Surveying Paddlesteamers on the Murray River

Recently, CMS inspected and provided AMSA accredited surveyor services to a number of commercial operators on the Murray River in Mildura, Victoria. The project involved periodic and renewal inspections for timber and steel-hulled paddlesteamers.

Murray River.Murray RiverpaddlesteamerA paddlesteamer on the river, not part of the survey.

Different environments create various challenges for owners in maintaining their vessels to the standards required of commercial operators. The vessels inspected were well over 100 years old and have undergone significant restoration to keep them maintained and in operational condition.

It was interesting inspecting a vessel in a fresh water environment and comparing the difference in levels of corrosion to those of vessels moored and operated in a salt water environment. The major issue facing these large timber vessels is not corrosion of the steel or metallic elements, but corrosion from the constant flow of sediment-filled water as they are moored. This water flow abrades the timber, which leads to well-maintained vessels nominally replacing the timber sections of the hull approximately three times within its life span.

We were able to utilise some of our previous experience with the design and construction of traditional timber boats and historic steel sailing ships like the Polly Woodside.

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