Patrol Boat: HMAS Advance

A hard worker in remote waters

The museum's patrol boat HMAS Advance underway at sea

Come aboard the hard-working patrol boat HMAS Advance, commissioned in 1968 and serving out of Darwin until 1977.

  • About HMAS Advance

    About HMAS Advance

    Commissioned in 1968, the hardworking patrol boat HMAS Advance served out of Darwin until 1977. In that time it helped shadow a Russian fishing boat suspected of spying, expelled illegal foreign fishing boats, weathered Cyclone Tracy in 1974, and assisted with hydrographic surveys of Australia's north-west coast. It even featured in the popular ABC-TV series Patrol Boat.

    Advance was one of 20 Attack class patrol boats built for the Royal Australian Navy between 1967 and 1969. In the 1960s, Australia became more closely involved in events in the Asia-Pacific region. This led to improved surveillance and control of our enormous coastline, especially the northern approaches. HMAS Advance, the third of the class, was built by Walkers Ltd of Maryborough, Queensland. 

    Patrol boats controlled illegal fishing, smuggling and immigration, search and rescue, and occasional inshore survey work which is continued by the Armidale class of patrol boats today.

    Explore the danger and drama of life on board Advance in Action Stations, our immersive experience.

    Ticket Information

    Open daily, 9.30am–5pm (last boarding at 4.10pm)

    Buy a Big Ticket online or when you arrive (see our Admissions page for prices and to book your tickets).

    Our Plan Your Visit page has everything you need to know about a trip to the museum.

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    Visiting tips

    • Kids must be accompanied by an adult.
    • For safety reasons, children have to be at least 90cm in height to board all vessels.
    • Be prepared to get physical. Most vessels involve some climbing, crouching and navigating confined spaces.
    • No high heels. Flat shoes with enclosed toe recommended.
    • Buy a Big Ticket for full access to the museum’s vessels or save money with a Family Membership Pass.

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  • Photo Gallery

    Photo Gallery

    HMAS ADVANCE at the Australian National Maritime MuseumLine drawing of HMAS ADVANCE
  • Ship Specifications

    Ship Specifications

    Special Features

    Advance's hull is steel and the superstructure is aluminum. It is armed for small-scale encounters, with one 40-mm single Bofors gun and two 0.5-inch Browning machine guns to fire warning shots across the bow of a suspect vessel.

    The Attack class patrol boats followed British and US designs with a quintessentially Australian modification - using easily available commercial components in some of the fit out. That's because they operated in remote northern waters, far from military bases, and their best supply source might be an isolated coastal town's hardware store!

    When the Attack class was replaced with the larger Fremantle class patrol boat, Advance became a Naval Reserve training ship. Decommissioned in 1988, it was transferred to the museum in operational condition and is still used in maritime events.

    Commissioned 1968
     Length 32.8 m
    6.1 m
     Draught 2.2 m
     Displacement 148.3 tonnes
     Engines Two Paxman V16 Ventura turbo-charged diesels 2611 kW, twin screws
    21 knots (3 officers, 16 sailors)
     Complement 19
     Builder Builder Walkers Ltd of Maryborough, Queensland
  • School Excursions

    School Excursions

    A group of school children on endeavour

    School Excursions

    We offer a truly unique excursion experience for students and teachers alike.