Manned WAM-V®

The WAM-V technology aims to complement, not replace, existing vessels and to open new possibilities. WAM-Vs are to conventional vessels what helicopters are to airplanes.

Manned, 85 ft and above, WAM-Vs have ocean crossing capabilities with a range of up to 5,000 miles. Once they have reached destination, their low draft allows operations in river deltas, shallow littoral waters and lagoons.

The front part of the inflatable pontoons can be beached on an undeveloped coast to deliver personnel and equipment.

Users with limited experience can learn to pilot her quickly because she has the responsiveness and maneuverability of a small powerboat.


Technology Advantages

  • Modularity
  • Scalability
  • Long endurance
  • Low-cost
  • Shallow draft
  • Flexibility & adaptability
  • Stability
  • Maneuverability
  • Helicopter-like pick up and delivery of payload in open ocean or in very shallow water


Typical Applications

Manned WAM-Vs are designed to be working boats. Although they can be adapted to pleasure cruising, typical applications include:

  • Deliver and retrieve floating biology labs, first aid units, submersibles or diving platforms.
  • Provide buoy maintenance over an extended ocean area.
  • Deliver a small team to an undeveloped beach over long distances.
  • Conduct patrolling and observation missions with unobstructed views.
  • Conduct search and rescue operations with helicopter-like performance at a fraction of the cost. Searches can be extended for days or weeks without refueling. The full size WAM-V can maneuver directly over small vessels or people to be rescued. Soft inflatable hulls and jet propulsion option maximize safety of rescue operation.


Examples of Applications


The 100’ technology demonstrator, a WAM-V named Proteus, was launched in San Francisco Bay in 2007 and sailed over 3,000 miles in the Pacific, Atlantic and Mediterranean.

Aptly named after an early sea-god protector of all marine mammals and capable of changing shape at will, the name Proteus also suggests the first of its kind.

Configured as a cruising vessel and equipped with a detachable cabin with its own propulsion system, Proteus traveled for 7 months on a good-will mission for NOAA’s Marine Sanctuary Program.

Proteus, as all WAM-Vs, can be beached without damage, delivering cargo or personnel. The high length to displacement ratio and the small wet surface result in low fuel consumption even at high speeds. Her limited draft and inflatable hulls contribute to her maneuverability. The very wide beam and low wind resistance ensure a high margin of safety.

From October 2007 to April 2012, Proteus was stationed at the Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek - Fort Story in Norfolk, VA, under an ONR contract to assess and study the technology in cooperation with Combatant Craft and Virginia Tech.

Proteus Specifications
Design Software:Autodesk Inventor Professional
Displacement:12 tons full load
Dimensions:Length 100 feet. Beam 50 feet Draft 8” forward and 16” aft.
Power Plant:Two Quantum Series QSB5.9 355 mhp by Cummins MerCruiser Diesel.
TwinDisc MG-5061A marine gears and Arneson ASD 8 surface drives.
Speed:Up to 30 knots
Range:5,000 nautical miles

Proteus launch and press conference in San Francisco


Capsule Recovery WAM-V designed for NASA

This 120 ft WAM-V was conceived as the choice option for recovering the new generation of Apollo-like capsules in case of an aborted mission. Capable of covering the entire patrol area with one vessel instead of two presently required, the WAM-V offers a low cost, always-ready solution.

The WAM-V technology is uniquely suited to this type of salvage efforts. Its geometry is such that the capsule can be lifted from the center area between the two hulls without the use of overboard cranes. The ability of the WAM-V to approach directly over the capsule and recover it vertically ensures that no damage is done to the capsule during the lift from the ocean surface. Other ships have to use cranes that haul the capsule over the side of the vessel away from the center of gravity. This becomes extremely dangerous in adverse weather conditions, as the capsule will swing side to side with respect to the vessel with potential for extensive damage to both vessel and capsule.

The WAM-V technology allows a relatively light displacement, high-speed vessel to lift heavy payloads that would otherwise require larger and considerably more expensive conventional methods. The WAM-V solution is extremely cost effective. The total cost of ownership, including operational costs, is a fraction of what other ships, suitable for this operation, would cost.


Mother-daughter WAM-V
Concept design for servicing wind farms in Northern Europe

This is a combination of two vessels to solve the problem of transferring personnel and equipment from a land base to the wind farm in heavy weather (Beaufort 7 or 8). The proposed mothership is a 150 ft WAM-V that can negotiate safely the seas at high speed (20 to 30 kts) and carries a daughter vessel that connects to the wind tower for delivery and retrieval of equipment and personnel, also in heavy weather.

The daughter vessel can be shaped to fit any tower design and, with jet propulsion and a very flexible structure, can stay connected to the tower long enough to permit transfers to be performed safely and in good time. The vessel will be held firmly against the turbine tower, experiencing only vertical motion instead of both vertical and horizontal motion as in the current system. This will allow the disembarking crew to grab hold of the ladder without having to leap out from a vessel that has to keep a safe distance between itself and the turbine tower. The daughter-ship can contact the tower in rough seas whereas conventional solutions most certainly cannot.




Shallow water operation






Proteus On The One Ocean Mission, Italy Department of Environment Marine Protected Area




Official launch in San Francisco




















View Animation

NASA capsule recovery











View Animation

Mother ship lowering daughter vessel



Daughter vessel connected to wind tower



Mother ship in foreground, daughter vessel at wind tower in background