VESSEL REVIEW | Ecklonia – Eight-metre diving/patrol RHIB for south-east Australian parks department

Ecklonia PFG Group Parks Victoria external view

Tasmania’s PFG Group successfully tendered for the design, construction and supply of a rigid hull collared patrol and dive boat for Parks Victoria for Marine Science and Research in December 2018. The vessel needed to be capable of securely storing 14 dive bottles in removable racking.

Parks Victoria is a statutory authority of the government of the Australian state of Victorian, responsible for managing the parks and reserves in an ecologically appropriate and “culturally sympathetic” way. This includes the management of 70 per cent of Victoria’s coastline.

Parks Victoria required the vessel for patrol boat and diving operations in Victorian waters, to be operated with two crew and six special personnel under the local 2C survey to 30 nautical miles.

An overall length of 6.0 to 7.5 metres was nominated, with the beam not to exceed 2.5 metres, including the collars. Of particular importance was the need for good high-speed stability, seaworthiness and the provision of a soft ride.

The HDPE vessel model submitted in the tender was a variant on one of PFG’s existing range, designed as a highly stable platform with high manoeuvrability and a shallow draught, allowing the vessel to sit very flat, without the tendency to drift or skim, in all weather conditions.

The dive bottle racking needed to securely house up to 14 dive bottles, which was achieved through racking as well as incorporating the system into the seating structures on the deck. The dive bottle racking is removable to provide a clear deck space at the stern and bow of the vessel.

“Achieving sufficient deck space while satisfying the storage requirements of the dive bottles was a challenge,” said Robert Inches, PFG’s CEO. “The polyurethane welded D-collar helped to achieve this outcome, creating extra deck space relative to a C-collar.”

Twin Yamaha four-stroke 150-horsepower (110kW) outboards power the vessel to deliver a top speed of 43 knots

The chosen electronics setup is fairly basic, and comprises a Simrad radar, plotters and GPS systems.

The deck equipment includes a Muir 850 winch, custom folding dive ladders for easy access in and out of the water, and a 130kg hand operated davit for manual lifting.

The vessel was fitted with the davit to accommodate material handling requirements. She is also fitted with three lifting points for hoisting the vessel through the canopy.

Ecklonia PFg Group Parks Victoria General Arrangement Drawing Blueprint

Type of vessel: Diving/patrol boat
Classification: 2C Restricted
Flag: Australia
Owner: Parks Victoria, Australia
Operator Parks Victoria, Australia
Designer: One2three Naval Architects, Australia
Builder: PFG Group, Australia
Construction material: HDPE
Plate cutting: Multicam SR4021 Vi CNC router
Length overall: 7.9 metres
Length waterline: 7.15 metres
Beam: 2.5 metres
Draught: 0.55 metres
Depth: 0.56 metres
Displacement: 2.751 tonnes
Deadweight tonnage: 2.751 tonnes
Gross tonnage: 2.86
Main engines: 2 x Yamaha 4-stroke, each 150 hp (110 kW)
Steering system: Hydraulic
Maximum speed: 43 knots
Cruising speed: 20 knots
Range: 120 nautical miles
Batteries: 3 x Seal lead acid marine
Electronics supplied by: Seamaster
Radar: Simrad 4G
Depth sounder: Simrad 9″ touch screen
Radio: Simrad
Sonar: Simrad
GPS: Simrad
Plotter: Simrad 9″ touch screen
Winch/es Muir 850
Other deck equipment: Hand operated davit, 130kg
Windows: Glass
Seating: PFG Group manufactured
Lighting: LED deck; Flood and navigation lights; 2 x handheld spot lights
Floor/deck surface finishes: Rubber/foam matting
Type of fuel: Unleaded
Fuel capacity: 220 litres
Crew: 2
Passengers: 6

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