Type :
Steel motor vessel
Launched  :
Builder :
Newcastle State Dockyard
Newcastle, NSW
Gross weight :
1140 tons
Dimensions :
70.40 x 13.06 (metres)
Passenger capacity :
Speed :
14 knots

Narrabeen is one of the original three Freshwater class of Manly ferries introduced in 1984 to replace the aging North Head & Baragoola. Identical to Freshwater & Queenscliff, as originally built she had closed in fore & aft decks. These were opened up in a later refit. Collaroy, the fourth ferry, already had these open decks.

Operational faults that had been discovered in Freshwater & Queenscliff had mostly been fixed by the time Narrabeen was launched. As a result, she did not have many of the early problems that the other two did.

Students at Narrabeen Primary School petitioned the state government to give the new ferry her name & when she entered service she became the third Manly vessel to be named Narrabeen.

The addition of the Narrabeen to the fleet finally gave the UTA the opportunity  to run a half hour timetable on three standard ships, something that had not happened since  prior to the takeover by Brambles of the Port Jackson company.

Narrabeen didn't wait very long before getting herself into trouble. One month after her launch on the 12/09/84 she tore through the shark proof netting at Manly Wharf. The new net had only been put up the day before following a similar accident by the Freshwater. Not long after, she became stranded in the middle of Manly Cove. The Dutch company that had provided the steering & control systems for the new ferries finally ironed out the problems & all three settled into a trouble free & regular service.

On Thursday 26 May 2005, the Narrabeen commenced its regular passenger service between Circular Quay and Manly. The first journey left the Quay at 6.45am, arriving at Manly at 7.30am. The vessel made another five return journeys to Circular Quay without incident. About 12.10pm, the vessel passed to the north of Fort Dennison and entered the Sydney Cove Limit, which is bounded by a line running between Bennelong Point and Dawes Point, with the Master intending to berth the vessel at Number 3 Wharf. On entering the Sydney Cove Limit, the Master was unable to fully control the vessel. Realising a collision was imminent, he sounded the vessel’s whistle continuously until the point at which the vessel’s mid bow collided with the north-eastern corner of the Number 5 Wharf.
At the time of the collision, a First Fleet class ferry was in the process of disembarking its passengers. The Narrabeen’s whistle alerted those on Number 5 Wharf and it was quickly evacuated. Immediately after impact, the Narrabeen was brought under control by the Master and manoeuvred alongside Wharf Number 3 and passengers were disembarked. As a result of the collision a passenger, seated at the outside forward mid deck, received facial injuries when she was struck in the face by the forward Jack Staff (flag pole), which had been torn off during the collision. The Narrabeen sustained structural damage to the bow area, including damage to the hull which allowed ballast water to escape. There was also some structural damage to Number 5 Wharf. Following repairs, she was returned to service in July.