OSVs thus accompanied. Harvey Gulf built $120 million worth of boats on spec. The decision proved sound to such a degree that shortly before we went to press, Mr. Guidry announced he'd ordered two more -- a 290 for a five-year contract will come out late in 2008, and another 290 in 2009. "Offshore towing and offshore supply are like one hand washing the other." -- Shane J. Guidry ronment in which it'll work, and so on. But the hands-on spirit of Harvey Gulf is evident here too, as features surrounding the amount of cargo to be carried, the accommodations for the crew, and the operability of the vessels were developed in-house. In those regards, said Mr. Guidry, "Jules Schubert and myself designed the boats from the keel up. Jules has seen every mistake everyone else has made, so we designed to avoid them." At a time of personnel shortages, crew comfort aboard is not an option. The Harvey Discovery, for example, has its own HDTV theater, with 15 padded, folding theater seats and a sound system to rattle the teeth. Of course, there are also times aboard when a lot of noise is exactly what you don't want. "We designed a floating floor for acoustical insulation," said Mr. Schubert, "in the accommodation areas above the thrusters. The shape of the nozzles and the use of as large a tunnel as we dared put in the boat, enabled our use of a larger and slower-turning thruster, combining lower noise and greater thrust." The thrusters are positioned as far forward and low in the hull as possible, to provide maximum leverage in turning the boat, and to keep them in the water in heavy sea conditions. Also contributing to noise-reduction, and a degree of cost-reduction too, are three-speed operations for the thrusters. "Heretofore the engine was cranked-up to its maximum RPM," said Mr. Schubert, "and the pitch adjusted to regulate thrust. As it exists on these boats, the actual speed of the thrusters can be set to match the conditions." First-Class Everything The Harvey OSVs are built by Eastern Shipbuilding, in Panama City. Naval architects Matt Kawasaki of Design Associates on the 240s, Aker-Kvaerner on the third and fourth boats, designed the portions of the vessel that amount to the shell, dealing with tonnage requirements, the space to carry the cargo, developing the lines of the vessel for the intended speed, estimating the horsepower required, designing the propellers, the rudders, developing the structural integrity of the boat to withstand the rigors of the envi- Maximum noise level for the crew's sleeping areas above the thrusters is given as 75 decibels, and 50 db at the pilot house. "There are double handrails everywhere," said Mr. Schubert, "real wide stairways, steppads that will be non-skid 30 years from now, good flooring -- three times the cost of regular vinyl flooring -- nonskid stuff that's great for the interior. On the exterior, we looked at things like the hatches that go over fuel tank or liquid mud compartments. Typically they're attached with nuts and bolts, which stick up above the deck on most boats and form a trip hazard. We had the shipyard bevel the hatches, and install flat-head screws. All of the timbered areas of the deck are very even, and don't present any trip hazards." The galley is better appointed than many a small restaurant. 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