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As the inland towing market gears up for the implementation of USCG Sub-Chapter M, a number of issues are coming to the forefront for naval architects and marine engineers. With Sub-Chapter M primarily addressing safety and crew comfort, designers are looking for equipment with reduced noise and vibration signatures. Long term statistics show that noise and vibration have their greatest impact on a person during their off time or rest period. This directly affects crew alertness during work hours.


Designers are now going to greater lengths to design vessels with improved vibration isolation to separate the pilot house and living quarters from the deck level machinery spaces. Among the on board systems that have the greatest impact on sound and vibration are the generator sets. Old-time mariners may remember the old diesel engine and generator end packages that shook and rattled even in light-duty applications.


The new state of the art in marine power generation runs remarkably quiet and smoothly. An interesting phenomenon is taking place in the marine generator industry. For many years, yachts builders have sought generator manufacturers with a commercial customer base. The thought process being that power systems built to the heavy-duty requirements of the commercial industry would be reliable and sturdy enough for the ever-expanding number of requirements made by yachts – and their owners.


Increasingly, we are seeing that the inverse is becoming true. Innovations in generator technology that affect on-board comfort are now being required by commercial operators. Such upgrades may include vibration-reducing isolation mounts, structural steel base frames and even sound enclosures. In addition, shifting emission standards are driving the need for engine add-ons such as turbochargers, advanced fuel injection systems and controls.


Interested in learning more about the state of the art in marine power technology? Contact Northern Lights Gulf at (504) 360-2180 or visit our web site at www.northern-lights.com.

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