Damen is set to launch its first composite Water Bus as the prototype undergoes sea trials in the next few weeks.

Damen say that customers will benefit from reduced fuel consumption, less maintenance, no corrosion or fatigue problems, and at the same time, the Damen Water Bus is very robust. Besides safety and efficiency, the new Water Bus has also been designed to limit noise and vibrations, making it much more comfortable for passengers.

Marcel Elenbaas, Damen Design & Proposal Engineer – Fast Ferries, comments: “This is a prototype for the first of the new generation Damen Water Bus. We believe in this new composite vessel and the benefits it offers to clients. The Damen Water Bus is the best fit for highly congested urban areas, providing a simple and efficient way of making use of natural waterways, and consequently integrating into the public transport network. Hence the reason we took the decision to invest in developing this new series.”

The Damen Water Bus has a slender hull, less weight than a traditional aluminium vessel and low resistance, producing only a low wake and ensuring the vessel is fuel efficient. It can travel at up to 21 knots or 40 km per hour. The highly manoeuvrable vessel has a capacity up to 100 passengers.

The vessel can easily be adapted to specific customer requirements, and the selected composites’ production process facilitates a swift delivery to clients. This next generation Water Bus is also very strong because it is built with high quality vacuum infusion technology, creating a ‘difficult to penetrate closed cell, epoxy sandwich structure’, he stresses.

Passenger comfort has also been given priority in the new design. The Damen Water Bus is equipped with two, forward facing, double-screw podded propulsion units, which reduce vibrations, besides offering low fuel consumption. Additionally, the exhaust of these units is under water, further reducing noise and vibrations. The vessel is also designed for easy and efficient boarding and passengers have panoramic views from the large windows on the sides and top deck.

Damen Shipyards Group has a long history of producing water taxis, water buses and ferries, mainly built from aluminium and steel, and intended for intensive public transport operations. Damen Shipyards is capable of offering the complete infrastructure system for water buses including jetties and bunkering stations, as well as training and services packages. This Water Bus is the first vessel for public transportation produced at Damen Shipyards Antalya, which specialises in composite professional workboat series suitable for heavy-duty operations. Typically up to 24 metres, these vessels include interceptors, patrol boats, pilot boats, crew suppliers and now water buses.

The first Damen Water Bus is expected to be in the Netherlands before the year-end and Damen has another Water Bus hull in stock ready for outfitting.