Iconic Freshwater sets sail after makeover

Freshwater vessel refurbishment

The MV Freshwater, Sydney’s oldest public transport vessel, has once again returned to the water following a major $7 million refurbishment.


Transdev Australasia Communications

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    Running on the popular Circular Quay to Manly route, the 1100 tonne vessel has recently completed a major makeover and overhaul.

    Managing Director for Transdev Sydney Ferries, Dean Helm, said the equivalent of 3,500 days of work or more than 9 years, had gone into restoring MV Freshwater, with up to 100 people per day working on the restoration works.

    “Having delivered almost 40-years of service to commuters and visitors, the grand dame of Sydney Harbour, well and truly deserved to be pampered,” Mr Helm said.

    “We are proud to have partnered with Transport for NSW to deliver improvements to provide a more comfortable journey for customers and extend the overall life of the vessel.”

    Restoration works were undertaken at the Balmain Shipyard and Garden Island dry-dock, both in Sydney.

    Matthew Savage, Technical Superintendent at the Balmain Shipyard, said his team worked tirelessly since February to complete the works. 

    “At Garden Island and Balmain Shipyard there were almost 4,000 litres of paint applied onto the vessel, we laid nearly 750 square metres of flooring, and installed 650 square metres of ceiling panels,” he said.

    “Safety of our customers and Crew was paramount and as part of the refit there were more than 60 new CCTV cameras added. A new hearing-loop was installed which makes it easier for all customers to hear announcements and instructions from Crew.”

    The MV Freshwater was the first of the Freshwater class vessels which originally entered service in 1982.


    Key Facts:

    The makeover included:

    • More than 4,000 litres of paint was used to protect the steel work
    • Over 7kms of new cabling was connected – roughly the same distance the Freshwater travels when carries passengers between Circular Quay and Manly
    • 750 square metres of new flooring laid which is almost the same size of three tennis courts
    • 650 square metres of new ceiling panels which is around the same size as one and a half basketball courts
    • While at the Garden Island, several 64-tonne cranes were used to move many of Freshwater’s heavier components around the drydock area. Amongst these items were her 2300kg rudders, 4000kg propellers and 1800kg anchor.
    • Almost 60 ceiling-mounted surveillance cameras have been installed, as part of a major passenger safety initiative
    • Freshwater’s Forward Rudder, which is similar weight to a medium sized truck at around 2300kgs, was one of the many heavy pieces included in the ‘below-waterline’ preservation work
    • The engine room is bigger than a basketball court.
    • The main engine is 32 times more powerful than an average car


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