North America

Volvo Penta D11-510 Drives Window Into the Sea

The Fury Catamaran Glass-Bottom Boat, operated by Fury Water Adventures, relies on Volvo Penta D11-510 power to take vacationers to North America’s only living coral reef.

Fury Glass Bottomed Boat taking people out on a tour of the reef

As one of the largest watersports companies in the U.S.A. operating out of Key West, Florida, Fury Water Adventures offers a collection of unique excursions to delight all ages and interests. Guests can snorkel pristine aqua waters, explore a living coral reef, jump on a jet ski, or revel in a relaxing sunset sail. 

But among the most popular experiences is the company’s glass-bottom boat tours, which give guests a window into the sea.

Tours on the Fury catamaran glass bottom boat allow guests to gaze into the underwater world of North America’s only living coral reef, one of the most biologically diverse marine ecosystems in the world. The boat’s special “windows to the reef” present continuous viewing opportunities. Through the glass, passengers will see over 300 species of fish swimming in the majestic elkhorn and brain coral reef. 

Kids having a great time on the Fury Water Adventures glass bottom boat powered by Volvo Penta

But trips to this precious natural resource come with responsibility. “We work in extremely shallow water, and sometimes when we do it, it’s not flat calm. If we were to have an engine failure, we’d be on the reef. This is a national marine sanctuary,” says Marcel Geluk, general manager of Fury Water Adventures. A potential engine failure or malfunction also could put passenger safety at risk. Geluk explains storms come up quickly on the Atlantic Ocean, making it essential to have engines with ample power for a quick and safe return. “We need to get home quicker than normal before the storm hits,” he says.

Fury had rebuilt the vessel’s 25-year-old mechanical engines a couple times. The previous engines were not Volvo Penta. “The (previous) engines were smoking and leaving a sheen on the water,” Geluk says. “It was time for us to get an engine that met current EPA standards.” 

For the repower, Geluk set a few requirements. The engine had to satisfy EPA Tier III standards, burn less fuel, and offer sufficient power to move through rough seas. And the supplier had to stand behind its product with full service.

Geluk met all provisions in the Volvo Penta D11-510 marine engine. The inline six-cylinder, 10.8-liter diesel engine uses common fuel injection, an overhead camshaft and twin-entry turbo using a water-cooled exhaust manifold to deliver excellent operating economy, world-class diesel performance, and ultra-low emissions. 

The D11-510 meets US EPA Tier III emission regulations. The engine produces extremely low noxious emissions and no visible smoke. An electronic management system controls unit injectors and fuel distribution to optimize the fuel-air mixture and improve combustion. The result? High thermal efficiency, the ultimate in fuel efficiency and extremely low exhaust emissions. 

“Our new Volvo Penta D11s operate clean. There is no smoke or sheen on the water,” he says. 

Fury’s glass-bottom boat goes out on two-hour adventures, three times a day. With inefficient engines, that journey burns a lot of fuel. The Volvo Penta engine’s high-tech fuel injection system and control unit that monitors several parameters of engine operation to slash fuel consumption. Fury noticed a 30% reduction in fuel usage since adding Volvo Penta engines. 

Captain using throttle controls on Volvo Penta powered glass bottom boat

The engine’s smooth operation and efficient cooling system also lowers noise levels. Passengers appreciate the lower noise levels as the captain and crew deliver an informative eco-tour and point out the active marine world in the reef below. “The biggest difference between the D11s and our old engines is you don’t really notice them; they are incredibly quiet. There is not the amount of vibration there used to be,” he adds. 

The engine delivers 510 horsepower and 2,250 rpm. Its impressive marine torque offers increased load-carrying capability, rapid acceleration, and the ability to maintain a high cruising speed, irrespective of load or sea state; a fact Geluk appreciates. “For most excursions it has more power than we need. But to have that extra power should we need it, provides peace of mind,” he explains. 

Volvo Penta designs the engine to last, with a rigid cast-iron cylinder block and cylinder head for high reliability and long-term durability. Its propulsion system also is easy to maintain. Fury performs some of the preventative maintenance with Volvo Penta’s dealer providing the rest at set intervals: 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 hours.

The engine is great, but Geluk calls the service even better. “The most important thing to me is the service they provide. Downtime is a distraction in the marine business,” he says. “Some companies will tell you to buy this engine. Then when you do, you never see them again. Volvo Penta is a true partner offering a high level of service after the sale, which is critically important in a commercial business.”