Everything's shipshape as far as Port Taranaki's new pilot boat is concerned.

And with a few more minor tweaks the boat should be heading from Wanganui to its New Plymouth berth in the next few days.

The boat, named Mikotahi, was built at Q-West Boat Builders yard in Castlecliff and this week has been undergoing sea trials as a prelude to its maiden voyage.

Myles Fothergill, Q-West managing director, said when the Mikotahi heads to her new home depends on the weather.


"All we've got to do now is finish off the final marine surveys which includes things like radios and compass," Mr Fothergill said.

He said the Mikotahi was "exceptional" on open water as it showed in trials off the Wanganui coast this week. The pilot vessel represents a major development for the Wanganui boat yard because the New Plymouth port company had gone worldwide for tenders for the new boat.

"We were selected from competitors in Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia and others in New Zealand. So we were tendering on the international [market] and that speaks volumes," he said.

The vessel was designed by renowned Scottish firm Camarc.

"They're arguably the best pilot boat designers in the world so getting the contract stands to open a lot of doors for us," Mr Fothergill told the Chronicle.

"We know other ports around the country are looking at replacement pilot boats so having the Mikotahi on the water is good for us. This is without doubt the best pilot boat we've made and we've done a few of them."

The 19.5m aluminium pilot boat is a mono-hull with two Scania diesel engines powering the twin Hamilton jet units. It has a cruising speed of 23 knots.

It will primarily be used at Port Taranaki but will also be used as a back-up boat to service the Pohokura gas platform off Waitara in North Taranaki.

It is the second vessel Q-West has built for Port Taranaki.