Building a Behemoth Part 1: The Largest Nautical Structures Gangway

Recently Nautical Structures Industries has designed, fabricated, and delivered the largest gangway system (to date) in its 36 years. This 100% US made gangway system is an automated hydraulic unit that translates either to port or starboard allowing it to be deployed and utilized in any docking situation. In this article, as well as four following editions over the coming weeks, we aim to show the world how much goes into producing bespoke equipment for the commercial and yachting marine sectors.

Drawing of final concept: deployable to either Port or Starboard using the same enclosure.

The system was co-developed over a multi-year period, with multiple designs and concepts considered throughout. With the ship in question being a large cruise ship being built in the United States, we wanted to ensure the gangway had all the standard safety, aesthetic, and technological developments our mega yacht & super yacht systems are known for. But built to suit the demands of a high-end cruise vessel that, at times, makes multiple stops per-day with the only means of boarding via the Nautical Structures gangway system.

3D CAD composite showing design iterations as the project progressed

With the safety, usage, and design constraints at hand, our engineering team along with the shipyard and naval architect settled on a single car that allows motion from its stowed position (on centerline of the vessel) that effectively has a 48-foot folding gangway attached at either end. Once the specifics and requirements were hashed out, the Nautical Structures engineering department was let-loose on the project to bring it from a concept to reality. This involved countless hours of modeling, FEA (Finite Element Analysis), customer communication, revisions, drafting of production drawings, and ultimately the official production release drawing package to the shop floor.

FEA (Finite Element Analysis) of the car-section of the gangway

To know more about the integrated cruise ship gangway system, or if you would like to reach out regarding Nautical Structures unique capabilities, please don’t hesitate to contact us.