New service role for Steber vessel

New service role for Steber vessel

The strength and versatility of a Steber-designed hull has come to the fore again with the “rebirthing” of a former Marine Rescue vessel into a boutique cruise operation.
The brainchild of Cathie de Koeyer and Jonah Bevan and their new business venture, Cruiseability will see the vessel continue in a community service role – this time ferrying the elderly, physically
handicapped, their friends, families and carers on cruises around Newcastle harbour and surrounds.
Renamed the Crown Mary Ellen III, the 10.40m long vessel has undergone an extensive refit at Steber International’s Taree factory complex prior to starting her new role.
The refit involved extending the cabin, adding a shower and toilet, fresh water and holding tanks, rear cockpit awning and hot water system.
In addition the main cabin and forward cabin were upholstered, the vessel was completely rewired and the hull sandblasted and anti-fouled, bringing the it up to “as new” condition.
Crown Mary Ellen III will be available to anyone with disabilities and their family and friends – including war veterans, senior citizens, residents of nursing facilities, adult foster homes, special
education groups, men’s sheds, ladies groups as well as birdwatching and historical associations.
One cruise sure to be popular will be the Ash Island Historical Cruise. The island, now part of the Hunter Valley Wetland National Park, was much valued in the early days of European settlement for
its abundance of red cedar and ash trees.
The vessel was officially renamed during a brief ceremony conducted by Celebrant, Debbie Steber (wife of General Manager, Alan Steber) on the banks of the Manning River.

PHOTOS: Main photo – running trials on the Manning River following the launch. Below: Leaving the Steber factory; owners Cathie de Koeyer and Jonah Bevan renaming the vessel; “family” photo and stern view showing open access and covered rear deck.