The Australian-owned, Thai-based designer/builder SeaCat is renowned for its practical, economical boats. As well as filling its regular stream of orders, SeaCat frequently builds on speculation. The fact is that those “spec” boats are invariably snapped up very quickly. These fast landing craft have numerous attractive features not least of which is their low cost.
The vessels can operate without any shore-based facilities. For example, they do not require a jetty to load people/cargo on and off, you can simply drive the vessels up to the beach and lower the bow door and walk onto the beach.
What also makes this version special is its vee bottom, allowing for smooth operation in choppy seas. With an operating speed of 25 knots, fully loaded they allow safer and more efficient access to White Haven Beach, which is a national park and does not have any onshore facilities.
The vessels are versatile enough to be used for day or night passenger transfers between the islands, as well as snorkeling and fishing trips. The owners also required the vessels be low draught and able to land on the beach comfortably as well as carry up to 30 passengers.
It was also a requirement the vessels be in Australian Survey for Class 1D (passenger vessel operating in partially smooth waters). Another special feature of the vessels is that they are easily disassembled to fit into a 40-foot container for shipping.
The owners were looking for a proven design that could be completed quickly and to an Australian Standard. The vessels were completed on-time and on-budget.
“We are an ‘easy-to-deal-with’ Australian boat builder based in Thailand, so we can offer an economical, competitive, cost effective option,” said SeaCat’s Paul Birgan.
The proven design of these heavy duty, aluminium plate barge models is approved by the Australian commercial vessel standards, NSCV Class 1D.
These are the third and fourth landing crafts of this series produced by SeaCat Ships, and are updated versions, with the capacity to hold 32 passengers, cushion seating, and two round centre seats, which are easily converted into raised dining tables.
The side panels were redesigned to give a nicer shape to suit the owner’s requirements, giving the vessels a more stylish appearance.
“2019 has been a very busy year for us at SeaCat Ships,” added Birgan, “as it has been for the past three/four years. We are near to completion of the fifth of this particular landing craft design, built ‘on-spec’ and it has been sold prior to completion.
“2020 will see the commencement of two more of these designs built on-spec which will be available for purchase March 2020.”
When asked where he sees the small landing craft industry heading over the next few years, Mr Birgan said that he can see demand increasing given current trends, and as the word gets out about how economical they are to purchase and to operate, he imagines the demand will continue to grow as will the designs and construction.
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