Western Australian boatbuilder delivers custom waterjet RIBs

Dongara Marine News Release  28 February 2022

Two experienced private boat owners have spent the summer enjoying the benefits of rigid inflatable boats that were designed and built to their specific requirements.

Two individuals approached Dongara Marine after learning the Western Australian boatbuilder had added RIB manufacture to its suite of vessel construction and refit services. Operating since 1975, the family-owned company had previously primarily focussed on larger offshore capable vessels for professional use.

In fact the boatbuilder’s first RIB was built under contract to the WA Government for use as a Marine Rescue vessel in Shark Bay. Named Cape Rose, the 8.3 metre outboard powered vessel was completed at the end of 2020, and a range of orders for similar Marine Rescue craft have followed since.

Both clients are experienced boat owners with larger motor yachts, and were familiar with more production oriented RIBs available in the market. Finding that those were not able to meet their exact needs, they turned to the full custom design and build option.

8.3 metre RIB

The first customer was seeking a RIB to use for a variety of leisure pursuits including diving and fishing, as well as to act as a tender for a larger motoryacht. Having had experience commissioning full custom yachts, he found that even well-known semi-production RIB design and build suppliers were unable to accommodate requests for specific features. Turning to Dongara Marine, and its vessel design partner Southerly Designs, he was met with a more accommodating approach.

“Our willingness and ability to accommodate specific customer requests was a key factor in the client choosing to build with us,” explained Dongara Marine’s Managing Director, Rohan Warr.

“That’s the benefit of dealing with a fully custom boatbuilder.”

One of the primary specific owner requests incorporated into the 8.3 metre long vessel is the extra wide console. This reflects a desire to maximise protection from wind and spray for the two people seated abaft it. They are also sheltered by a full height, wraparound windscreen supplied by Windows West, and from above by a fixed, solid bimini that Dongara Marine manufactured from carbon fibre.

The interior of the centre console is fitted out with a Tecma Nano marine toilet and is also used for storage. Additional storage is provided in the bow.

8.3 metre custom waterjet RIB built in Western Australia
An extra wide console was requested by the owner for enhanced protection, and delivered by Dongara Marine and Southerly Designs

Dongara Marine’s in house fabrication team manufactured the foam-filled hull and console from marine grade, class-certified aluminium. All structure is to commercial vessel standards, and the hull and superstructure are coated with Awlcraft marine paints. 

Manufactured in Australia by West RIBs, the inflatable collar features fully welded seams, a TPU (polyurethane) outer, and PVC rubbing strake.

To provide high speed and shallow draft, the boat is fitted with waterjet propulsion and a single inboard diesel engine. Here, again, builder and designer were willing and able to accommodate the owner’s specific preferences. 

Most notably, the client nominated use of an Alamarin AJ285A ST waterjet. This is powered by a 4.2 litre Mercury TDI diesel inboard delivering up to 272kW through a ZF 63A gearbox. A Marine Air Flow International system ensures adequate ventilation for the machinery space.

Once fully commissioned and adjusted the propulsion train was able to push the boat to 36 knots at full power.

Zipwake interceptors are fitted to enable optimisation of running trim. Fuel is carried in a pair of 250 litre capacity tanks, and there is also a 60 litre tank for fresh water.

In addition to two Shockwave marine suspension seats behind the console, the RIB has individual seats aft. Between them is a set of transom doors that lead to a substantial marlin board / swim platform. This is fitted with a stainless steel Gineico foldaway ladder. 

Lined with sound absorbing material, the engine box is also fitted with an upholstered cushion for additional seating or sunbaking. Decks are covered with 9mm Stazo Marinedeck 2000 high performance cork composite marine decking.

Reflecting the intended use, the boat is fitted to carry dive bottles, multiple rod holders, and a removable line hauler for retrieving fishing pots / traps. A Muir VC850 vertical capstan is fitted aft for use with the hauler.

Other deck hardware includes a Muir DFF08 free fall horizontal drum winch for the self-stowing 8kg Ultra Anchor which is stowed below the collar. A CCTV system is fitted to enable the skipper to monitor the anchoring process. 

Supplied by Geraldton Marine Electronics, the navigation and communications package features twin 16-inch Garmin GPSMAP 8416xsv multi-function displays for chartplotter / sonar functionality. Transducers are an Airmar SS60 for sounding and a multi-beam Garmin PS51-TH Panoptix for forward-looking sonar capability up to 100 metres ahead of the vessel. A Garmin Reactor 40 autopilot is also fitted.

Communications are covered by an Icom IC-M2000 VHF radio with ZCG ZM24 aerial, with onboard entertainment through a Fusion MS-RA210 marine stereo and matched speakers.

Onboard and navigation lights are Hella Marine LED, with Australian-made Ultra Vision work lamps and lightbar for external illumination.

10.5 metre RIB The Rig

Also custom designed and built for a similarly experienced owner, The Rig is a 10.5 metre long, 3.4 metre beam RIB that also uses an offshore-capable Southerly Designs hullform based on that used by Dongara Marine for its sea search and rescue vessels.

RIB The Rig Western Australia builder Dongara Marine
The 10.5 metre The Rig features a striking dark colour scheme

Finished in a striking dark grey colour scheme courtesy of Awlcraft coatings and Dongara Marine’s in-house painting team, The Rig could easily be mistaken for a special forces craft. It is, however, a private vessel set up for a range of leisure / recreational activities and will be used in conjunction with a larger motor yacht.

While the layout and concept are broadly similar to the 8.3 metre vessel, with greater deck area to work with the larger boat features both forward and aft lounging spaces, as well as a large swim platform / marlin board aft is accessed through centreline doors. For the convenience of those swimming and diving the platform is fitted with a swim shower, and Gineico stainless steel telescoping dive ladder.

RIB The Rig Western Australia builder Dongara Marine
The centre console layout provides plenty of deck space for guests and a range of recreational pursuits

As with the other vessel, the platform and decks are covered with 9mm Stazo Marinedeck 2000 marine decking. Marinedeck is also fitted on top of the engine box.

To make for easier and safer opening of the engine box cover it is raised and lowered using electrically operated Concens linear actuators. An advanced actuator controller enables smooth, parallel, and synchronised operation of the two actuators.

Within the engine space is a single 405kW Cummins QSB6.7 diesel which drives a HamiltonJet HTX30 waterjet via a ZF 286 gearbox. The combination provides a maximum speed of approximately 37 knots. 

“The trials went really well, with even highly experienced waterjet vessel operators commenting that the performance was among the best, if not the best, they had experienced on a waterjet RIB,” Rohan Warr commented.

The engine exhaust includes a custom fibreglass muffler manufactured by Foreshore Marine Exhaust, with the machinery ventilation system supplied by Marine Air Flow International.

RIB The Rig Western Australia builder Dongara Marine
The RIB's handling and performance have impressed seasoned operators of water jet-propelled vessels

The machinery installation also includes an MC2 X3 DC Quick Gyro gyrostabliser supplied by Gineico. Control and monitoring of the gyro, which the owner elected to fit to maximise comfort both underway and at rest, is via a remote control panel on the console. Zipwake interceptors are also fitted for dynamic control of running trim.

Twin Shockwave suspension seats are fitted at the centre console. As with the smaller vessel, the console is sheltered by a large, carbon fibre composite bimini, and a full height wraparound Windows West windscreen including sliding side screens.

The console dash integrates a host of navigation, communication, and control electronics including two 16-inch Furuno TZT3 multifunction displays. These are connected to a range of inputs, including a 3kW Airmar CM599LHW transducer on a Furuno DFF amp. This provides deep sounding capability down to 3,000 metres. A 1kW Airmar SS175H transducer is also fitted. A Furuno SCX21 satellite compass covers GPS functionality as well as providing pitch and roll data for the sounders, and heading information for the Furuno Navpilot 711C autopilot. 

Communications are covered by a Furuno FM4800 VHF radio and a Celfi booster for mobile phones. Also fitted are a Furuno FA-70 Class B AIS transponder and an Airmar WeatherStation.

Geraldton Marine Electronics also supplied and fitted is a 10 speaker Fusion entertainment system with JL Audio amplifiers.

In addition to the aerials associated with the electronics package, the top of the carbon bimini houses three solar panels which are integrated with Victron Energy SmartSolar charge controller and chargers to keep the RIB’s batteries charged.

Also fitted to the bimini are an array of rod holders as well as Ultra Vision LED work lamps and forward light bar. The vessel’s other lighting includes Hella Marine navigation lights and Aqualuma underwater lights.

In addition to the rod holders, the boat is equipped for hauling fishing pots / traps with an arrangement mirroring that on the smaller vessel. A stainless steel bait board is also fitted aft.

RIB The Rig Western Australia builder Dongara Marine
From high powered sounders to rod holder, custom bait board and powered pot haulers the boat is very well-equipped for fishing

Accessed through a side door, the console interior provides a significant amount of storage volume, with additional space within the fixed seating for ice boxes.

The forepeak houses a Lone Star Marine GX2 drum anchor winch. As with the 8.3 metre RIB, the Ultra Anchor anchor self-stows against the stem below the collar.

While the smaller vessel has an inflatable collar, The Rig’s aluminium hull is fitted with a 550mm diameter D-shaped foam filled collar custom manufactured and supplied by West RIBs. The collar consists of polyethylene foam laser cut to suit the gunnel shape, with a Polymar outer and PVC rubbing strip.

Bright future

Dongara Marine is currently contracted to build a range of vessels ranging from a series of RIBs of various designs and commercial fishing boats, right through to a 25 metre catamaran motor yacht. The company is enthusiastic about the private vessel market.

“Buyers of recreational RIBs have many options available to them, so it is very pleasing that experienced boat owners are recognising that we provide an attractive alternative to existing international and local suppliers,” Rohan Warr explained.

“We also hope to capitalise on this and the current yacht project to undertake other custom builds for private buyers seeking something special that they cannot obtain through production and semi-production boats,” he added.

For further details and photos of these vessels click on the links below: