New wave of boats join Water Police fleet

Victoria Police will be harbouring some shiny additions to its marine fleet, with the latest flotilla of new vessels setting sail from Williamstown this week.

The Water Police Squad has gradually replaced its older boats since 2017 as part of a $7.2 million overhaul designed to standardise the fleet and allow for more efficiency in training.

The replacement program has seen 12 new boats delivered in total, with three classes of vessels already in use, including:

– 1 x 16.7m Catamaran, known as VP01

– 1 x 11.9m monohull vessel, known as VP02

– 5 x 6.3m rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIB).

The final five boats, 7.5-metre Naiad rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs), have been delivered over the last month and hit Melbourne’s waterways this week following a voyage from Western Australia.

Inspector Greg Barras said the new boats would continue to support the work of both the Water Police and Search and Rescue teams.

“Our boats are our most important assets when it comes to responding to marine incidents, whether it be searches for missing people or assisting with emergency management responses,” Insp Barras said.

“The latest boats have a similar configuration and handling to the smaller vessels we’ve already acquired, which will be a great stepping stone from a training point of view.

“We know these models are proven when it comes to marine search and rescue and have been used in other states across Australia.”

While they will be used predominantly around bays, the boats can be easily transported for offshore response, including in and around inland waterways.

Water Police Inspector Greg Barras said people can expect to see the boats patrolling bays and waterways to ensure those taking to the water are on their best behaviour in the lead up to summer.

“We’ll be making sure everyone on the water is doing the right thing, carrying appropriate safety equipment, and not putting others at risk.”

“As restrictions ease, we want everyone to return to the waterways in a safe and enjoyable way,” Insp Barras said.

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