June 10, 1998
Fisheries Minister Monty House and Transport Minister Eric Charlton today officially launched a new high-powered $2.13 million patrol boat which will be used to monitor the State's fishing and boating waters.
The 23m, state-of-the-art ‘Walcott' is capable of operating up to 200 nautical miles offshore and travel at speeds of up to 30 knots.
The vessel, which was designed and built in Western Australia, will be jointly operated by Fisheries WA and Transport
"The Walcott will use highly- skilled personnel and is equipped with the latest advancements in boating technology," Mr House said.
"The vessel will operate mainly north of Geraldton with an annual trip to southern waters. It has a range of 1,000 nautical miles.
"Sophisticated tracking and navigational equipment on the Walcott will take the effectiveness of coastal patrols to a new level," he said.
Mr House said the vessel was named after one of the State's earliest fisheries officers, Captain Pemberton Walcott, who was appointed the first Roving Inspector of Pearl Fisheries in 1874.
Mr Charlton said the Coalition had made significant savings by building one highly capable vessel to replace three ageing vessels - two operated by Fisheries and one by Transport.
"Some services were being duplicated, especially the work of the big boats operated by both departments," he said.
"A partnership agreement was signed between the two departments in July last year and the new multi-purpose vessel is a direct result of that partnership. The aim is to maximise opportunities and enhance productivity."
Mr Charlton and Mr House said the idea for a joint patrol boat came out of discussions at an operational level with people like fleet managers and skippers.
The Walcott will patrol State waters for 11 months of the year and will be crewed by officers of both agencies who have been trained to undertake both fisheries and transport duties.
Both Ministers paid tribute to Geraldton Boat Builders, which designed and constructed the vessel, saying that over the past 14 years the company had established a national and international reputation for manufacturing excellence.
Minister House - Julie Cole (08) 9481 2044
Minister Charlton - Doug Cunningham (08) 9321 7333