Passenger Vessels for the World's Most Demanding Operators

Bringing Cutting-Edge Capability to Passenger Vessel Markets

Best-known for the vessel fleets it produces for the U.S. Armed Forces and allies around the globe, Metal Shark has expanded its focus to include custom built passenger ferries and excursion vessels up to 300’ in length. With its vast engineering capability, mil-spec build processes, and considerable economies of scale, Metal Shark delivers precision vessels within tight production timeframes that few if any specialty yards can match. Metal Shark has now proven itself as a leading passenger vessel builder with a highly publicized track record of on-time deliveries. Between April and June of 2017, Metal Shark delivered six 88′, 150-passenger high speed ferries for the NYC Ferry system, with an unprecedented build time of less than ten months from start to finish. Metal Shark was also awarded contracts to produce four 88′, 150-passenger vessels for the Potomac Riverboat Company division of Entertainment Cruises, and two 105′ passenger ferries for the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority. The first two Potomac Water Taxis were completed within an amazingly tight timeframe of approximately six months! Additional vessels were completed and delivered in 2017 and 2018. Still, ferry builds represent only part of Metal Shark’s passenger vessel success story. From whale-watching vessels to dinner boats, head boats, water taxis and more, Metal Shark is actively engaged with passenger vessel operators across a wide range of specialty markets.

Industry Leaders in Serialized Production

As a leading supplier of military vessel fleets that must be delivered within demanding timeframes, Metal Shark has established an engineering-centric approach that utilizes 100% digital design, cutting, and sheet metal bending for rapid and precise assembly. For each passenger vessel build, Metal Shark dedicates a team of project managers and project engineers to eliminate shop-floor engineering. Metal Shark enjoys unmatched economies of scale due to volume production, with multiple fleet builds underway at any given time, and leverages its strength to its customers’ advantage. Due to the diverse markets it serves, Metal Shark is never idle. Accordingly, there is no lag-time required to “ramp up” production. Instead, resources are allocated to each project as it is scheduled. Meanwhile, robust scheduling management tools assure on-time completion, even for the most demanding delivery timelines. Fully transparent QA systems developed in concert with US Navy and Coast Guard inspection teams yield “mil-spec” quality, and the extensive use of jigs and fixtures guarantee consistent, repeatable results within delivery timeframes that cannot be matched by many yards.

A Proven Track Record

Between April and June 2017, Metal Shark delivered six (6) 88′, 150-pax, passenger vessels to NYC Ferry, all on or ahead of schedule, with an industry-best production time of less than ten months per vessel. In September 2017, Metal Shark delivered the first two 88′, 150-pax passenger vessels of a four-vessel order to the Potomac Riverboat Company division of Entertainment Cruises. The vessels were handed off to the customer on time. Since that time, Metal Shark has continued to deliver high quality passenger ferries to become the USA’s most prolific builder of passenger vessels, delivering over fourteen 150-passenger and 350-passenger ferries in 2017 and 2018 alone.

Formidable Engineering Strength

Metal Shark has amassed engineering resources like no other comparably sized shipyard. With an in-house engineering team composed of over 60 naval architects and marine engineers, Metal Shark possesses the know-how and the bandwidth to create its own highly specialized and thoroughly engineered vessel designs to assure precision results. Metal Shark understands the economic realities and various environmental and regulatory challenges faced by passenger vessel operators and can assist with all of this by delivering fully customized vessel solutions. With its own portfolio of designs as well as those of other leading design firms, Metal Shark offers technologically advanced passenger vessels that are custom-tailored to meet exacting operator requirements. Metal Shark goes above and beyond, utilizing extensive 3D modeling to allow the project to be realized in advance, greatly facilitating planning and resource allocation, and executing an exact interpretation of each vessel’s design for precision, quality results.

Design Firm Partnerships

With the strength of its in-house engineering team and the proven track record of its production facilities, Metal Shark routinely partners with leading independent design firms and is adept at taking proven designs to the next level. Metal Shark has partnered with Incat Crowther to produce 88′, 150-passenger catamaran ferries for New York’s NYC Ferry System, and with BMT Designers and Planners to construct four 88,150-passenger ferries for Entertainment Cruises’ Potomac Riverboats division and also two 105′, 150-passenger ferries for the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority. Other notable Metal Shark design partners include Damen Shipyards, and One2Three design. Together with its global network of partner design firms, Metal Shark offers a portfolio of proven passenger vessel designs, offering the latest advancements in safety, operating economy, and environmental stewardship.

Franklin Shipyard

Metal Shark operates three shipbuilding facilities in Alabama and Louisiana. Primary passenger vessel assembly takes place at the company’s Franklin, LA shipyard, which is a 25-acre waterfront facility capable of supporting the production of aluminum, steel, and composite vessels up to 300’ in length. Currently, the facility boasts a 60,000 square foot assembly building with four assembly bays each equipped with overhead crane, with a substantial expansion project currently underway. The yard is also equipped with onsite engineering offices, wet slips, marine transporter, crane in/crane out capabilities, and ample drydock / outdoor storage capacity. Situated on the Charenton canal, Metal Shark’s Franklin yard offers direct unobstructed deep water access to the Gulf of Mexico. The yard is located immediately off Highway 90 for easy over-the-road transport of large components, and the site plan offers ample room for future growth. Learn more about Metal Shark’s Franklin shipyard.

Metal Shark Ferry Builds: NYC Ferry

In July 2016, Metal Shark was selected by HNY Ferry Fleet, LLC (a Hornblower company) to build 88′, Incat Crowther-designed, 150-passenger high-speed ferries for its new NYC Ferry Service. By incorporating the same serialized building processes honed on its military fleet builds, Metal Shark built and delivered the entire six-vessel order in record time. With less than ten months’ time from project start to the delivery of the first vessel, Metal Shark delivered all six ferries on or ahead of schedule, between April and June, 2017. NYC Ferry officially launched on May 1, 2017, with Metal Shark-built H 102 given the honors of ferrying the first load of customers on the new service’s inaugural revenue trip. Metal Shark is proud to count HNY Ferry Fleet, Hornblower, and NYC Ferry among its growing list of satisfied customers. In September 2017, a second order of NYC Ferries was announced. Production of 150-passenger and 350-passenger ferries for NYC Ferry is ongoing.

NYC Ferry Image Gallery

Metal Shark Ferry Builds: Potomac Riverboat Company

In January 2017, Metal Shark was selected by the Potomac Riverboat Company division of Entertainment Cruises to produce four 88’, high speed/low wake, 150-passenger aluminum catamarans for a new Washington DC transit service.The low-wake, low-wash USCG Subchapter T vessels were designed by BMT Designers and Planners and combine passenger comfort with fuel efficiency and low environmental impact. The new vessels provide commuters in the Washington DC metro region with service between Old Town Alexandria, Virginia; National Harbor, Maryland; and Georgetown and The Wharf in Washington DC. Potomac Riverboat Company parent Entertainment Cruises is the nation’s largest dining and sightseeing cruise company, with a fleet of 30 ships operating in over a dozen major U.S. cities. Construction on Potomac Taxi I and II commenced in March 2017, with both vessels finishing in September, approximately six months later. The remaining vessels, Potomac Taxi III and IV, were delivered in February and March 2018.

Potomac Water Taxi Image Gallery

Metal Shark Ferry Builds: New Orleans RTA

In January 2017, Metal Shark was selected by the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (RTA) to produce two 105-foot, 150-passenger, BMT-designed, aluminum high speed catamaran passenger ferries. These new vessels were designed to bring vastly improved passenger comfort and convenience, operating economy, safety, and environmental friendliness to New Orleans ferry routes, replacing the RTA’s two ferries built in 1977 and 1937. RTA 1 was completed and delivered to New Orleans in July of 2018, with RTA 2 completing in October. The USCG Subchapter “T” compliant ferries are powered by twin 715-horsepower Cat C-18 Tier 3 diesel engines, and as per RTA’s requirements the vessels feature a low wake/low wash, high efficiency hull design for reduced environmental impact. “In the past 18 months, we have delivered over fourteen 150-passenger and 350-passenger ferries to New York, Washington, DC, and now, New Orleans,” said Metal Shark CEO Chris Allard. “As a local Louisiana company, it has been an honor to build these modern, comfortable new vessels for the people of New Orleans and visitors from around the world.”


RTA Ferry Image Gallery

Excursion Vessels

Metal Shark Excursion Vessel Builds: Hubbard’s Marina

The “Flying Hub II” was a first-in-class foil assisted catamaran hull built by Metal Shark for Hubbard’s Marina, a Florida-based fishing and tour boat operator, and was delivered in August of 2017. Powered by twin 350-HP Yamaha four-stroke outboard engines, the vessel reaches speeds in excess of 35 knots. It is equipped with bench seating for 20+ passengers beneath a large canopy. The Flying Hub II was specifically configured for fishing excursions, nearshore and offshore, snorkeling trips, dolphin watching tours, and water taxi services. Learn more about the Flying Hub II.


20-Passenger Foil Cat Gallery

Metal Shark Excursion Vessel Builds: Pure Florida

The second Jutson-designed foil-assisted catamaran excursion vessel built by Metal Shark, “Sea Flight”, was completed and delivered in August of 2019. Bench seating to accommodate up to 33 passengers is ideal for it’s intended use to offer a wide range of sightseeing, river and sunset cruises, Jet Ski tours and rentals, boat rentals, fishing trips and charters, eco-tours, educational field trips, and private family and corporate cruises. The vessel is powered by twin 440-horsepower Yanmar 6LY440 diesel engines coupled to Hamilton HJ292 water jets via ZF Marine 280-1 transmissions. Sea Flight cruises at speeds in excess of 30 knots and boasts a top speed of 40+ knots. Learn more about the Sea Flight.


33-Passenger Foil Cat Gallery

Metal Shark is a proud member of the Passenger Vessel Association. You’ll find us at PVA events from coast to coast.