AMPI reviews Dongara Marine pilot boat range

Reprinted from Winter 2021 edition of SAFE Passage, the journal of the Australasian Marine Pilots Institute

The Winter 2021 issue of SAFE Passage – the journal of the Australasian Marine Pilots Institute (AMPI) – contains a review of some of Dongara Marine's current range of Berkeley Class pilot boats.

Here is what AMPI had to say (article reproduced with permission):

Dongara Pilot Boat Review

Pilot boat range expands to meet variety of operational and commercial requirements

Dongara Marine says market interest spurred by the in-service success of its flagship 19.2 metre Berkeley Class has led it to expand its pilot boat range.

Three of the 19.2 metre aluminium and composite boats have entered service since mid-2015. Dongara Marine’s Managing Director, Rohan Warr, says this underlines the success of its market-entry strategy.

“Design and construction of the first Berkeley Class pilot launch was financed and overseen by our Founding Director John Fitzhardinge with the goal of producing the best pilot boat in Australia,” he said.

“It has since been described by Marine Pilots as the ‘Rolls-Royce of pilot boats’, and we have delivered two more of the same 19.2 metre design. Receiving that recognition from the end users has been very gratifying,” Warr said.

The two additional pilot boats – Argonaut Marine Group’s AMG Winyama and HSA Marine’s Genesis – were both customised to their owner’s requirements, including having different main engine packages.

The diversity of ports and pilotage operations both in Australia and overseas has meant that Dongara Marine has fielded interest for pilot boats covering a range of technical and commercial expectations.

“Not everyone can justify a Rolls-Royce,” Warr noted, adding that as a custom boatbuilder the company was well equipped to deliver on a range of requirements.

Demonstrating this we have built a variety of other custom vessels since the delivery of Fremantle PilotsBerkeley in 2015. In addition to pilot boats these have included lines boats, harbour work craft, commercial fishing boats, a catamaran ferry, and rescue RIBs.

Expanded product range

As a result of market interest Dongara Marine’s core pilot boat product range now includes three vessel sizes, all designed by Southerly Designs:

  • The 16 metre BerkeleyXVI
  • The 17 metre BerkeleyXVII
  • The 19 metre BerkeleyXIX

“To further cater for specific operator requirements and preferences we are able to customise virtually any aspect
of these core designs,” Warr noted.

“This includes a range of options for engines, propulsion types, and layout.”

Variants featuring waterjet, propeller, and steerable IPS drive propulsion have already been developed.

“Working with our design partner Southerly Designs, Dongara Marine also offers completely bespoke vessel solutions to specific pilotage operation requirements, all drawing on the same outstanding heritage as the Berkeley Class,” he added.

Berkeley Class Pilot Boat Designs Australia
Developed in conjunction with Southerly Designs, the Berkeley Class range of pilot boats now includes three core vessel sizes each available with a range of engine and propulsion options and other features tailored to customer requirements

Pilotage industry partner

Warr said Dongara Marine recognised the specialised nature of marine pilotage and will continue to adopt a partnership approach to developing pilot boats.

“While we are, of course, seeking to sell more boats, we view publicising our recent pilot launch development efforts as a catalyst for ongoing dialogue between pilots, pilot boat operators, and industry (ourselves) with respect various pilot vessel requirements and solutions,” he said.

Dongara Marine Managing Director - Rohan Warr
Rohan Warr on a Berkeley Class pilot boat under construction

“Dongara Marine views expanding our knowledge of specific user expectations as an important part of continually improving our technical solutions, something we believe we have done with our pilot boats to date.

“In parallel we see increased knowledge of industry and vessel capability and considerations as important in refining and defining buyer requirements for future pilot boat acquisitions.

“We love talking about boats, and always welcome comments and questions from pilots and pilot boat operators any aspect of pilot boat design and construction. That’s true regardless of whether they are currently planning to acquire new vessels,” Warr concluded.

For further information on Berkeley Class pilot boats, or to discuss any aspect of pilot boat design and construction, please contact us:

Phone: +61 8 9927 2257
Email: [email protected]

About AMPI

The Australasian Marine Pilots Institute is the professional body representing marine pilots throughout Australasia. It assists in the setting of standards, safety management and provides support and guidance with ongoing professional development.

AMPI provides advice to regulators on how to improve operational safety in our ports, and ensures that member pilots and their organisations continue to lead in world’s best practice. Together with its partners, AMPI has developed a set of training standards for both initial and continual training for pilots. As a partner of the International Marine Pilots Association, AMPI also has input into all important decisions made by the International Maritime Organisation.