SeaLink announces ferry design competition, community funding

PENNESHAW TERMINAL: One of the two SeaLink ROPAX ferries arrives at Penneshaw while the Kangaroo Island Connect passenger ferry sits at the dock. Photo: Stan Gorton
PENNESHAW TERMINAL: One of the two SeaLink ROPAX ferries arrives at Penneshaw while the Kangaroo Island Connect passenger ferry sits at the dock. Photo: Stan Gorton

SeaLink has officially announced a fun project to design the new ferries to serve Kangaroo Island.

The announcement at its headquarters in Adelaide on Thursday, August 5, was also a chance present its latest CommunityLink voucher.

SeaLink group CEO Clint Feuerherdt said the ferry design competition was designed to engage the next generation.

South Australian students should sharpen their pencils and visualise ferries of the future, getting as creative, tech savvy or as innovative as possible, with SeaLink's state-wide competition, a chance to win one of 10 family holidays to Kangaroo Island.

SeaLink has also agreed to offer a return trip on the ferry for a family of four to a KI student if they win it with two nights accommodation in Adelaide or SA.

"With innovative Enviro-Cats already deployed by Australia's largest integrated land and marine, tourism and public transport service provider, SeaLink is exploring zero emission technology which includes battery and hydrogen powered vessels," Mr Feuerherdt said.

"For younger primary school students, this is an opportunity to be as artistic and inventive as they can, dreaming up a ferry design that champions the environment and the customer experience.

"From slippery slides for stairs, a games arcade, to a concealed heli-pad, the sky, and seas, are the limit!"

Kangaroo Island ferries of the past as published in Neville Cordes' book "Kangaroo Island - 184 great years" published in 1986.

Kangaroo Island ferries of the past as published in Neville Cordes' book "Kangaroo Island - 184 great years" published in 1986.

SeaLink is one of three companies have been shortlisted to bid to run ferry services between Kangaroo Island and mainland South Australia for coming decades, after the current contract expires in 2024.

Late last year, the state government called for Expressions of Interest from companies to run the ROPAX roll-on, roll-off vehicles and passenger ferry services between Penneshaw and Cape Jervis for up to 25 years.

The contract will be for an initial 15-year period with a further two five-year extensions based on the successful company meeting a strict set of criteria, including high levels of service performance.

Thursday's announcement was also a chance to highlight the CommunityLink donation program, which has donated more than $4 million to help activate Kangaroo Island events.

Phyll and Tony Bartram from Kangaroo Island Victor Harbor Dolphin Watch were on hand to receive a big cheque.

With a 32-year history in South Australia, SeaLink has proudly achieved a significant community milestone, distributing over $4 million in community support, sponsorships and donated travel, with another year of sponsorships finalised for more than 25 Kangaroo Island community and sporting organisations.

Kangaroo Island ferries of the past as published in Neville Cordes' book "Kangaroo Island - 184 great years" published in 1986.

Kangaroo Island ferries of the past as published in Neville Cordes' book "Kangaroo Island - 184 great years" published in 1986.

During the devastating bushfires on Kangaroo Island in December 2019 and January 2020, SeaLink delivered a support package worth over $750,000, offering immediate support to the local community.

This included a $200,000 financial donation to the KI Mayoral Relief Fund, with SeaLink staff around Australia contributing another $12,000, in addition to travel allowances for families and businesses, and over $200,000 worth of sponsored travel given for the movement of donated, essential, and emergency supplies.

Mr Feuerherdt said there were many sponsorships in place that people may know about such as the SeaLink Kangaroo Island Racing Carnival and the SeaLink Travel Group Carols by Candlelight held in Elder Park, but there are also many more practical grassroots sponsorships that we are very proud to support.

"We sponsor programs such as the Kangaroo Island and Victor Harbor Dolphin Watch, an island-based citizen science program run by volunteers who provide valuable data about the dolphin population that lives and breeds in the waters around KI and Victor Harbor," he said.

Other sponsored environmental programs include Trees For Life who are supporting the restoration of affected areas around Kangaroo Island that were devastated by the 2019/20 black summer bushfires.

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