The search for underwater timber on Tasmania’s west coast drives innovation in local design and manufacturing

Innovation is at the forefront of this local manufacturing project that has inspired local craftsmen and manufacturers to help resurrect purpose for underwater trees on Tasmania’s rugged west coast.

Leading the search for submerged trees is Hydrowood, who recently unveiled the locally designed AquaTruck Survey Vessel tailored for the purpose of underwater tree locating at Lake Pieman.

Using underwater electronic mapping technology, the locally constructed AquaTruck Survey Vessel has the capacity to locate trees up to depths of 26 metres below the surface.

Minister for State Growth Matthew Groom joined Hydrowood’s Darryn Crook for an inspection of the advanced AquaTruck Survey Vessel while being fitted with the latest underwater sonar technology at its Prince of Wales Bay manufacturing facility.

AquaTruck vessel in action

“Tasmania’s marine engineering firms and boat builders are as good as you will find anywhere in the world and the design and advanced manufacturing capacity Hydrowood needed is located at the industrial marine precinct at Prince of Wales Bay,” Hydrowood General Manager Darryn Crook said.

“AquaTruck is a Tasmanian owned company and their boats have a reputation for being indestructible, so we have partnered with them and specialist electronics supplier Island Marine to develop a Survey Boat Sonar System to map the underwater area of the lakes, including submerged trees,” Mr Crook said.

AquaTruck Business Development manager Glen Shackcloth said his team was quick to embrace the opportunity to be involved in the Hydrowood project, developing specialist workboats to help locate and haul the valuable cargo.

The AquaTruck Survey Vessel is the first of a number of work boats and barges Hydrowood is having built for its West Coast underwater logging operation.

Tasmanian designers and craftsmen utilising timber recovered from Lake Pieman

The Hydrowood project will recover Tasmanian trees that were submerged in Lake Pieman in 1978 during a series of hydro schemes implemented by the government at the time.

Among the salvaged trees are rare speciality Tasmanian timbers such as Huon Pine, black-hearted Sassafras and Myrtle.

The lake is managed by Hydro Tasmania, who is working alongside Hydrowood on the project to unlock the trees of the deep since 2013.

The initiative is funded from the Australian Government Tasmanian Jobs and Growth Plan, which was announced in July this year after a feasibility study funded by Hydro Tasmania and the State Government, with operations planned to commence in mid-2015.

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