air draft, and the number of passengers permitted on the second deck. These actions are estimated to increase the cost of the new designs by $6,000 to $10,000 for grab rail changes and $5,000 to $10,000 for the door and other ceiling changes.

3. Door Maneuvering Clearances and Thresholds

Passenger circulation paths (including doors and entry gates) on the main deck which connect the bow entry point and entry points near the stern have clear widths of at least 36 inches. The bow and stern entry points also function as the evacuation stations9 of the vessel. From the main deck cabin, two exterior doors serve the bow and two serve the stern. All four are equipped with closing devices and passenger operated latches. To meet the accessible route requirements, the draft guidelines require in the new vessel design that at least one door at the bow and stern be accessible. V206.2.3 and V206.4.

In addition, to meet the accessible means of escape requirements, one additional door at the bow must be accessible10 . V207.2. These three doors which are part of an accessible route or accessible means of escape need additional space for maneuvering clearances and lower thresholds.

Maneuvering Clearances — At the two bow doors, the ferry representative proposed in the new designs to remove one fixed seat from the first cabin seating rows on the outboard side of each door (two seats total11 ) to provide the necessary 12 inches of latch side clearance on the push side of the doors. On the pull side, the bike storage facilities are proposed to be moved to provide the 18 inches of latch side clearance.

For the portside stern door, on the pull side (exterior), because of engineering complications in addressing engine room ventilation, the door is proposed to be shifted in the new designs toward the starboard side about six inches to provide the 18 inches of latch side clearance. On the push side of the door (interior), one fixed seat is proposed to be removed to provide 12 inches of latch side clearance. Due to the six inch shifting of the portside stern door and the need to widen the toilet room (discussed below), the starboard side stern door is proposed to be removed from the new designs. Therefore, in the new designs, only one door to the stern is proposed to be provided. The ferry representative noted passenger circulation complications by only having one stern door, but the impact to make the vessel wider was unacceptable, particularly regarding fuel consumption12 . The ferry representative also noted that the second stern door is not required by the US Coast Guard for means of escape purposes.

Thresholds13 - At the three cabin doors, the ferry representative proposed to provide thresholds ½ inch high with beveled sides. A specialized gasket material would control leakage at these weathertight doors. In addition, mud/drainage pans on the inside of the doors (which exist in the original designs) are proposed to be modified so as not to create a change in level within the door maneuvering clearances.

The ferry representative estimated the action to change the thresholds at these three doors would increase the cost of the new designs by $12,000 (about $4,000 per door). An estimate regarding the maneuvering clearances is not provided, as its estimated cost is included in the work related to providing wheelchair spaces in the forward part of the vessel and work related to the toilet room, and snack bar in the after part of the vessel.

4. Life Jacket Storage

The only passenger storage facilities on the vessel are for life jackets. Life jackets accessed by passengers are stored under each passenger seat in the vessel and, intended to be accessed only by crew, in lockers at the bow and stern. The draft guidelines require that one of each type of storage facility used by passengers be accessible in each space provided with passenger storage facilities. V225.2. The ferry representative proposed in the new designs, in the cabin at the port bow door, to replace the two outboard seats in the first row with one life jacket storage locker which complies with the draft guidelines. The lockers would have an aft facing hinged lid, set at a height of 24 inches off the deck surface, which could also function as two “high” bench seats. In addition, a similar accessible locker is proposed to be added to the second deck seating area14 . The ferry representative estimated the cost of these actions would be minimal and would be included in the estimates provided for other actions in those areas.

figure149-55. Snack Bar

The service counter for the snack bar has a height of 42 inches. The draft guidelines require in the new designs that a 36 inch long portion of the service counter be no higher than 36 inches when set up for a parallel approach. V227.3 and 904.4.1. The ferry representative proposed in the new designs to provide the accessible service counter at the part of the counter which faces the bow. Because of the stair shifting toward the starboard side and eliminating the starboard stern door, the ferry representative also proposed in the new designs to shift the employee counter opening to the portside of the snack bar. With the shifting of the stair, the storage area beneath the stair is not as readily usable by snack bar attendants and the microwave and coffee machine had to be moved. The ferry representative could not assign a value to this reduction in storage space usability and contemplated returning the employee counter opening to the portside, although quick movement by the snack bar attendant to the stern area may necessitate the opening being on the port side. (For estimated cost of the snack bar action see toilet room discussion below.)

6. Toilet Room

figure149-6The toilet room is accessed through a sliding door from the exterior area at the stern of the vessel. The toilet room is about 90 inches long and 49 inches wide. The draft guidelines require in the new designs that this toilet room be accessible and require a portion to have minimum clear width of 60 inches to contain the clearance required for the water closet and turning space. V213.2, V603.2.1 and V604.3.1. The ferry representative proposed to increase the width of the toilet room. Because of clearance restrictions at the portside stern door, the toilet room is proposed in the new designs to be widened toward the starboard side which pushed the second deck stair to the starboard side. This action blocked the starboard side stern door which was then proposed to not be included in the new designs. The ferry representative estimated the actions regarding the toilet room, snack bar, and stair shift increased the cost of the new designs by $5,000 to $10,000.

7. Assistive Listening System

Because the vessel at times functions as a touring vessel, the 146 assembly seats are provided with amplified communication over the public address system which is integral to the use of the seating areas. The draft guidelines require an assistive listening system (ALS) be provided and that includes six receivers, two of which are hearing-aid compatible. V219.2 and V219.3. It is estimated a permanently installed ALS which would serve the seating areas on the main and second deck and the necessary number of receivers would cost $4,000 to $6,000.

Other Outcomes

8. Accessible Route Between Decks

The main deck and second deck are connected only by a stair at the stern. As the second deck is not an entry deck, the draft guidelines do not require an elevator or other means of vertical access to the second deck. V206.2.1 Exception 1.

9. Stair

The stair to the second deck has treads and risers which equates to a stair slope of about 39 degrees. Where decks are connected by stairs and the decks are not connected by a means of vertical access, the draft guidelines require the stairs to be accessible and have a riser height and tread depth which equates to a slope of about 32.5 degrees. V209 and V502. However, as all decks of this vessel are less than 3,000 square feet, the draft guidelines do not require a change to be made to the stair in the new designs15 . V209.1 Exception 3.

10. Passenger Boarding System

The case study did not evaluate the impact of the draft guidelines on the passenger boarding system used at the various places passengers would embark and disembark the vessel.

11. Fuel Consumption and Vessel Stability Impacts

The ferry representative estimated compliance with the draft guidelines would not have an impact on the stability, and air draft of the new vessel, nor impact the number of passengers permitted on the second deck. As noted in the seating discussion above, if the vessel had to be made longer under option 2 to regain most of the lost seats, the lengthening of the vessel by three feet is estimated to increase fuel consumption.

If the vessel maintains the current service speed of 25 knots, option 2 is estimated to increase annual fuel consumption by 6.6 percent which equates to 4,260 gallons (at $2.67/gallon equals an $11,374 increase). This also increases annual engine maintenance expenses by $25,000. If the vessel maintains the same engine output (same RPM) which would slow the vessel by 0.55 knots because of the added vessel weight and therefore increase the travel time between stops, option 2 is estimated to increase fuel consumption by 3 percent which equates to 2,105 gallons (at $2.67/gallon equals an $5,620 increase). This also increases annual engine maintenance expenses by $10,000 to $15,000.

Summary

The ferry representative estimated the cost for constructing the vessel based on the original designs to be approximately $2.6 million in 2006 dollars. Because of the seating impacts, the ferry representative provided estimates for two options for the new designs.

Option 1 — Based on the footprint of the vessel not changing, the option resulted in the cabin losing seven fixed seats and the starboard side stern door, and making it more difficult to use the storage space under the stern stair. The ferry representative estimated an annual loss of $112,000 in passenger revenue would occur due to the loss of the seven fixed seats. Under this option, the ferry representative estimated that the proposed designs to meet the draft guidelines would add from $37,000 to $58,000 to the vessel’s construction costs, or a 1.4 to 2.2 percent increase. Costs are summarized below.

Raising cabin ceiling and door heights

$5,000 to 10,000

Threshold changes at three exterior doors

$12,000

Make Grab Rails Along Center Seating Section Intermediate

$6,000 to $10,000

Other Changes in the Forward Part of the Ferry
(seating, door maneuvering clearances, life jacket box)

$5,000 to $10,000

Other Changes in the After Part of Ferry
(toilet room, stair, snack bar, door maneuvering clearances)

$5,000 to $10,000

Providing an Assistive Listening System

$4,000 to $6,000

Total

$37,000 to 58,000

Option 2 — This option increased the length of the vessel by three feet to return the cabin seating area to 96 seats (actually 99 could be provided). The ferry representative estimated the cost of the vessel would increase by $257,000 to $398,000, an increase of 10 to 15 percent. Excluding the one time redesign cost, the increase would be $77,000 to $138,000, or about 3 to 5.3 percent. It is possible with an increase in cabin seating additional revenue may cover the increase in annual operating expenses noted below. Costs are summarized below

Redesign of Vessel to Add 3 Feet

$180,000 to 260,000

Adding 3 Feet

$50,000 to 100,000

Raising cabin ceiling and door heights

$5,000 to 10,000

Threshold changes at three exterior doors

$12,000

Make Grab Rails Along Center Seating Section Intermediate

$6,000 to $10,000

Providing an Assistive Listening System

$4,000 to $6,000

Total

$257,000 to 398,000

If the vessel maintains the current service speed of 25 knots, option 2 is estimated to increase annual fuel consumption by 6.6 percent which equates to 4,260 gallons (at $2.67/gallon equals an $11,374 increase). This also increases annual engine maintenance expenses by $25,000. If the vessel maintains the same engine output (same RPM) which would slow the vessel by 0.55 knots because of the added vessel weight and therefore increase the travel time between stops, option 2 is estimated to increase fuel consumption by 3 percent which equates to 2,105 gallons (at $2.67/gallon equals an $5,620 increase). This also increases annual engine maintenance expenses by $10,000 to $15,000.


1 The side gates are used by passengers primarily when the vessel is chartered out and embarking passengers at piers other then the ferry piers.

2 Although the report notes decisions made by the ferry representative, it should be noted that the Access Board hired a consultant (acceptable to the ferry representative) to provide most impact information (including cost estimates) which was used by the ferry representative in the case study decision making process.

3 The 2006 draft guidelines, as amended by Board action at the 2007 and April 2008 meetings.

4 As the fold-down seats have springs that keep them up when unoccupied, no force operating requirements in V205 apply to the seats.

5 Figure 4 shows one seat near the maneuvering clearance for each bow door which may actually extend into the maneuvering clearance but the case study assumes it is not required to be removed.

6 The ferry representative questioned the need for three wheelchair spaces as he could not recall a situation when more than two wheelchair spaces were needed and noted that passengers use the aisles and are not restricted to seats when underway.

7 Bad weather may place all 149 passengers in the main deck cabin which means many passengers are standing in the two aisles and need the grab rails for stability due to the motion of the vessel.

8 Aisle access ways are the circulation paths which run in front of the fixed seats and are perpendicular to the two fore/aft aisles.

9 Evacuation station is defined in V106.5 as the end point in a path of escape travel on a passenger vessel and evacuation stations include life boat embarkation stations, life raft embarkation stations, or other places where passengers depart the vessel in an emergency.

10 The US Coast Guard only requires one means of escape from the main deck cabin to the stern and one to the bow. However, because of the location of the bow-centerline wheelchair space cabin and its entry from the starboard side, a second door to the bow must be part of an accessible means of escape. V207.2, V410.1.1, V802.1.4 and V802.1.5.

11 See footnote 5.

12 Making the vessel 4 feet wider is estimated to increase fuel consumption by approximately 9 percent if current speed is maintained, or by 4 percent if current engine RPMs are maintained and the vessel traveled 0.75 knots slower but travel time between stops increased. Other construction related costs increased between $280,000 and $421,000.

13 The doors are not required by the US Coast Guard to have coamings but must be weathertight.

14 Although vertical access is not required to the second deck, other requirements of the draft guidelines still apply to that deck and section V225 would require at least one accessible life jacket locker.

15 As the stair is open to the weather, section V410.2 Exception 3 does not require this stair to comply with V502 even though it is part of an accessible means of escape required by V207 connecting the two decks.