American Cruise Lines starts construction of third Coastal Cat

American Cruise Lines (ACL), Guilford, Conn., is moving steadily ahead on its Project Blue project that will see it add a series of 241 feet long, 56 feet wide catamaran hulled vessels to its fleet. In total, ACL plans to build a dozen of the 105-guest coastal cats.

All the ships are being built at Chesapeake Shipbuilding’s Salisbury, Md., shipyard where construction of the third Coastal Cat, American Liberty has now begun. Construction of the first two, American Eagle and American Glory, is underway and they are set for delivery in 2023, with American Liberty scheduled to begin cruising in May 2024.

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Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury Awarded $1M Federal Grant

SALISBURY, Md. - U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Congressmen John Sarbanes and Anthony Brown (all D-Md.) on Tuesday announced $1,114,539 in federal funding through the Department of Transportation to help the Chesapeake Shipbuilding Corporation in Salisbury, which specializes in cruise ship production, with increased demand for cruise travel as recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Funding comes through the Department of Transportation’s Fiscal Year 2022 Maritime Administration Small Shipyard Grant, which is designed to support shipyard operations and improvements at facilities with fewer than 1,200 employees.

“As the tourism and travel industry recovers, it is imperative that we provide our small shipyards with the resources they need to stay competitive in the market. The Chesapeake Shipbuilding Corporation has done a great job keeping up with demand and this federal funding will help it further scale its business, spurring job growth and boosting the local economy,” the lawmakers said. “We are proud of the company’s contribution to the Maryland economy and are pleased to announce these investments in its growth. We look forward to the yard’s continued success.”

About Chesapeake Shipbuilding


Established in 1980 and situated on 13 acres of waterfront on the Wicomico River in Salisbury, MD, the shipyard has become a leading designer and builder of a notable array of commercial ships up to 450 feet in length. The shipyard’s vessels operate all over the world and are suited for inland waterway or ocean service. Specializing in the design and construction of overnight passenger vessels and tugboats has enabled the company to develop an unrivaled expertise in this field. The shipyard offers highly competitive wages, bonuses, and benefits.


Governor Hogan Visits & Honors Chesapeake Shipbuilding

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan recently announced a 50 million-dollar Rural Maryland Economic Development Fund to stimulate private sector investment and grow jobs throughout the state. Following the announcement, the Governor toured Chesapeake Shipbuilding presenting shipyard President, Steve McGee, with a governor’s citation in special recognition of the company’s continued growth, job creation, and contributions to the local economy—including the Yard’s current expansion, which will add more than 100 jobs over the next 18-24 months.

12 New Cruise Ships to be Built on the Bay

American Cruise Lines has announced Project Blue. A fleet of 12 new small cruise ships to be designed and built in Salisbury by Chesapeake Shipbuilding. The Project Blue Fleet is the largest order for U.S.-built cruise ships in decades. Chesapeake Shipbuilding is hiring and training for new job openings, including many skilled trade positions. The first 2 of 12 cruise ships in the Project Blue order are due for delivery in 2023.

CHESAPEAKE SHIPBUILDING Delivers Fourth Salisbury Push Tug to Vane Brothers

Vane Brothers’ 3,000-horsepower Push Tug Charles Hughes, delivered in January 2022. Vane Brothers photo. By WorkBoat Staff in News, Shipbuilding

Vane Brothers, Baltimore, took delivery in January of the final boat in a series of four 3,000-hp Salisbury Class push tugs. Named the Charles Hughes, Vane’s newest addition is the 20th Maryland-built towing vessel to join Vane Brothers’ fleet since 2008.

Designed and constructed by Chesapeake Shipbuilding shipbuilders and naval architects of Salisbury, Md., Vane’s Salisbury Class push tugs have a molded depth of only 10.5', making them well suited for working in confined, shallow-draft waterways. The Charles Hughes’ operational area is the Northeast U.S.

The 3,000-hp boat is equipped with Caterpillar 3512 main engines, conventional shafts, rudders and flanking rudders. The Cats each produce 1,500 hp at 1,800 rpm and are connected to stainless steel Hung Shen troost-style 5-bladed propellers through Twin Disc MGX-5600 gears with 6:1 ratios. The propulsion package gives the tug a running speed of 10.5 knots.

The new push tug will accommodate up to seven crew members and has large private and semiprivate quarters. A roomy pilothouse features both Simrad and Furuno electronics, as well as dual Rose Point electronic charting systems. There's tankage for 40,000 gals. of fuel; 15,000 gals. ballast water, 5,000 gals. water; and 5,000 gals. zero discharge tank. Ancillary equipment includes 65-ton Patterson winches, JonRie InterTech capstans, and Fernstrum box coolers.

The Charles Hughes’ three sister tugs, the SalisburyAnnapolis and Rock Hall, were delivered in 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively. Designed to provide exceptional crew comfort, reliability and operational efficiency, all four Salisbury Class push tugs comply with federally mandated, U.S Coast Guard-enforced Subchapter M safety standards.

“Vane Brothers takes pride in providing our customers and crews with vessels constructed to the highest standards,” Vane Brothers president C. Duff Hughes said in a statement announcing the delivery. “The Charles Hughes is another powerful, peak-performing tug that maximizes maneuverability where it is needed most.”

To create the Salisbury Class design, Chesapeake Naval Architect John Womack worked in collaboration with Vane Brothers Port Captain Jim Demske, who has overseen construction of 48 tugboats for Vane over the last two decades. “Chesapeake has such a talented group of shipbuilders right in our backyard,” said Demske. “Each tug capitalizes on safety, comfort and productivity.” Along with the four push tugs, Chesapeake Shipbuilding has supplied 16 3,000-horsepower, model-bow tugs.

The tug Charles Hughes is named in honor of the late Charles F. Hughes, former Vane Brothers chairman of the board and the father of Vane's current president, C. Duff Hughes. Charles Hughes was a U.S. Navy veteran, Johns Hopkins University graduate, and Vane Brothers executive from 1951 to 2004.

A previous push tug Charles Hughes, built in 1975 and rated at 1,800-hp, was acquired by Vane Brothers in 1991 and sold in 2019. The classic-looking name boards from the first Charles Hughes were refinished and are now proudly mounted on the new Charles Hughes.

CHESAPEAKE SHIPBUILDING Production is Rolling Forward

Starboard Side of the Bow Module of Hull 142, AMERICAN SYMPHONY

Salisbury, MD - December 1, 2021

The 500-ton bow module of the 328’ x 59’ x 12.3’ cruise ship, Hull 142 named AMERICAN SYMPHONY, was rolled out of Building 4 at Chesapeake Shipbuilding yesterday by Expert House Movers of Sharptown, MD.  With a capacity to carry 175 overnight passengers, the vessel will operate luxury cruises throughout the Mississippi River system by late summer 2022.  This will be the 5th ship of the Modern Riverboat Series designed and built by Chesapeake Shipbuilding and delivered to American Cruise Lines.

Keel Laying of Hull 144, AMERICAN SERENADE

With the bow module clear of Building 4, the keel for the next cruise ship, Hull 144 named AMERICAN SERENADE, was laid today.  This vessel will be the 6th of the modern riverboat series and a sister to Hull 142 and the AMERICAN MELODY that was delivered in August, 2021. 

CHESAPEAKE SHIPBUILDING Delivers 4th Modern Riverboat American Melody And Announces Plans to Build the 5th & 6th Modern Series Riverboats

SALISBURY, MD – August 23, 2021

Chesapeake Shipbuilding Corp. of Salisbury, MD announced today that it has delivered American Melody to American Cruise Lines. Despite various challenges, the Yard continued building through the pandemic and delivered American Melody, the 4th modern riverboat in American’s acclaimed series, as promised and on schedule. Chesapeake Shipbuilding will also build the 5th & 6th Modern Series riverboats for American Cruise Lines, the first of which is scheduled for delivery in 2022.

Chesapeake Shipbuilding delivered American Song, the first modern riverboat in American’s groundbreaking series in 2018. Since then, in addition to many commercial vessels, the Yard has built Modern Series riverboats: American Harmony (2019), American Jazz (2020) and American Melody (2021).

Immediately following last week’s successful Sea Trials, American Melody headed to New Orleans for its inaugural cruise along the Mississippi River.  American Melody accommodates 175-passengers, is 328 feet long, has 5 decks and 91 staterooms-all with private balconies. The elegant new riverboat showcases a gorgeous multi-story sky-lit atrium, multiple indoor and outdoor lounges, a large fitness center, grand dining room, casual outdoor café, and a 5th deck open-air Skywalk which features a dramatic ellipse cutout cantilevered above the ship’s 4th deck.