Nauti-Craft has just won a prestigious 2017 Maritime Australia industry innovation award. Nauti-Craft are a research and development company based in Dunsborough in my electorate. They designed and developed the Nauti-Craft marine suspension system. It is patented technology that separates the vessel’s hulls from the deck and superstructure via a ‘passive reactive’ interlinked hydraulic system, which of course provides increased levels of ride comfort, control and stability. Whole body vibration is reduced by up to 75 per cent, which provides unparalleled levels of shock mitigation.

This is a practical example of an innovative and groundbreaking R&D business in rural and regional Australia—my South West. It’s innovation by Chris Heyring, a local of Dunsborough, who previously worked on advanced suspension cars. He adapted the same shock-absorbing technology for vessels. Chris’s idea led to Nauti-Craft’s advanced designs, which are providing outstanding stability and sea-keeping capabilities as well as significantly increasing passenger comfort. It’s truly a great example of Australian ingenuity and common sense, using advanced technology.

The history of Nauti-Craft is quite remarkable. Chris started thinking about this over a decade ago, trying it out on small sailboats to test the basic concept. Those tests showed promise, so he developed a radical eight-metre quadmaran that basically looked like an F1 car on water. Then an 8.5-metre Nauti-Craft prototype catamaran was built in 2013. It has undergone extensive sea trials and fine-tuning in the waters around Cape Naturaliste. This prototype has been used as a demonstration vessel in Australia and the UK and it continues to serve as an important platform for ongoing research and development. Chris and his local team are doing a great job. The business has the potential to be a very important Australian export to the world from Dunsborough. Just consider the possibilities!

This suspension has the potential to be used in the military, Border Force, sea rescue, crew transfer vessels for the oil and gas industry, passenger cruise liners, hydrographic survey vessels—the list is endless.
The technology is a hydraulic suspension system for multi-hulled vessels, separated so the hull reacts rapidly to wave inputs and conforms to the ocean surface, without transmitting high forces and accelerations of the hulls to the deck and to the superstructure. What this means in practice is that there is far greater operability, comfort and safety through the reduction in jarring and slamming by the boats. It reduces the roll and pitch and has been an absolute bonus to those of us who suffer from seasickness. The vessels can also achieve higher speeds in rough sea conditions, and smaller vessels are able to do the same job as a larger one because of the improved sea-keeping.

The possible applications are significant. They cover all forms of maritime industries, all around the world. When you look at the wind farm market, you see that there are over 1,200 offshore wind turbines and more planned. Given the servicing requirements, Nauti-Craft vessels are well placed to be part of this market. The recreation market is another significant opportunity for Nauti-Craft, and boaties are always looking for a smoother ride. As well, the suspension provides greater stability during embarkation and disembarkation by passengers and crew and when the vessel is at rest or stationary. The technology can be applied to boats, from one- to two-person boats right through to large luxury cruising vessels, offering ultimate levels in smooth cruising.

I congratulate Chris Heyring and his Nauti-Craft team. They are doing a fantastic job in Dunsborough. It is a wonderful credit to rural and regional Western Australia and, in particular, to my electorate of Forrest in the South West.