Rescue Vessel rebooted

PS40 Danial Thain arrived at its new home base at ECA Maritime College, on site at Rivergate Marina & Shipyard, Brisbane, where it will be used as a training vessel for the next generation of crew and for charter so students can ‘learn and earn’.

Photography by ECA Maritime College, Brisbane

13 September 2017


Last week, the famed Rescue Vessel was given a send-off worthy of a hero when it officially retired from duty after 17 years’ service for Rescue Port Stephens.

According to Kelly Harvie, CEO at ECA Maritime College, this trusty boat, an Arun Class all-weather lifeboat built in 1978 in the UK for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, is the first vessel purchased by the College.

“It will play an extremely valuable role in hands-on training,” said Kelly.

“We plan to use in all our courses and associated charter work. Our students are training for senior positions on bigger ships. As a purpose-built lifeboat, the Danial Thain is well equipped for this teaching purpose. It was constructed with many water tight compartments, it is self-righting and is probably one of the safest vessels available.


“It also offers us the opportunity of on the job training with the contract work we will secure. It has always been a long-time goal of ECA Maritime College to be one of the first colleges to pay their students to study. By securing contract work for this vessel we will be able to achieve this goal.”

Powered by two 460 HP diesel engines, a length of 52 feet, 32 tons and some very sophisticated electronics on board makes the Danial Thain a powerful asset in saving life at sea.

The College’s STCW course (International standard for the training certification and watch keeping for seafarers) is an international Sea Safety course. During one part of the training, the Danial Thain will be filled with smoke and students will be required to board the vessel and locate their injured crew member, a life size 75kg dummy called ‘Ruby’.

“Conducting drills onboard the Danial Thain brings a more lifelike element to this training. Elements of Shipboard Safety,” Kelly explained.

“Students are required to board the vessel and locate all the safety equipment and check everything is in date and get familiar with what to expect when they get a job on board a commercial vessel.

“For Engineering courses, from MED 3 to MED 1 course, the engine room is well equipped and laid out for training purposes where students can get in and see all components of the engine. Having access to this as well as our fully equipped engineering workshop allows ECA Maritime College to offer our students a competitive edge in training.”

The College Masters courses, from Coxswain to Master 4, will use the Danial Thain for all activities required to train and for assessment as students progress to becoming Master of their own vessels.


For the past 11 years, the College has educated thousands of students in all facets of marine careers.

The College has offices in Cairns and Brisbane and is introducing online components to courses to broaden its reach nationwide.

“Rivergate Marina & Shipyard in Brisbane is the ideal location for ECA Maritime College as our main office and College premises. This central location is so convenient for our clients being so close to the Brisbane airport and on the Brisbane River with access to Moreton Bay and further south to the Gold Coast.”

The College currently services some of the largest fishing fleets in the country, including Austral Fisheries and Australia Raptis and Sons, as well as Border Force and Water Police.

“We have also trained crew from our National and State Maritime Authorities and have had crew within the White Boat industry travel from Europe to convert their MCA licences to Australian Domestic licences. We also service some of the largest tourism organisations in Cairns and Whitsundays.”

The College can assist all the MCA (internationally recognised) ticketed crew convert to Australian Domestic Licences and we can assist local crew get their first international qualification STCW10.

Named after the donor’s grandson, the Danial Thain was acquired by Port Stephens from the UK’s Royal National Lifeboat Institution where it was known as the Spirit of Tayside, and had performed long service off the Scottish coast based in Broughty.

During its time in Marine Rescue NSW service the Danial Thain was involved in hundreds of rescues, four of which saw her crews recognised for major National Courage Awards including a Medal of Valour presented to Coxswain Laurie Nolan. During her 17 years, over 2,000 rescues were performed by the combined rescue fleet, saving 4,400 lives and preserving $230 millions worth of vessels.



  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement

Share via
Copy link