MV Cape Don Society Inc.

Incorporating the Commonwealth Lighthouse Service Museum.

MV Cape Don at sea

The Ship

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MV Cape Don, built at the Newcastle State Dockyards, N.S.W., and completed in January 1963, is one of a unique class of ships that was purpose-built to service navigational aids (including manned lighthouses), primarily along the Western Australian coast.

To fulfil these tasks, she was built as a mini-liner, with the lavish passenger accommodation necessary to carry officials, technicians, relief lighthouse crews and their families, sometimes for quite prolonged periods.

She is powered by a 5 cylinder Australian Polar M65T diesel engine developing 2,000 bhp at 250 rpm, driving a 4-blade, 5 tonne Kamewa controllable pitch propeller, 9.2' (2.75 m) diameter.

Cargo handling: the ship is equipped with one Clark Chapman electric crane SWL 12.5 ton (12.7 metric tonnes).

The MV Cape Don has an Asbestos Management Plan and Register in place, and a full WHS Policy Suite.

MV Cape Don in Sydney


Length (over all) – 243' 7" (74.25M)
Length (between perpendiculars) – 220' 0" (67.05M)
Extreme breadth – 42' 1.75" (12.846M)
Moulded breadth – 42' 0" (12.802M)
Depth to upper deck – 23' 6" (7.16M)
Depth to main deck – 16' 0" 4.88M
Bridge to stem distance – 88' 0" (26.8M)
Height of bridge above LWL – 28' 0" (8.53M)
Light ship draft – 9' 3.25" (2.83)
Maximum summer draft – 14' 4" (4.37M)
Fresh water allowance – 3.5" (88.9M)
Gross tonnage – 2106.24t (2139.8mt)
Nett tonnage – 714.6t (726.07mt)
Light ship displacement – 1565t (1590mt)

MV Cape Don


Fresh water – 377t (383mt)
Water ballast – 254t
Oil fuel – 132t

Hold – 276t (281mt)
'Tween deck – 145t (147mt)
Lockers – 14t (14mt)

Daily consumption
Fuel: steaming – 6.0t (6.1mt)
Fuel: at anchor – 0.5t (0.6mt)
Fresh water – 7t (7.1mt)

Service speeds
at 230 rpm DP – 12.7 knots
at 200 rpm DP – 10.2 knots

Crew – 39
Passengers – 12

MV Cape Don engine room