North America

Volvo Penta IPS, a perfect fit for tourist transportation

The Volvo Penta Inboard Performance System (IPS) delivers a host of benefits to Greek Ferry company Santorini Boatmen & Mooring Services.


Santorini is Greece’s most popular island, with an incredible two million visitors coming to savour its delights each year. Many of these holidaymakers arrive on gigantic cruise ships, that can normally be seen moored in the middle of the island’s natural bay. Since the 1950’s, Santorini Boatmen & Mooring Services J.V (SBMS) – a collective of family-owned marine companies – have transported passengers and staff from these ships to the island.

In 1981, Dakoutros Bros J.V. – the sons of SBMS’ founder – gradually developed a fleet of six vessels focusing solely on tourist excursions around the island. In 2013, however, the brothers returned to their father’s legacy of cruise ship servicing by introducing tender boats into the fleet specifically to transporting passengers, goods, and staff to and from cruise ships. Today the fleet is made up of 10 modern vessels, including the Sea Star, which is equipped with a triple Volvo Penta IPS-1050.

Power, Comfort, Sustainability
After visiting the Volvo Penta site in Gothenburg and testing the Volvo Penta IPS1050 it was clear the system was a perfect fit for the Dakoutros business’s new innovative journey. In collaboration with long-term Greek Volvo Penta importer, Saracakis and Ocean Yard located in Athens – the companies worked together to deliver an impressive, 25 meter, 65-ton vessel – with a top speed of 28 knots. 

“Our focus is to add value to operators like Mr. Dakoutros,” says Lars Persson, Marine Commercial Sales Project Manager at Volvo Penta. “But operators are not the only ones to benefit from Volvo Penta IPS. We have established a successful way of connecting and supporting all stakeholders in new IPS projects– from designers, to the yards – resulting in productive vessel operations, like the one managed by Mr. Dakoutros.”

“There were several key features that made Volvo Penta’s IPS the perfect fit for us,” explained Lefteris Dakoutros, General Manager at SBMS. “Firstly, the easy installation aided our fast completion plans. Then there was the manoeuvrability, reduced environmental impact, and high productivity.”

Fuel efficient customer comfort
“The role of the Sea Star means she pulls up alongside cruise ships to pick up passengers. In the past there have been complaints that boats‘ exhaust fumes blow into the deck and create an unpleasant environment for passengers,” recalls Mr. Dakoutros. 

The IPS has an in-water exhaust system which means no airborne pollution and smoke – this is a key factor when you run a business that focuses on customer comfort.

“With the Volvo Penta IPS these fumes are eliminated, making the experience more pleasant for everyone,” says Mr. Dakoutros.

Volvo Penta’s IPS reduces fuel consumption by 20-25% thanks to its high propulsion efficiency compared to a traditional shaft installation - a massive saving for Dakoutros’ business. Consequently of course the CO2 emissions are reduced by up to 25%, further limiting harmful environmental impact and helping safeguard the beauty of the Greek coast for future generations of tourists.

Exceptional manoeuvrability
Pulling alongside cruise ships takes great skill from the helmsman, so having easy manoeuvrability – in all weather conditions – is a much-needed asset. 

“Individually steerable Volvo Penta IPS drives are linked to the onboard Joystick Docking function,” explains Francesco Giudice, Area Sales Manager, Volvo Penta. “The steerable IPS drives enable the whole thrust from the drives to be redirected, without the use of rudders, which in turn enables very high manoeuvrability. The joystick makes pulling up close to cruise ships and docking easier and safer – even in harsh weather conditions. Overall Volvo Penta IPS provides superior handling and performance.” 

State-of-the-art technology
“We transport thousands of passengers of all ages every day,” says Mr. Dakoutros. “We want to offer a safe, comfortable, and reliable service. Our goal is to optimize our services while maintaining a high level of quality – all while reducing transportation costs. To achieve this we invest in relationships, customer service, and state-of-the-art technology – Volvo Penta Saracakis, and the Ocean Yard team offer the whole package.”