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Slipping the Shoalhaven Explorer

June 20, 2018

This month we have been busy with our annual survey inspections on the Shoalhaven Explorer.  Every year we have our vessel inspected to ensure it, along with the equipment, meets the standard to ensure a safe environment for our passengers and crew.

There are two inspections that need to be carried out, an ‘In Water’ Inspection, where the inspector comes onboard the Shoalhaven Explorer, while it is in the water, to check the vessels structure, the safety equipment, the operating equipment as well as the hulls and holding tanks. There is also an ‘Out of Water’ inspection that is only conducted every few years. This allows the inspector to check the legs and props as well as the underneath of the hull to ensure everything is in good working order and safe.

This is our very first Survey, so it was a bit daunting. This year incorporated both the ‘In Water’ and ‘Out of Water’ survey inspections.  This meant that the inspections would be conducted on different days which allowed us time to put the Shoalhaven Explorer up on the Slipway.  We also used the opportunity to give the Shoalhaven Explorer a good clean up and paint as well as servicing the running gear.


What’s involved in slipping a boat the size of the Shoalhaven Explorer?

The Shoalhaven Explorer weighs approx 11 tonnes, so getting it out of the water is a pretty big deal. Luckily for us, the slipway at Greenwell Point is capable of lifting the Shoalhaven Explorer up and out of the water. The first step was setting the slipway up so that the Shoalhaven Explorer would sit balanced. We did this the day before we planned to slip the vessel. With the help of previous skippers, we had everything set up in no time at all.
Next, we had to bring the Shoalhaven Explorer downriver from it’s mooring near the Nowra Public Wharf to Greenwell Point.6 amis journey started very early at 6am to ensure that we were ready to go up on the slip during high tide at around 9.15am. The Shoalhaven Explorer arrived at Greenwell Point at 8.45am which allowed enough time to ensure everything was all set up and ready to go.  Luke, ‘The Slip Master’, arrived not long after and soon we were all ready to go.  Once the Slip Carriage was moved down into the water, our skipper Norm, made it look easy when he drove the Shoalhaven Explorer straight onto the carriage.  Once everything was tied off securely, Luke waved his magic wand and the Shoalhaven Explorer exited the water.  It was very impressive to see such a large vessel coming out of the water so easily. I managed to get a video of the whole process so will put that on our website once I get a chance.

Cleaning off the Hitchhikers

Once everything was locked into place, it was time to start the tough job of cleaning the hitchhikers off the Shoalhaven Explorer.  I could not believe how many barnacles had attached themselves to the hulls of the boat and boy was it hard work scraping all those little suckers off. It was a very satisfying experience though and once we got into a rhythm it didn’t take that long at all.





Antifoul, what is it good for!

Next, we had to paint on the Antifoul. This product is designed to stop the critters from attaching to the hull and needs to be applied regularly to work.  Unfortunately, it had been more than 12 months since the antifoul was last applied so that meant the barnacles had invited all of their mates and were having a party on the hull.


All Antifouled Up!!

Mechanical Service

While this was going on, there was also some mechanical servicing happening. This was to ensure that when we got the Shoalhaven Explorer back in the water, everything would be running like a well-oiled machine. This was a labour-intensive activity that saw Tim and Norm busy for most of the first day. Thankfully, everything was finalised, and we were able to put the vessel back in the water during the high tide on the 2nd day.


On top of all these things we also decided to repaint the rest of the hull and thought that the Shoalhaven Explorer deserved a makeover. Stay tuned for the transformation which will be revealed soon 😉

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