Yanmar Selected for Two World-Best-Practice Pilot Boats

Following an exhaustive nationwide review of pilot boats, Flinders Ports has purchased and commissioned two new vessels. Both boats are powered by dual Yanmar 6HYMWET marine diesel engines.


Flinders Ports is South Australia’s largest private port operator.

A dedicated team was charged with investigating the market to identify a vessel that would meet world’s best practice. The Flinders Ports team visited ports around Australia, sea trialling various Pilot vessels.

The entrance to Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay is a treacherous passage called The Rip. Here, Senior Coxswain Dennis Williamson, a Senior Launch Master with 52 years at sea, went to out to sea with 20 knot winds and moderate seas to trial the Hart Marine ORC Fast Pilot Boat. The vessel handled the conditions confidently. Dennis Williamson rated the vessel as “the best Pilot vessel that I’ve been aboard” and the Flinders Ports team had found their new hull.

The Hart Marine ORC Fast Pilot Boat is a planing hull which has a distinctive beak bow. The hull is of selfrighting design and is built with a unique suspension wheel house arrangement.

The suspended wheel house serves several purposes none the least is a significant reduction in the transmission of mechanical noise and vibration to the wheel house. The great benefit of this is the resulting improved working environment and reduced fatigue of the skippers.

When it came to the brand and specific model of engines to power the new Pilot vessels, key consideration for Flinders Ports was standardising the fleet with the one engine for today and beyond. Making the correct choice with the first vessel was important.

Thorough research was undertaken and the Hart Marine ORC Fast Pilot Boat with the Yanmar 6HYM-WET engine was selected.


“One of our existing boats, the Norman Carr, has a pair of Yanmar 6CX-GTE2 engines installed and has performed well over many years,” said David Underwood, Marine Services Superintendent at Flinders Ports.

“Quality and timely service work has also been forthcoming from the local Yanmar authorised dealer Webb Marine Services during this period which we are grateful for.”

“Beyond our previous good experience with Yanmar and their local service dealer we felt that the Yanmar brand is reliable and performs to a superior level. Weighing heavily in our selection criteria was the fact that our Pilot vessels are spread throughout South Australia. We favoured a purpose built marine engine with a mechanical fuel management system.”

Yanmar’s 6HYM-WET model is a purpose built commercial marine engine. It includes Yanmar’s latest combustion chamber design, named ASSIGN, a system originally pioneered by Yanmar on their large bore, low speed propulsion engines. These engines are IMO Tier 2 compliant, ensuring emissions are exceptionally low.

This technology combined with Yanmar’s mechanical fuel system delivers impressive fuel consumption results and provides commercial operators with excellent fuel economy. The cylinder head is a quad valve design. In this configuration, the Yanmar 6HYM-WET excels in conditions demanding continuous commercial use.

The Yanmar 6HYM-WET as specified by Flinders Ports is rated at a conservative 478kW (650mhp) at 2150 rpm.

The two vessels commissioned by Flinders Ports were named “Alert” and “Reliance” respectively. Both vessels are identical in terms of hull, power train and configuration. The hull measures 16.0m long with a beam of 5.43m. The maximum draft is just 1.5m and the hull displaces 21.5 tonnes.

In sea trials the Flinders Ports vessels achieved a maximum speed of 27 knots with the Yanmar 6HYM-WET engines spinning over at 2150 rpm. The normal service speed of the Alert and Reliance is 24 knots where the engines are operating at a very comfortable pace, and at only 62% of their rated capacity.

Operating a normal duty cycle, fuel consumption has been measured at approximately 65 litres per hour total for both engines. With 3000 litres of fuel on board, the vessels have the capability of up to 46 hours of operation, assisted by the efficiency of the Yanmar 6HYM-WET engines.

“Our ORC Fast Pilot Boats have been specified to have a lot of engine power in reserve,” said Dennis Williamson.

“A regular run off Port Adelaide involves us meeting a ship about 7 Nm offshore. There we transfer the Pilot to the ship which is making between 7 and 10 knots. Once the Pilot is safely transferred, we need a big burst of power to break the Pilot boat away from the venturi effect of the ship’s hull which draws the Pilot vessel alongside.”

“The Yanmar 6HYM-WET engines have plenty of power in reserve and are exceptionally responsive to the throttle by nature of their twin turbo charger design. They are very impressive.”

The feedback from the crews who have worked aboard Alert and Reliance has been positive. The independent wheelhouse and deep beak bow have proven to be of operational benefit.

With the most frequently used vessel logging up to 2000 engine hours a year, the 500 hour service cycle of the Yanmar 6HYM-WET has cut the previous service interval in half.