Barry 2018-08-16

Building the world’s biggest Eco Tourism Sealegs was didn’t happen overnight, in fact the process started 10 years ago. Rob Kirby, Managing Director of Kirby Marine explains how it all happened.

About 10 years ago I got a call from a very good customer of ours wanting to run an idea past us for a proposed Eco Tourism venture in remote eco sensitive location in Victoria. We’d  had a very successful relationship with the customer supplying Naiad designed vessels in a non amphibious application with Eco Tour vessels over many years. 

The idea came to mind after he’d seen the larger version of the Sealegs System 100 in action after consulting with Tourism Victoria for furthering tourism opportunities in class “A” reserves.

The requirement was for a vessel to operate with limited impact in Parks and Wildlife locations with little or no infrastructure.

A number of locations were identified as being suitable which then led to a process of expressions of interest seeking submissions for how they propose to meet the demands required of Parks Victoria.       

Pennicott Wilderness Journeys was the successful respondent having  a proven track record of many years of successful operation in eco sensitive areas in Tasmania and offering a solution to no infrastructure and of low impact in a Class A reserve.

Robert Pennicott started the ball rolling by meeting with Sealegs to establish the parameters for a successful outcome for all, these being the maximum amount of passengers possible on board to make the venture viable and stay within the engineering parameters of the Sealegs SYS100.  

Naiad Design NZ started on a detailed weight study and hull design on a 11-12M vessel incorporating the wheel assembly and power pack for the vessel and seating around 30 passengers and 2 crew.    

This build is the first of an order of three for Kirby Marine in Western Australia who specialise in commercial rigid inflatable vessels and performance recreational craft.

During the build there were numerous engineering challenges in staying true to the design teams and also in complying with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority NSCV survey regulations for a class 1 passenger carrying vessel. 

The final outcome was simply stunning in all aspects, the amphibious Sealegs component worked a treat and showed no hesitation in soft sand and steep inclines with minimal load on the hydraulic power pack.  

We are confident this is the start of exciting times for the Sealegs SYS100 concept on numerous vessel designs in the near future.

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