Boating NZ - - Boat Business -

Aus­tralia’s Gold Coast has 400 kilo­me­tres of canals which must be constantly main­tained and cleaned.

Wing­brook Ma­rine op­er­ates a fleet of four spe­cial­ist craft work­ing the canals six days a week. Each ves­sel cov­ers at least 60 kilo­me­tres of canal per day.

The work boat, a 2x6-me­tre alu­minium punt used to haul up to 17 wheelie bins of rub­bish, is pow­ered by a 75hp Mer­cury out­board that has just notched up 10,000 hours.

Man­ager Kevin Ad­shead has fit­ted a Seapro 115hp Fourstroke to the com­pany’s barge, re­plac­ing a Mer­cury 115hp Fourstroke that has more than 5,000 hours of ser­vice.

The Seapro has a Com­mand Thrust gear­box which is specif­i­cally de­signed to pro­vide bet­ter per­for­mance and con­trol on larger, heav­ier craft. “The barge weighs 20 tonnes and is al­ways car­ry­ing a six-tonne ex­ca­va­tor and a three-tonne bob­cat… so, about 29 tonnes all up be­fore we load it with rocks or any­thing,” Kevin ex­plained.

Since fit­ting the Seapro, the ves­sel’s han­dling and power char­ac­ter­is­tics have im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly.

“There’s a sec­tion of the canal – the Monaco Street Bridge – which has a re­ally pow­er­ful tidal flow that runs at 5-6 knots. We can now go through there against the full tide and not worry about it push­ing 29 tonnes, which is quite some­thing.” The Seapro has never stalled or stopped.

“This is com­mer­cial re­al­ity: if this en­gine breaks down then we don’t get paid. That’s why I like Seapros,” Kevin said. www.mer­cury­ma­

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