VESSEL REVIEW | Geelong Flyer – Refined catamaran ferry for Australia’s Melbourne-Geelong route

Building upon the success of its sister ship, Bellarine Express, the new ferry Geelong Flyer represents a refinement of Incat’s small catamaran formula, providing a capable platform to transport passengers and their belongings across Melbourne’s Port Phillip.

Geelong Flyer can accommodate 409 passengers and crew, offering seating on two decks, both in and outdoors. This vessel features public access wi-fi, satellite television, integrated CCTV, air-conditioning, a large kiosk, and active ride control with a clean and efficient drivetrain.

The vessel complies with AMSA Survey Reg IC F2 Fast Craft to NSCV and DNV rules. Surveyed to 1D, the vessel is capable of carrying additional passengers beyond a typical 1C ferry.

Passenger facilities

Passengers board amidships via large and inviting double doors port and starboard. Additional access is provided aft for those wishing to access the kiosk, toilet facilities, bike racks and upper promenade deck via the rear stairs. The fully accessible aft deck and foredeck allow passengers to observe the passage travelled or journey yet to come.

All passengers aboard are treated to a spacious and natural light filled main cabin. Incat has paid particular attention to ensure an inviting and stylish ambiance for passengers and crew. Public spaces mix wood-finish walkways, luxurious grey carpet and classic walnut, maple and glacier wall panelling. Use of large tinted glass on both decks, arranged in Incat’s signature “glass only” form, allows expansive views of the harbour whilst shielding occupants from glare.

Interior seating features a tasteful colour palate of deep blue, red and grey. The passenger areas offer a flexible mix of aircraft style seating and tables where travellers can relax and enjoy the scenery. The enlarged televisions, Bose speakers, personal charging stations and new aluminium bar tables on the upper promenade deck further complement the features on offer.

A range of disabled passengers are catered for with eight dedicated wheelchair securing points in the main cabin, a hearing augmentation system, brail signage throughout and a spacious and fully equipped toilet built to ICAP standards.

The vessel’s kiosk features stainless-steel food grade benches, cabinets, dual sinks, Hydroboil hot water cylinder, coffee machine, three door display fridge and an under counter ice-cream freezer for sunny days. Liberal use of grey quartz benchtops, wood-style panelling, glass fronted fridges and neutral white lighting gives a bright, inviting and airy atmosphere for crew and customers.

By shifting the aft stairwell outboard and aft, the designers have created internal cabin access to the toilet facilities, fully protected from the elements. The change from its sister ship also allows for a larger upper promenade deck, additional seating on the aft deck with improved rope and equipment storage. Further changes include additional handrails around fairleads to protect passengers around mooring areas.

Toilets feature clean glacier panelling, hardwearing grey flooring, hygienic air-blade dryers, porcelain hand basins and high quality stainless-steel fittings. The enlarged disabled toilet also offers baby changing facilities.

The vessel features generous storage throughout with custom-made luggage racks, a wet weather gear locker for crew, an under-stair cleaner’s cupboard and 20 bike racks on the aft deck. Life jackets are located under each seat with extras in storage lockers located on the foredeck and aft deck.

The wheelhouse

The wheelhouse features the latest Furuno FMD 3200 navigation, CZONE control equipment and operational systems with fully independent wing stations to control vessel positioning during docking and departure procedures. Remote release safety systems and CCTV contribute to a high level of operational safety at all times.

The crew have an uninterrupted view across the bow from raised black leather helm seating with integrated cup holders All control instrumentation is fully visible and a dark grey and black fitout to the main console minimises distraction and light reflection.

A stand-up desk, full height cupboard, safe, VIP lounge and purser’s desk provide a highly usable space for crew to examine and store charts, books, computers, safety equipment, valuables and clothing.

An integrated alarm system with motion sensors, a large array of cameras and remote locking on all exterior doors ensure the vessel is secure when unattended. Swipe-card style access is fitted to prevent unauthorised access into the main cabin. The security monitoring system permits monitoring and control of the vessel security directly from the wheelhouse with remote access control from onshore security built-in.

Multiple ceiling mounted air-conditioning units provide efficient and effective climate control of all passenger and crew areas. Temperatures can be adjusted via access points in the main cabin and wheelhouse. All toilets and the kiosk are fitted with exhaust fans to ensure a constant circulation of air so unwanted odours are removed from the vessel quickly and quietly.

In the event of an emergency, passengers can disembark into one of the seven life rafts deployed from cradles on the vessel roof. A rescue dinghy is provided at the transom should crew need to access someone fallen overboard whilst at sea. In addition, detachable man overboard ladders can be fitted to both port or starboard sides of the main deck to allow a crew or passengers to climb aboard from water level.

Propulsion

The engine rooms feature an aerosol fire-suppression system operated from the wheelhouse. Heat, smoke and fire detectors are fitted in machinery spaces. Passenger areas have break-glass call points, fire extinguishers and emergency lighting in case of emergency. Dedicated fire-fighting stations are located near the aft doors on both the port and starboard sides to control engine room extinguishers and shut-offs.

Propulsion power is provided by two MAN D2862 LE463 marine diesel engines rated at a maximum output of 1,029 kW at 2,100 rpm. Thrust comes via two five-blade, fixed pitch propellers connected to each engine via Twin Disc MGX6620 gearboxes. The drive train allows the vessel to achieve over 28 knots at 100 per cent MCR with 35 tonnes of deadweight.

A fully integrated Humphree ride control system provides improved comfort and stability for the often-rough conditions of Port Phillip. The active interceptor blades, combined with the centre bow design, ensure vessel motions are kept to a minimum whenever possible.

Geelong Flyer
SPECIFICATIONS
Type of vessel: Ferry
Classification: NSCV 1D F2 Fast Craft
Owner: Port Phillip Ferries, Australia
Designer: Revolution Design, Australia
Builder: Incat, Australia
Construction material: Aluminium
Length overall: 36.4 metres
Length measured: 34.9 metres
Beam, moulded: 9.9 metres
Hull beam: 2.4 metres
Draught: 1.3 metres
Deadweight, maximum: 41 tonnes
Main engines: 2 x MAN D2862 LE463 1,029 kW @ 2,100 rpm
Gearboxes: 2 x Twin Disc MGX6620
Propulsion: 2 x Veem 5-blade counter-rotating propellers
Gensets: 2 x Caterpillar C4.4, each 515 ekW
Steering: 2 x Stainless steel rudders, hydraulically operated by electric pumps with 24V DC backup
Service speed: 28 knots
Maximum speed: 32 knots
Air conditioning: 9 x Daikin split system AC, each 7kW
Liferafts: 6 x RFD, each 65 pax; RFD 30 pax
Diesel fuel oil: 8,600 litres
Fresh water: 1,500 litres
Sullage: 2,000 litres
Passengers: 403
Crew: 6

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