Volvo Penta system powers Massachusetts police patrol boat

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Thomas Paine, the new 50-foot aluminum patrol boat that joined the Massachusetts Environmental Police fleet in July, is the first commercial vessel in North America to be powered by Volvo Penta IPS propulsion.

Built by Metal Craft Marine Inc., the new vessel is equipped with twin Volvo Penta D11 510-hp marine diesel engines driving IPS650 steerable drive units. Power Products, the Volvo Penta power center in New England, was responsible for supplying the propulsion system and overseeing installation.

The Volvo Penta IPS consists of a steerable underwater drive unit with two forward-facing counter-rotating propellers. The drive units pull the boat rather than pushing it through the water, increasing efficiency.

“Volvo Penta IPS drives provide 40 percent higher cruising range, 20 percent higher top speed, 30 percent better fuel economy, 30 percent reduction in [carbon dioxide] emissions and 50 percent reduction in noise levels, compared with traditional inboard shaft drives,” Ron Huibers, president of Volvo Penta of the Americas, said in a statement. “The individually steerable drive units with joystick docking provide a dramatic difference in maneuverability, and the Dynamic Positioning System automatically holds the boat’s position and heading steady on station, regardless of winds and currents.”

The Environmental Police opted for the IPS because of “its lower fuel consumption and extended cruising range,”acting director Chris Baker said.

“We are seeing an upsurge of interest in IPS in the American commercial marine industry as builders and boat operators recognize the system’s inherent advantages,”Huibers said. “Volvo Penta IPS is ideal for fast work boats, patrol boats, passenger ferries, pilot boats and wind-farm support vessels up to 30 meters at speeds up to 45 knots.”