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R.S. Baker

Vessel Number: HV000327
Date: 1952
Dimensions:
Vessel Dimensions: 9.3 m x 2.69 m x 1.32 m, 6.9 tonnes (30.51 ft x 8.83 ft x 4.33 ft, 7.01 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Significance
R.S. BAKER is a harbour launch and pilot boat built in 1952 at the South Australian Harbors Board Birkenhead Dockyard to their own design. It remained in service for over forty years working at different South Australian regional ports. It represents a work boat built in-house with the resources and staff of the State's public service. In 2009 R.S. BAKER retained its original engine and appearance as a work boat, although now used recreationally.
DescriptionR.S BAKER was one of three similar boats built by the South Australian Harbors Board in the early 1950s. All named after Board employees, the other two were R.G. PEAK and C.W TOWNSEND. 'Roy Sutton Baker' was a long standing engineer on the Board's vessels and also worked at the Board's dockyard.

The jarrah planked wooden hulled vessel was constructed as a mooring launch to be used in Port Adelaide and Outer Harbour, but was later transferred to Wallaroo and then Port Giles where it became both the pilot boat and mooring launch. R.S BAKER operated very close to large vessels as they manouvered in and out of berths and moorings, almost too close in one instance when the crew of a ship dropped their five tonne anchor within centimetres of R.S. BAKER 's bow.

R.S. BAKER worked in South Australia's Spencer Gulf and was involved in the October 1959 night time rough weather search and rescue effort for the trading ketch MILFORD CROUCH, which later sank. The vessel also helped recreational craft in distress and ran errands for the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

R.S. BAKER was retired from service in the late 1980s to become a fishing charter vessel at Kangaroo Island, and then later a recreational launch in Goolwa. Extensively overhauled in 2007/2008, much of the original material was retained or repaired with similar timbers; it now has new marine plywood decks. The faithful original 3LW Gardner engine still runs as new after minor maintenance.
Vessel Details
Ballast:lead
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Current status:operational
Deck layout:cabin
Deck layout:decked with cockpit
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:displacement
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:motor vesselMV
Propeller:single
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
Alternate Numbers

Vessel Registration Number: RI 53 S

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