Survey Cheetah for Fisheries Ireland

Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) first met Cheetah Marine at the Southampton Boat Show when they were looking for a larger and more stable craft. Following a rigorous tendering process, Cheetah was selected as the successful bidder and work began on a new road towable 7.2mcatamaran.

Whilst the IFF required the new vessel to carry out a multitude of specific tasks for sampling, the catamaran was also required to fulfill broader roles within patrol and enforcement. Often working in landlocked lakes, as well as countrywide rivers and estuaries, the specification was made further challenging as it was essential the whole rig was easily towable between launch sites. For ease of transportation along Ireland’s varying caliber of roads the 7.2m Cheetah with the slightly smaller beam of 2.55m was chosen over the more popular and beamier 7.9m.

During November and the start of the fit out stage, Emma Morrissey, Fisheries Technician and Fiona Kelly, Senior Research Officers visited the Cheetah workshops. Armoured with IFI’s new bespoke sampling equipment,the final decisions were made with the equipment and operators on the boat,crucial to ensure the Cheetah perfectly complimented its equipment and future tasks.

"We found the visit to the workshop very beneficial, it allowed us to visualize the space on the boat and work out the fine details with Barry and Simon resulting in a high quality custom-made finished product." comments Emma who will be one of the Chief Skippers and Surveyor aboard the new Cheetah.

The resulting 7.2m Cheetah ‘An tSionainn’,named after the Shannon was delivered to Dublin at the end of March. The IFI team attended a two day handover ensuring the team were fully competent in systems operation, launch, recovery and handling of the new Cheetah Catamaran.

“An tSionainn will carry out various functions in IFI, however its main duties will be in the area of fisheries research. Initially it will be used as part of a PhD project which focuses on the monitoring of three threatened freshwater fish species, pollan, Killarney shad and Arctic char for the Habitats and Water Framework Directive. This project aims to develop the use of hydro acoustics in the assessment and management of these species. The Cheetah Marine catamaran is perfect for this work as it very stable with custom electrics, removable acoustic mounts and trawl set up.”

The full specification includes:

  • Port and starboard dual side mounts accommodating two acoustic transducers. The transducers can be adjusted in their mounts to various depths below the boat for surveying and out of the water during transit.
  • A stern shoot for deploying nets including a specialized pelagic trawl for gathering species distribution and size data. A swinging side davit with a Spencer Carter electric winch for retrieving pots and nets through the side door. Rated at 100kg working load limit.
  • A Honda 2KV portable powerpack housed beneath the stern shoot provides 240v power to the computer network in the wheelhouse
  • Twin 100 litre fuel tanks below deck provide a range of 100 miles plus.
  • Articulated stainless steel work for towing includes fold down gantry which houses survey and navigation lights, radar and aerials and starboard side davit. The net shoot can easily be lifted by hand on and off the boat as required.
  • The wheelhouse features a starboard suspension helm with additional bench seating and storage behind. Port side work stations include 13” stainless steel computer racking and a port side suspension seat with folding computer table.

The 7.2m is powered by twin Yamaha 60hp outboards providing top speeds of 22 knots. Following consultation with the Irish Department of Marine, the Cheetah has been coded to Category P3,3 miles offshore and 15 miles from a designated departure point for four persons. All safety equipment was supplied and fitted by Cheetah Marine.


Throughout Cheetah’s 25years of building boats, various trailer and towing systems have been tried and tested. In light of all the experience gained towing different catamarans, Cheetah began to design and build trailers specific to each catamaran. Aluminum I Beam enables the strongest yet most robust towing frame with an ‘intunnel’ box section to ensure load rigidity. Auto reverse disc braking systems have been developed with market leaders WAP based in Germany offering the safest form of braking. Triple axles ensure the load is evenly spread during road towing giving maximum stability and on changing slipway gradients.

Cheetah Marine always and only recommends using a 4.2 litre Toyota Landcruiser for road towing.

LOA inc bow sprit 7.2m
Beam overall 2.55m
Length to outboard pods 6.2m
Deck size 2.8m x 2.4m
Wheelhouse 1.7m x 2.4m
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