New & Notable Empress of the North Scheduled For 2003

Despite the combined effects of terrorist attacks and a sour economy that have left the tourism industry in the doldrums, American West Steamboat reported that new construction activities are "full steam ahead," with the initiation of the construction of a second sternwheeler cruise ship, the Empress of the North, scheduled for completion in May 2003. Empress of the North was designed by Guido Perla & Associates and is being built by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders in Freeland, Wash. The vessel will be 360 ft. (109.7 m) and accommodate 236 passengers and 84 crew.

Andrea Piacentini Design, Inc.

designed lavish period Victorian interiors for this vessel. Attention to every detail was to be the hallmark of all interiors according to the clients' wishes.

Elaborate features of carved columns, vaulted ceilings and filigree screens transform the Dining Room into Imperial Russian era elegance. The Gold Rush/Gay Nineties themed Showroom Lounge, with detailed stage and lighting elements, recall a time of opulence and leisure lifestyles.

The construction of this ship has helped both operator and builder expand their companies. While the new ship will add a new cruise route and increases capacity on the Columbia river for the owner, the builder found the need to increase the size of its shipyard in order to handle a ship of this size. "We have effectively doubled the size of our shipyard", said Matt Nichols, CEO of Nichols Brothers Boat Builders. "The increase in size allows us to compete in new markets while maintaining our current customer base" Nichols added.

With just over 11 months to finish the project Nichols said, "The vessel is currently ahead of our production schedule and we are looking for a on time delivery".

Another vessel currently under construction at Nichols Brothers is a 105-ft.

(32-m) Fireboat for the Los Angles Fire Department. The fireboat is being called the most powerful in the world with its ability to pump 31,000 gallon per minute delivered from a total of six pumps. In addition to its incredible pumping capacity, the vessel will be powered by two 1,800 hp Detroit Diesel 12V4000 diesel engines coupled to Cyclodal drives. The vessel will be delivered in November of this year.

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