New generation patrol boat will protect Great Barrier Reef

Written by Nick Blenkey
Silver hulled catamaran vessel

Reef Resilience is the second Incat Crowther-designed vessel to join Australia's Marine Parks fleet.

The Norman R. Wright & Sons shipyard in Brisbane, Australia, has delivered the Reef Resilience, the second of two new-generation Incat Crowther 24 patrol boats built for the Great Barrier Reef Field Management Program.

Reef Resilience will service the southern region of the reef from her home port in Gladstone, while sister vessel Reef Ranger will continue to service the northern region from Cairns.

The vessel’s duties include compliance monitoring, marine park and island national park management, diving and research operations. The vessel will also operate in remote offshore waters within the Australian EEZ for extended periods of up to three months.


Incat Crowther collaborated with Australia’s Department of Environment and Science (DES) to optimize the latest design with a focus on operational efficiency. The most significant enhancement is a new hull form.

“The new hull is designed to handle Queensland conditions up to 200 nautical miles from the coast with strong winds and 3 meter significant wave heights,” says Dan Mace, Incat Crowther’s Technical Manager. “Long transits at 20 knots in these seas can lead to uncomfortable slamming on a vessel of this size, but with this latest hull form we have been able to eliminate this, making a smoother ride and enhanced crew comfort.”

Speed and seakeeping tests were carried out at at the Australian Maritime College’s (AMC) towing tank facilities.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) were used to optimize the hull, and the performance was independently verified by speed and seakeeping tests at the Australian Maritime College’s (AMC) towing tank facilities.


Powered by twin MAN D2862 LE463 main engines, Reef Resilience easily cruises at 20 knots at efficient RPM and impressively low fuel burn. Recent sea trials saw a top speed of 27 knots. Humphree interceptors with auto trim and active ride control are utilized to increase comfort for crew.

Combining the hull performance with the increased internal space afforded by its large beam, Reef Resilience offers capability unparalleled in a vessel of her size.

The vessel is constructed and fitted out to a very high standard by theshipyard. The fit out focused on the use of lightweight construction techniques to keep the vessel’s weight in check whilst maintaining a robust hull structure.

A 6.2 meter RHIB tender is fitted in a fast launch cradle between the hulls aft, with the ability to launch whilst underway at 6 knots in offshore sea conditions of 3 meter significant wave height. The upper deck cargo area is rated to 1 t/sq.m and designed to accommodate two (2) x 4.4 meter RHIB tenders and one ( 5.5 meter work barge.

Operational flexibility is provided by large transom platforms which allow the tenders to tie-up to the mothership in-between tasks.

Solar panels add to vessel’s energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is aided by 6 kW of roof-mounted solar panels to maximize the use of available renewable energy and reduce environmental impact.

Reef Resilience is the second Incat Crowther-designed vessel for the Marine Parks fleet. Two more vessels are under construction, a 17 meter patrol boat and a recently-signed 20 meter landing craft.

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