Date: Thu, Apr 28th, 2016 12:00:00 am
Designed and built by Jet Torque Marine in Fremantle, the new patrol craft is a 6.5 metre Gemini Elite powered by twin 115hp Mercury SeaPro FourStroke outboards.
"The Vessel is fully surveyed to AMSA 2C, and to make that possible it's been built with a foam collar instead of the normal inflatable tube," explained Dave Johnson, the man behind Jet Torque Marine.
"This gives the boat positive buoyancy even with six people and a host of work gear aboard.
"Under regulations many commercial vessels can go 30 miles from land but if they island hop they can be 100 miles (160 km) from the mainland, so if you're patrolling that far out you want all the safety you can get.
"Using foam has also allowed us to get creative in the design of the tube. Because we're not working with air, the collar doesn't have to have a round cross-section so we've raised the gunwale height to comply with survey, shaved the inside flat to create more internal space and we've flattened the top as well to make it easier for staff to get in and out."
On-water testing showed the foam collar has certainly not impeded the boat's performance.
"Everyone who's ridden in it so far has been really impressed," Dave said.
The twin 115 SeaPros pushed it to 37 knots, but there's plenty of power to spare.
"It certainly could go faster, but it's been deliberately propped with 19 pitch Enertias to make sure it accelerates very quickly and responds really fast.
"That's important because the boat's going to be based at Esperance, so it'll be beach launched regularly and be dealing with that area's tough, changeable conditions.
"It actually takes less than a second to get on the plane, which just makes you go 'wow'."
With a 300 litre fuel tank, the boat has an operating range of some 200 nautical miles travelling at 30 knots.
SeaPro the obvious choice
"The 115 SeaPro was lighter than the other engines. It had more power – 115 compared to 100. It offered a counter-rotating version, and it came with a two year commercial warranty versus a one year. How could you pass that up?"
That's not to mention Mercury SeaPro's biggest claim to fame; the fact they are designed specifically for commercial applications with increased durability and longer engine life.
SeaPro engines, with robust high displacement and low-weight design, deliver both the performance and toughness required by operators who have their boats out on the water and working day in, day out.
For example - the SeaPro's upper mounts are twice as stiff as those on recreational models; their gearcases let you drain the oil without having to remove the boat from the water; and their larger Command Thrust gearcase provides more leverage to control the boat particularly at lower speeds.
The winning combination of a Gemini Elite hull, SeaPro power and a foam collar is one that will be seen much more, if Dave is any judge.
"I've been working with RIBs for a long time and this is a great package that's the first of its kind as far as I know.
"It's ideal for this sort of work by the various authorities – fisheries, parks and wildlife, the police. It's high-performance, safe, long-life, low maintenance and it can be easily modified to suit their particular needs."
All SeaPro models feature Mercury's 2 year/unlimited hours Government Warranty or 2 year/1,000 hour Commercial Warranty and are backed by the largest service network in the industry.