skip to Main Content

Out Of Water Hull Inspection – Sydney Heritage Fleet Vessel Waratah Case Study

Marine Surveyor Out Of Water Hull Inspection

Sydney Heritage Fleet Vessel Waratah


Waratah is a 32m coal fired tug and was built at Cockatoo Island, Sydney. She was launched on the 21st May 1902.

Originally named Burunda, her primary role was to tow dredges and barges between ports along the NSW coast. She is the oldest tug in working order in Australia. In 1968 it was announced that the old tug was beyond economical repair and was to be disposed of for scrap. The Waratah is a good example of a late nineteenth century small steamship. When compared to more utilitarian designs of this century, her elegant appearance and graceful proportions are distinctive; Even her antiquated construction and old fashioned steam reciprocating machinery are relics of an era past.

Realising her historical importance to Sydney Harbour, the Sydney Heritage Fleet acted to save her and purchased the vessel. After a five-year restoration program by Sydney Heritage Fleet volunteers, she is once again fully operational and regularly taking passengers on trips around Sydney Harbour.


The Waratah is well maintained and operated by Sydney Heritage Fleet – however, we were presented with plate damage and corrosion. Some areas required immediate replacement, and in other areas we suggested a plate management plan to monitor the condition.


Maritime Survey Australia completed the hull inspection, NDT testing and commercial vessel survey on the Waratah. MSA applied the applicable standards and developed a plate monitoring and replacement program acceptable by the National Regulator which allowed the vessel to continue operation.

The vessel now has a plate management plan managed by the volunteers of SHF. The Hull was inspected during the three week dry docking period and again once the vessel was in the water. The annual commercial vessel survey was completed at the final inspection. The vessel is due to be hauled twice in every 5 year period. This will ensure that the outside of the hull below the water line is inspected and NDT testing can be completed.

Back To Top