AWARDS 2023 | Best Debris Collection Vessel – 8.5-metre Debris Collecting Boat – Rockabill Marine Design

Best Debris Collection Vessel – 8.5-metre Debris Collecting Boat (Photo: MMS)
Best Debris Collection Vessel – 8.5-metre Debris Collecting Boat (Photo: MMS)

Simple, strong, quiet, economical and very effective, this electric outboard-powered aluminium catamaran appears perfect for collecting rubbish from inland waters in populated areas.

At 8.5 metres by 2.55 metres and displacing 1.9 tonnes it is truck portable, just, and requires only one crewman.

"Its simplicity is what makes this boat unique," Ruairi Grimes, Rockabill Marine Design (RMD) Managing Director, told Baird Maritime. "Designers are trained to design and therefore more becomes more and most boats are simply over designed. The main focus of this boat, however, was to not to 'over-design' things and instead keep it simple, with as few moving parts as possible. Apart from the propulsion system, there is one moving part – the basket, which moves up and down when it's full."

Grimes said the work on the debris collection boat provided an excellent learning opportunity for one of the company's junior designers, Chris Haslam, to lead a project. This gave him an understanding of the whole process of designing a boat from concept, through build, to it being in use, at a really early stage in his career.

"For this boat, the regulatory challenge was in relation to the propulsion system, as the workboat code 3 had been issued in draft but not finalised, and the workboat code 2 does not cover electric propulsion. So it was difficult to anticipate what would be needed by the regulators."

RMD is a fairly new company, having been in operation for only almost two years, though Grimes said it is fortunate that a number of customers have provided the company with diverse opportunities for collaboration and growth. Details of some of the company's larger projects remain confidential, but several new vessels are scheduled for launch within this year, making the RMD team optimistic about prospects for the future.

When asked about the state of the marine pollution control industry, Grimes remarked that pollution control is currently not profitable.

"To enable better pollution control," he told Baird Maritime, "all types of business need to collaborate to offer lower cost solutions that are scalable and attractive to investors. We can also mitigate the problem at source by developing strong in-house corporate social responsibility policies."

Grimes added that the British workboat industry will be impacted by the introduction of autonomous vessels.

"We've designed two autonomous vessels in the last two years, and I think most of the safety concerns are gone due to technological advancement. We're excited to see new use cases, and to play a part in the evolution of these vessels."

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