New patrol vessel to monitor and protect Barrier Reef

A NEW patrol vessel will soon take to the water to monitor and protect Queensland's Great Barrier Reef.

The $5 million vessel is expected to be operational in May and will replace the 24-year-old Kerra Lyn which has been an integral part of field work and enforcement activities for the past two decades.

Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the new vessel was twice as fast, more environmentally friendly and more cost-effective than its predecessor and will provide reliable access across the 348,000 square kilometre Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

"A typical day might involve monitoring compliance of zoning rules, maintaining facilities such as camping grounds and moorings, fire and weed control on islands, working with traditional owners on their sea country, or responding to boating or shipping incidents," he said.

"The new vessel improves our ability to respond to incidents quickly, and to service all parts of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, saving time on the water allowing for more work to be undertaken on important seabird and turtle rookeries in the remote areas of the Marine Park."

The new vessel was jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments.