Spirit of Kalbarri

Refit and repower for Marine Rescue Kalbarri

One of a series of refits undertaken for the Western Australian Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) in 2020, this project updated and extended the life of the rigid inflatable boat (RIB) Spirit of Kalbarri.

The boat was originally officially launched in November 2014 after being constructed by another boatbuilder.

During the first half of 2020, DFES and Marine Rescue Kalbarri issued a request to a number of companies to undertake necessary maintenance and refit for both the boat and trailer. Dongara Marine was selected to undertake the project in June 2020.

The scope of the significant work package we undertook to improve and extend the Naiad-designed vessel’s capabilities included:

  • Installation of a new collars and bladders onto the rigid hull;
  • Repowering with new twin 250hp Yamaha outboards;
  • Painting including updating the livery to meet new Marine Rescue WA standards;
  • Supply and install a new electronics package including a new radio direction finder as well as twin 16-inch multi-function plotters, autopilot, AIS and radar all from Furuno;
  • Fabrication and installation of a new handrail to enable crew to work on the bow with greater ease and safety;
  • Replacement of two existing crew seats with Shockwave suspension seats; and
  • Boat trailer maintenance including new skids, bearings and brakes.

The refurbished and upgraded Spirit of Kalbarri is now even better equipped for its role undertaking marine rescue operations in areas north of Geraldton and south of Shark Bay. This includes the recovery and towing of disabled vessels; distress situations such as sinking or overturned boats; searching for overdue vessels and any search and rescue situations deemed appropriate by Western Australia Police.

The Kalbarri volunteers are one of 37 Marine Rescue WA groups situated along Western Australia’s coastline from Esperance in the south to Kununurra in the north that are managed and funded through DFES. Another two, in Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands, are funded and managed by the Commonwealth.

For more information on Volunteer Marine Rescue Western Australia (VMRWA) visit www.vmrwa.org.au or its Facebook page.

“As a company based in the Mid West, employing local people, and using predominantly local suppliers, we are thrilled to have been able to work with DFES to provide our region and the all-important volunteers with enhanced SAR capability.”

Rohan Warr - Dongara Marine


Principal Particulars
Propulsion & Performance
Other Details
Project type
Vessel Refit / Repair
Marine Rescue Kalbarri / Department of Fire and Emergency Services
Vessel Type
Search and rescue
Hull type
Monohull (RIB)
Naiad Design
Construction materials
Aluminium hull and superstructure
Survey / Class
Length overall
8.5 metres
3.0 metres
0.75 metres
Seating for 4 personnel
580 litres
Fresh water
Main engines
2 x Yamaha F250 outboards
Main engine rating
2 x 186kW
2 x outboards
Maximum speed
47.0 knots
Service speed
30.0 knots
Vessel builder
Kirby Marine
Inflatable full round collar