CASE STUDY Commercial Marine

mtu engines keep Blue Heron Cruises quietly on time, every time.

Posted on April 16, 2018

At the northern tip of Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula, you’ll find Tobermory, a quaint lakeside town surrounded by Caribbean blue waters. Its crystal-clear waters helped the town earn its title as “the fresh water SCUBA diving capital of the world.” The peninsula is home to two national parks, multiple nature reserves and is designated by the United Nation’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a UNESCO World Biosphere, a title that recognizes where people and nature coexist in harmony. During the summer months, Tobermory welcomes tourists from Toronto and beyond.


Blue Heron Cruises


mtu Series 2000 engines (10V 2000 M72)


Speed, quiet operation, reliability


Tobermory, Ontario, Canada

The extra horsepower these mtu engines give us help us stay on schedule, especially during long weekends.

Ashley Salen - general manager, Blue Heron Cruises
Many of Tobermory’s tourists are attracted to the area’s stellar hiking trails and renowned glass-bottom boat tours that cruise over a selection of the 22 shipwrecks scattered under the area’s inexplicably clear waters. Blue Heron Cruises is one of the tour companies that offer glass-bottom tours during the peninsula’s busy tourist season, from May to October.
“When people get here, they‘re wowed. It becomes a playground for those who live in the city and an escape from the concrete and skyscrapers. Our waters are so deep, so cold and so constantly clear and clean. I always hear people say, ‘I didn’t know we had Caribbean colors in our backyard!’” said Ashley Salen, general manager of Blue Heron Cruises.

Cruising scenic inland seas

In May 2018, the ferry company will launch its newest vessel, the Blue Heron 8, powered by three 10V 2000 M72 engines. The vessel will serve as the workhorse of Blue Heron’s fleet and will accommodate 125 passengers. Within 15 minutes of leaving the dock in Tobermory, passengers aboard the Blue Heron 8 will see two of Georgian Bay’s storied shipwrecks. After cruising out to Flowerpot Island, which is known for its interesting rock formations, cruisers can disembark to explore the island’s lighthouse and five kilometers of hiking trails or return to shore in Tobermory.
“Blue Heron 8 runs very, very fast – especially for a boat of this size. It performs like a sports car and still carries 125 passengers. You can really put the hammer down, reach 40 knots, and get out to the island fast – even in inclement weather,” said Steve Peschkoff, key account manager for Wajax.

mtu power to stay on schedule

Blue Heron Cruises is one of the few cruise companies with vessels large enough to battle the choppy water that occurs when the winds pick up on Georgian Bay during inclement weather.
The relatively faster and larger Blue Heron 8 also offers a more efficient tour schedule. During the busy summer months, the cruise company is constantly loading and unloading passengers. Reliability and power are critical to keep Blue Heron Cruises’ peak season lines moving quickly.
“The extra horsepower these mtu engines give us help us stay on schedule, especially during busy long weekends. We‘re excited we don’t need to overwork an engine while we provide reliable, fast ferry service for our guests,” Salen said.

Keeping a low profile

Blue Heron Cruises’ ferry routes travel directly past waterfront homes, especially during high season. The company tries to keep a low profile to not disturb their neighbors in this small town. When Blue Heron Cruises began looking at adding a new build to its fleet, the cruise company surveyed its local community and neighbors for their input.
“We built in feedback from everyone when planning the addition of this vessel. As a result, we knew our priorities were to select an understated ferry design and to ensure the ferry was powered by quiet but powerful engines. The few times we‘ve been out on the boat so far, everyone has commented on how quiet the vessel runs,” Salen said.
The Series 2000 engine is undetectable in the Blue Heron 8’s passenger lounge and dramatically reduces the noise that carries to the fleet’s waterfront residential neighbors. This significant reduction in noise can be attributed to the pre-engineered rubber isolators on the engines. mtu’s engines in ferries like the Blue Heron 8 are installed on rubber mounts designed specifically for mtu to reduce vibration and noise. The exceptionally low noise levels of the mtu engines is one of many reasons why mtu engines are selected so often for passenger vessels.

An eye toward the future

Supported by its local mtu distributor, Wajax, Blue Heron Cruises also protects its equipment with Extended Coverage from mtu. By providing added coverage beyond the standard warranty, Blue Heron is protected from the cost of unexpected repairs to the mtu engines. mtu’s Extended Coverage offerings are fully transferable, which enhances the equipment’s resale value and ensures long-term confidence in mtu engines.
In partnership with Wajax, Blue Heron Cruises’ in-house mechanics ensure the Blue Heron 8 performs optimally and offers exceptional uptime and reliability, both of which contribute to lower lifecycle costs. By working with Wajax and mtu, Blue Heron Cruises found the ideal power solution for its fleet’s newest ferry to bring tourists to Tobermory’s pristine natural wonders, all without disturbing its neighbors.