Campbell River's Daigle Marine ‘understands’ big port’s needs

Steve Daigle (left), owner of Daigle Welding and Marine, along with Chris Wellstood, director of marine operations for Port Metro Vancouver, stand on the bow of one of two two patrol vessels Daigle is building for Canada’s biggest and busiest port. - Paul Rudan/The Mirror
Steve Daigle (left), owner of Daigle Welding and Marine, along with Chris Wellstood, director of marine operations for Port Metro Vancouver, stand on the bow of one of two two patrol vessels Daigle is building for Canada’s biggest and busiest port.
— image credit: Paul Rudan/The Mirror

Building new patrol boats isn’t all about outfitting them with the latest technology and gadgetry.

The proper gear and electronics are always important, but when you’re working 12-hour days on the water, the “little things” like comfort and visibility are critical for the crew.

“We have actual head room – you don’t have to duck to get into the cabin,” says Jason Krott, a boat master with Port Metro Vancouver (PMV). “But what I like most of all is the visibility!”

Since late summer Krott has been in charge of an extended patrol duty of a different kind. He’s been driving to Campbell River weekly to inspect and advise on the building of two new 43-foot aluminum patrol vessels at Daigle Welding and Marine.

“I’ve been here every week…and I like everything about them,” says Krott, standing in the cabin of one boat.

Daigle won the contract from PMV last year to design and build the patrol vessels. The boats are already half-built and are due to be delivered to Canada’s largest port in April .

Daigle’s in-house design-and-build team along with its proven history of constructing safe and reliable vessels were key factors in PMV selecting the Campbell River company. It has built two new patrol vessels for the Port of Nanaimo and another for Vancouver Police.

“It’s obvious they understand our needs and the need for the latest technology,” says Peter Xotta, PMV’s vice-president of planning and operations.

The Daigle team has been secretly building the two boats since late summer, but was finally allowed to reveal details last week. The announcement culminated with Friday’s luncheon reception at the Royal Coachman, hosted by PMV and the Campbell River Chamber of Commerce, followed by a tour of the Daigle facility and the new boats.

“This whole media event is a big surprise…it’s overwhelming,” owner Steve Daigle tells the gathering of business people and most of city council at the reception. “I want to thank Port Metro

Vancouver for their confidence (in us)…they’re great to work with.”

At the Daigle office and factory, just north of the Campbell River bridge, workers continue welding aluminum and outfitting the gleaming new vessels. They will each be fitted with two 500-horsepower diesel engines, 16-kilowatt generators, an array of equipment, and the latest in communications, navigational and video equipment, including forward looking infrared cameras.

The end products will allow PMV patrol crews to safely and quickly respond to callouts and incidents in its 640 kilometres of jurisdiction throughout the waterways of greater Vancouver.

However, for a big guy like Krott, it’s the head room and visibility that will make a big difference on those 12-hour shifts.

“These are designed as long-duration patrol vessels – you will be able to spend a whole day on these boats without it being onerous,” he says with a smile and a look of anticipation.


Fast Facts:

  • The new 43-foot patrol vessels for Port Metro Vancouver are powered by two twin Volvo D9-500 Diesel engines with ZF 265 IV transmissions.
  • The complete steering gear and control systems will also be made-in-B.C. by Jastram Engineering of North Vancouver.
  • The patrol boats are expected to be ready for sea trials in April.
  • The patrol boats will be used for escort duties, traffic control, observation, police and fire emergencies, and to help remove derelict vessels.
  • In 2011 and 2012, Daigle Marine built and delivered two new patrol boats to the Nanaimo Port Authority: the 32-foot NPA Eagle and the 39-foot NPA Osprey.
  • For more than 20 years, Daigle has built 775 aluminum vessels for pleasure, fishing, research, patrol, tour operators, crew and water taxis.
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