VESSEL REVIEW | Yaragada – Rescue boat to be deployed off South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula

Yaragada, a new rescue boat delivered to the South Australian State Emergency Service
Photo: Nautic Star

The South Australian State Emergency Service (SASES) recently placed a new locally built search and rescue (SAR) boat into service.

Built by Lonsdale-based manufacturer Nautic Star, the purpose-designed and built vessel has been named Yaragada. The new vessel replaces another that was deemed to have reached the end of its operational life. Its main area of operations will encompass Tumby Bay on south-eastern Eyre Peninsula and the lower western portion of Spencer Gulf.

“As a state government entity, SASES undertakes capital projects in accordance with established procurement protocols, and it was under these arrangements that an open competitive tender process was undertaken for the supply of the rescue vessel,” Darryl Wright, Manager of Volunteer Marine Rescue and Water Safety at SASES, told Baird Maritime.

Wright added that SASES has an existing business relationship with builder Nautic Star, as indicated by the delivery of five vessels of varying design and configuration for the service. In his view, the business relationship between SASES and Nautic Star provides mutual benefits in design and fit-out collaboration.

“We have had numerous opportunities to work closely with top level government officials in the search, rescue, and patrol sector,” added builder Nautic Star. “With their experience and input, we were able to develop vessels with safe and comfortable high-speed capability in all conditions and directions as well as a wheelhouse that can seat four.”

The ability of the new boat to operate in a broad range of conditions means SASES volunteers will be able to stay out at sea for longer periods, permitting sustained SAR operations.

“We sought the supply and delivery of a SAR vessel purpose-designed and -built to NSCV 2C requirements,” said Wright.

Built to precise specifications

For SASES, the requirements were a length of between 8.5 and nine metres (28 and 30 feet); an inboard diesel engine installation and associated stern-drive propulsion; an enclosed cabin with forward raked screens to reduce glare and to improve visibility for SAR operations; dedicated seating for a minimum of four persons including a helmsperson and a navigator; an electronics package with dual touchscreens, radar, and FLIR; a communications package including 27MHz VHF and government radio network gear plus an AIS and loudhailer; a hinged door leading to the starboard side, providing clear access and egress to the aft cockpit; and the ability to be housed on an Australian Road Rules-compliant heavy duty trailer capable of being towed on public roads.

In Wright’s view, these features not only provide SASES volunteers with the right equipment toward achieving successful outcomes to missions, it also makes a significant contribution toward volunteer satisfaction and with that, the retention and recruitment of members.

Wheelhouse on Yaragada, a new rescue boat delivered to the South Australian State Emergency Service
Photo: Nautic Star

“The starboard side cockpit door provides clear access for the recovery of objects or persons from the water. This is particularly relevant for those who may be suffering from hypothermia, in which case a person needs to be recovered while in a horizontal position, or if they are unable to board the boat due to other physical reasons. The latter will enable the use of a carbon-fibre rescue litter with a mechanical advantage winch, if required.”

Wright said that, due to the relative remoteness of the location of Eyre Peninsula, the ability to be transported by trailer is an important feature of the new boat.

“While some vessels may be housed in marinas, it remains important that they are able to be trailered to undertake duties remote from the primary response area, or to supplement other vessels involved in larger scale operations and searches.”

“Over the past 26 years, we have continuously evolved our hull form without being restricted by expensive FRP mould amendments in order to make improvements,” said Nautic Star. “We utilise Lloyd’s Register rules to engineer our hulls, which easily allows us to meet NSCV criteria for structural integrity. Our vessels also utilise our unique plumb bow hull design, which allows us to create a very steep yet broad hull entry area reverting to a much shallower V heading toward the transom.”

The builder remarked that the feature allows the first third of the vessel to slice waves with the aft two thirds keeping the vessel sturdy and stable with no tenderness underway at any speeds.  This hull also maintains a very consistent attitude throughout all speed ranges including coming onto the plane, very rarely leaving the water at high speeds in rough conditions. This configuration, coupled with a unique inner and outer chine arrangement, keeps the vessel extremely dry.

There is double continuous welding on all hull seams, the engine bed, and transom with tight stitch patterns throughout the remaining structure. The vessel’s bottom plate to bottom plate stiffeners forward of the midship section are also double continuous welded, which is a requirement for vessels that operate at speeds of over 30 knots.

“The bottom plate design is not based around the simplicity of forming the bottom plates at construction stage. It is based purely around maximising hydrodynamic flow over the bottom plate. For this reason, our fabricators have been utilising a technique that we developed that allows us to form these plates.”

For propulsion, Yaragada relies on a Volvo Penta D6-340 inboard diesel engine with electronic steering and a matched stern-drive leg. The transom includes a “marlin board” above the stern drive that incorporates a folding ladder, providing access into the cockpit either from the water or hardstanding.

Electonics suite and cabin features that enhance SAR capability

The electronics suite includes a Furuno Navnet system that incorporates a wifi hub that can be either fitted with a SIM card or connected via bluetooth to a mobile or satellite phone, which in turn enables the passing of search pattern data from authorities directly into the navigation system of the boat. This alleviates the need to manually enter data, which can be impractical under certain sea conditions.

“Multiple search patterns can be sent to multiple different rescue vessels from the rescue coordination center,” Nautic Star told Baird Maritime. “This system is hooked into a multi-function display and with a simple touch, the autopilot takes over control, keeping the vessel within a tight constraint to the search line/grid pattern. This system simplifies the SAR process, cutting down data entry time at sea, which in turn will help the crew find missing persons more quickly.”

“The vessel’s electronics inventory also includes automated vessel location (AVL) monitoring, an initiative of the South Australian Government to provide additional safety and monitoring over emergency services vehicles and vessels,” added Wright. “Incorporating both mobile phone and satellite redundancy, shore-based operators are able to view the position of the vessel at all times and the crew are able to initiate a distress alarm that would complement more traditional marine methods such as EPIRB and VHF radio.

“Particular attention is paid to safety features,” added Wright. “There is cabin seating on shock mitigation bases, non-slip deck treatments, and handhold rails throughout the vessel including the length of the internal cabin walkway and external roof. In addition to prescribed safety equipment such as a buoyant life ring, there is a floating ‘safety-cell’ in the aft cockpit that houses safety equipment and can be readily deployed.”

Wright added that there is also a carbon-fibre litter, which is becoming more commonplace as standard equipment on rescue vessels in many jurisdictions.

Volvo Penta inboard diesel engine on Yaragada, a new rescue boat delivered to the South Australian State Emergency Service
Photo: Nautic Star

To help address fatigue at sea, Nautic Star designed and manufactured its own captain’s chairs with fold-up armrests. Nighttime operations are aided by a black cabin interior as well as blacked-out areas on the foredeck and bow rails. Dark grey ultralon decking and spotlight/floodlighting are positioned correctly on the vessel to minimise reflection.

In addition to the interior lighting fitout, down lights are installed for each seating position with a narrow 12-degree beam to provide light to each person without illuminating the cabin and windscreen. These lights can be overridden by the helm operator if required.

All radios have additional speakers in the wheelhouse roof to assist with clear instruction.  All electronics and equipment are operated from a carefully planned out helm and navigator position dash layout, which is custom-designed to client requirements.

Developed in close coordination with SASES

A compact rope block hooked to the opposite side of the gunwale through the sea door allows a person to be easily winched onto the aft deck. All rope lockers are well drained with large ventilation outlets to allow the rope and storage compartments to dry between uses.

“We have also designed a retractable up and down FLIR/electronics tower, which negates the need for the crew to physically get onto the roof to raise and lower the electronic equipment when the vessel is being towed on the road or placed in storage,” said Nautic Star. “This rescue vessel also has 240V shore power for charging the battery system at a marina.”

The vessel has 6mm frameless ceramic band toughened glass all throughout with sliding windows port and starboard and a forward-opening front middle window. The latter allows for not only communication with persons on the bow but also extra ventilation.

“All facets of the build are done in house, including design, fabrication, hot works, paint, fit-out including electrical and mechanical, foam collar manufacture, and upholstery,” Nautic Star told Baird Maritime. “We also designed and manufactured the custom trailer. At all times throughout the build, there is excellent communication between the different trades to ensure that as the vessel progresses along the line, it is prepped and organised for the next stage.”

The builder added that the system also allows the easier implementation of thorough quality control checks. Prior to construction, and in coordination with the client, the company conducted a complete and comprehensive weight assessment of the hull and all its equipment with LCG and VCG of all components added to the vessel.  This information is put into the model, which allows the builder to identify the centre of gravity of the vessel and to tweak where necessary before construction begins.

“This exercise ensures that our clients always end up with a product with no issues at practical incline or sea trial stage,” said Nautic Star.

Type of vessel: Rescue/patrol boat
Classification: NSCV 2C
Flag: Australia
Owner: South Australian State Emergency Service, Australia
Operator: South Australian State Emergency Service, Australia
Designer: Nautic Star, Australia
Builder: Nautic Star, Australia
Hull construction material: Aluminium
Superstructure construction material: Aluminium
Deck construction material: Aluminium
Length overall: 8.94 metres (29.3 feet)
Length bp: 8.59 metres (28.2 feet)
Beam: 2.9 metres (9.5 feet)
Displacement: 5.9 tonnes
Main engine: Volvo Penta D6-340 inboard
Maximum speed: 40 knots
Displays: 2 x Furuno Navnet TZT2
Radar: Furuno DRS4D
Radios: 2 x ICOM VHF
Autopilot: Furuno Navpilot-711C
Compass: Furuno PG-700
GPS: Furuno GP-330B
Plotter: Furuno
AIS: Furuno FA-70
Night vision: Teledyne FLIR M332
Other electronics: Airmar B60 transducer; mobile phone router; power over ethernet injector; FLIR video distributor
Seating: Nautic Star
External lighting: Hella
Floor surface finish: Ultralon
Firefighting equipment: Stat-X
Type of fuel: Diesel
Fuel capacity: 600 litres (130 gallons)
Crew: 4
Passengers: 8
Operational area: Eyre Peninsula, Australia

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