Catamarans and multi-hulled vessels are unsafe and unreliable for the Bass Strait, a retired air and sea captain has said.
Before retiring Captain Spencer Flint piloted his own 30m power yacht between Tasmania and Victoria dozens of times, and as a pilot for Ansett Airlines before its collapse he often carried fresh produce from Hobart to the mainland.
He said rumoured government plans to buy a catamaran from Hobart builder Incat to supplement Spirit of Tasmania sailing is short-sighted, and would negatively affect the reliability of tourism and fresh produce freight.
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"The government needs to look at the long-term," Captain Flint said.
"They are going to make so much more money in the long-term if they use the right vessels than they would from a few jobs for Tasmanians at Incat.
"It is a short-term gain that is going to create a long-term problem."
He said that his "number one priority" whether captaining his ship or a plane was safety, and the Bass Strait often produces unsafe conditions for sailing and particularly for multi-hulled vessels.
"A cat or a multi-hulled vessel is absolutely fantastic for certain conditions, but once the conditions get beyond it becomes unsafe.
"So what is going to happen is they are not going to be able to operate [a multi-hulled vessel] and services will be cancelled, as was the case with the catamaran they ran a number of years ago."
Captain Flint said that the Bass Strait is unique as it is relatively shallow and often there are large swells with counter-acting strong winds, producing dangerous conditions.
Captaining his own ship, he said he would have to consider weather conditions "very, very carefully", and was once caught in difficult, dangerous conditions during a crossing of the strait.
Read more: Bass Strait Catamarans could come back
State government infrastructure minister Michael Ferguson recently said no replacement ferry decision has yet been made, as a report from a taskforce set up to explore the issue is due later this week.