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02 December: New AIMS dive boat set for spawning season

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02 December 2014

Scientists at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) are delighted to be now in possession of RV Aquarius, a fast and purpose-built 6.8 metre aluminum dive boat that will assist scientists to collect coral samples, in particular from inshore reefs.

“During spawning season our researchers need to be able to quickly go out to sea to collect field samples of coral to study the ecology and biology of the Great Barrier Reef. This new, small, fast boat will make it so much easier for our divers to bring them back to the National Sea Simulator where a lot of our research is carried out,” said Tony McKenna, AIMS Marine and Field Operations Manager.

The boat complies with the latest regulations from the Australian Marine Safety Authority and was built by Watson’s Marine Centre in Gympie in Queensland. The boat has a 5mm thick bottom, 4mm wide sides and a 4mm deep floor making it strong for its length and size. The vessel is able to carry up to five passengers equipped for SCUBA operations and it features a range of technologies including GPS, a plotter and sounder, a side scan sonar as well as mobile and satellite phones.

According to Frank Watson from Watson’s Marine Centre, “we started design and construction of this custom-built boat for AIMS in May 2014. We are very pleased now that scientists are using our boat to study the reef and learn more about our environment.”

“After 600 hours of work from our team, it’s great now to see this boat on the water,” said co-owner of Watson’s Marine Centre, Denise Watson.

Watson’s Marine Centre is a family business based that has been established since 1956. The business also supplies boats to James Cook University among a wide range of clients.


The RV Aquarius heads to the water in its first day at AIMS Cape Ferguson headquarters (left) and Denise and Frank Watson deliver the boat to AIMS Marine Technical Officer Jo Gioffre (right).