Aluminium seats from BAB Aluminium were selected by London, England-based Crown River Cruises to increase seating capacity on one of their vessels.

Crown River Cruises, a major operator of tourist passenger boats on the Thames, sought to increase the passenger seating capacity on their vessel, the Sarpedon, which was built in 2001 and is one of the most modern passenger boats operating today. The Sarpedon has a passenger seating capacity of 400 with 250 seats on the lower saloon and 150 seats on the upper deck.

Key objectives for the tourist boat operator were to maintain the same high levels of customer service and also increase the carrying capacity on the upper deck for tourists visiting London. Requiring an expanded upper decking seating capacity, Crown River Cruises wanted a supplier who could understand the needs and provide the solution in a very timely manner without interruption and difficulties to avoid the danger of cost overruns on a limited budget.

Following a local and global search for aluminium seat manufacturers online, Crown River Cruises decided to work with Sydney-based BAB Aluminium for the design and supply of new seating for Sarpedon’s upper deck.

Aluminium seats were found particularly ideal for the application primarily for two specific reasons: Crown River Cruises wanted a low cost solution to address corrosion concerns from the passenger boat’s exposure to a salt water river environment. Secondly, aluminium seats would deliver comfort to passengers in any weather situation, and also ensured simple maintenance for the tourist boat operator.

Specific issues that were resolved during the execution of the project included the vast distance between supplier and end user from Sydney to London; seating in an outdoor area in constant contact with salt water; seats to be used by thousands of people; fixing of seats to the deck presenting difficulties due to the location of the fuel tanks on the boat directly under the upper deck flooring; supply of seats on a ‘just in time’ schedule that fitted in with the refurbishment timetable of the Sarpedon; and cost-effective shipping of the seats from Sydney to London.

Crown River Cruises chose aluminium seating over all other material options such as timber, plastic and steel. Aluminium seats are lightweight and very strong requiring little ongoing maintenance and cleaning.

BAB Aluminium designed and manufactured aluminium plain bench seats at custom lengths using modern CAD systems. Sample seats were air freighted to London during the design phase for testing and approval. Final seating was delivered via sea freight on a ‘just in time’ system ensuring seats were received and installed in a staged process on the Sarpedon.