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Vessel Number: HV000216
Date: 1971
Designer: Ray Kemp
Builder: Ray Kemp
Previous Owner:
Vessel Dimensions: 16.76 m x 15.85 m x 4.42 m x 1.79 m, 26 tonnes (55 ft x 52 ft x 14.5 ft x 5.86 ft, 26.42 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
VIGILANT is the oldest, and one of only two wooden police vessels still operating in Australia. It is a good example of Tasmanian wooden boat design and construction from the late 1960s and early 1970s. It is well recognised in Tasmania through its involvement in many major Water Police incidents during more than thirty years.
DescriptionVIGILANT's design was was commissioned in 1970 for the Tasmanian Police when two other craft were due for retirement. Well known local designer and builder Ray Kemp was chosen to supply the new craft. He based it on an existing and proven offshore vessel of his design named SEAHOUND which had operated in the Storm Bay region for a number of years. Kemp built VIGILANT at his Burch Bay boatshed, on the shores of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.

VIGILANT was constructed from the finest woods available, many of them Tasmanian. When launched VIGILANT was recognised as a showpiece for the local Tasmanian boatbuilding industry.

VIGILANT is 16.76 m (55 ft) long by 4.42 m (14.5 ft) wide. The hull is carvel planked in 40 mm thick Huon pine, with a blue gum keel and teak superstructure. It has berths for six crew and is fitted with a galley with stove, microwave, fridge and freezer. VIGILANT operates offshore in all weathers. It has a range of 1000 nautical miles and is equipped with radar, depth sounder, GPS and marine radios. The original twin engines are Cummins diesels, each providing 140 kW of power. VIGILANT's service speed is 10.5 knots with a 12 knot maximum speed.

The vessel was launched on 18 September 1971. VIGILANT continued the Water Police tradition of naming vessels with connotations of watchful and alert.

Its maiden voyage was an extended patrol of the Bass Strait and Flinders Island area to assist the Fisheries Department. This first voyage was an unqualified success, establishing excellent relations between the Police and Fisheries personnel. Since then VIGILANT has participated in numerous incidents, rescuing people and vessels, carrying out patrol and escort duties, and in many community activities. It supported divers in the immediate aftermath of the 1975 Tasman Bridge collapse, searched for the cargo ship BLYTHE STAR when it was lost off South West Cape in 1973, and assisted in policing the blockade on the Franklin and Gordon Rivers. It was also the special escort for the Royal Yacht BRITANNIA and, later, the tall ship fleet that gathered in Hobart in 1988 before racing north to Sydney.

VIGILANT has established a very high profile in Tasmania during its career and shares some of this tradition with an earlier patrol vessel ARALLA (HV000091). An interesting touch is the Gerald B Dale Memorial Stove, with the enduring cook's name engraved in the stove front. One of the few modifications since its launch has been the addition of a shade awning aft of the wheelhouse.

In 2008 VIGILANT was still in service and one of the most recognised craft on Hobart's Derwent River and along the east coast, proudly displaying its original trademark pink stripes, part of Ray Kemp's original concept for the boat more than 35 years earlier.

Prepared from research material supplied by the Tasmanian Police Force
Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber plywood
Current status:operational
Deck layout:cabin
Deck layout:full decked
Deck material and construction:timber plywood
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:overhanging stem
Hull shape:plumb transomvertical transom
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:launch deadwood
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:skeg rudder
Motor propulsion:4-stroke4 cycle
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:motor vesselMV
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
ships:Byzantine ships:ships:ship:wheelhouse
Alternate Numbers

Vessel Registration Number: 193

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