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Pilot boat refit case study: Pilot vessel ‘Providence’ from ABP South Wales – Part 2

Pilot boat refit - ABP South Wales

Pilot boat refit - ABP South WalesPilot boat refit - ABP South Wales

Pilot boat refit – ABP South Wales

Berthon are pleased to announce the completion of a refit carried out on Pilot Boat ‘Providence’

Download the full case study – Pilot boat refit – ABP Providence

Built by VT Halmatic in 1998, the Providence has been in continuous use at ABP South Wales since then. With around 15000 hours under its belt, the boat was beginning to become unreliable and was looking very tired.

(view part 1 of this pilot vessel refit)

Rather than commission a brand new pilot boat, ABP South Wales decided to extend the life of Providence by giving her new machinery and improving the design of several aspects of the boat based on user experiences over the years.

As part of a comprehensive refit, Berthon have fitted or carried out the following:

  • New engines
  • New Exhaust system
  • New electronics
  • New external lighting
  • New shafts
  • Re-conditioned MOB platform
  • Re-built gearboxes
  • Re-conditioned Propellers
  • Re-conditioned steering system
  • Re-design of the Engine room ventilation system
  • Full cut, polish and repair of the hull and Superstructure
  • New carpets and lining

On the initial post refit sea trial, staffed with the Berthons trials team, Providence proved to be light on her feet, achieving nearly 24 knots which was a gain of 2.5 knots over its previous top speed. Providence also ran significantly smoother and quieter with a drastic reduction in diesel consumption at all speeds.

Pilot boat refit - ABP South Wales

providence new radar search lights

Pilot boat refit - ABP South Wales

providence helm position upgrades

“We decided to refit Providence rather than build a new vessel. Providence was favoured by her crew but let down by ageing machinery and reliability issues and the ships systems were prone to regular failures. Berthon won the tender and proved to be pro-active and keen at all times. They were able to draw from a skilled workforce and complete all the work in-house at their excellent facilities in Lymington. They were able to manage and complete all work in the contract to a high standard and Providence is now good for a further 10-15 years. The new engines make a fuel saving of 20 litres per hour of operation and the reliability of the craft continues to give us peace of mind. Berthon’s thorough approach to aftercare has been impressive too”

Dan Brown – Operational Maintenance Supervisor, APB South Wales.

“At Berthon, we understand the rigours of a pilot vessels life well. Associated British Ports pilot boats have a busy schedule, so reducing downtime was absolutely key to the success of the project. This was a life extension refit and, from the outset, we scheduled the work to ensure that downtime was kept to an absolute minimum. The major risks to any project timeline are generally centred around sub-contracted work elements. We were able to completely eliminate outsourcing risk by completing all the work in our commercial shed using Berthon’s skilled workforce. We place great emphasis on training and up-skilling here, we also have marine apprentices learning on the job all the time. It means that that if any issues arise with the interfacing of the new machinery, for example, they can quickly be engineered out in-house. All work was carried out to a high standard by people that really do understand workboats. We were delighted to have worked with ABP to breathe new life into Providence”

Ian Stables – Senior Project Manager, Berthon Boat Co.

Providence once again looks fresh and ready for many years more service with ABP South Wales.

providence new engine installprovidence props shafts rudder
providence wheel house upgradesprovidence engine mounts
providence steering system upgradesprovidence engine room detail

Pilot boat refit - ABP South Wales

Sending a commercial boat for refit can result in significant benefits to the end users:

  • Lighter and more economical machinery
    • Reduced fuel costs
    • Higher maintainable boat speeds
    • Ability to match the engines rating to the user profile
  • Modernising navigation equipment on the helm and crew consoles
  • Modernising safety equipment
  • Adjusting wheelhouse/accommodation layout to better suit operations
  • Extend the life of a favoured hull and superstructure
  • Minimal re-training of crew post re-fit
  • Huge reduction in expenditure compared to commissioning a new craft


Berthon will be pleased to discuss your requirements refits and maintenance or general information on this case study.

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