Narooma slipway back in action servicing Marine Rescue vessel

The operators of the historic Narooma slipway now have the necessary approvals to work as a functioning boat servicing facility.

The Marine Rescue Narooma vessel was one of the first vessels up on the slipway getting its twice annual service this week.

The Narooma slipway steeped in history is being brought into the 21st century to continue its function as a working boat repair and building facility thanks to couple Malcolm and Margaret Baddeley. 

Operating as Mal’s Slipway and Boat Repairs, they have chosen to retain the name Taylor’s Boat Shed in recognition of the Taylor family that took over its operation in 1947, using it for many decades to build and service local vessels of all sizes.

The slipway had been closed for a number of months prior to the Baddeleys purchasing and upgrading the facility, meaning local boat owners and government agencies operating vessels had no choice but to sail out of Narooma to slipway facilities at either Bermagui or Batemans Bay.

Other boats, houseboats and pontoons not able to travel out of the inlet, including the iconic Wagonga Princess, have had nowhere to be serviced.

Among those extremely grateful for the Narooma slipway functioning again is Narooma Marine Rescue deputy unit commander Paul Bourke, who was overseeing the maintenance of the rescue vessel NA30.

“Having a working slipway is vital for the town and for various vessels, both private and government owned, to be serviced,” Mr Bourke said. “I have personally been using this slipway for 40 years for commercial vessels I have been involved with.”

The Marine Rescue vessel was getting its twice annual service that it requires every 100 hours and now was in great shape for the upcoming busy holiday boating season, Mr Bourke said.

Among the government agencies that can now use the slipway include Marine Rescue, National Parks, Marine Parks and Fisheries, and NSW Maritime, as well as local charter boats and commercial fishing vessels.

The Baddeleys are now working an additional development approval to improve and repair the wooden jetty extending out from the slipway facility.

They will be using local boat builder Bill Dudley to complete the replacement of pilings. The new timber is already stockpiled in the slipway boat shed ready for the project.

“It’s all about local employment and having a working slipway also means local boat mechanics and boat builders can now do their trade in Narooma,” Mr Baddeley said.

He also has a number of other projects on the go, including a contract to build a wooden oyster punt together with long-time Narooma boat builder Jimmy Taylor, whose family operated out the shed for decades.

This will be the first wooden commercial boat to built in Narooma for at least 30 years, he said.

Mr Baddeley also hopes to get local high school students involved in the slipway and local boat building by offering them the chance to do work experience at the slipway facility.

“We’re hoping to open the facility for work experience with high school students coming in to help build wooden oyster punts,” he said.

The slipway and associated buildings under previous ownership housed the Narooma Centre for Wooden Boats, a group of wooden boat enthusiasts that built and restored a number of smaller vessels.


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