Build it, they’re coming

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The recent Club Marine/MIA “Health of the Australian Marina Industry Survey” shows some good data on our preparedness to handle super yachts.

The survey of Australian marinas builds on previous data released in 2009, 2011 and 2013. The research is a result of a unique long term research partnership between the Recreational Marine Research Centre (RMRC) at Michigan State University and the MIA with the active participation of many Australian marinas.

The Survey provides extensive data and analysis based on a robust 40% sample of Australia’s 346 marinas. From the considerable industry input, it’s evident there is a rising demand for storage spaces and customer services.

This is important data for infrastructure companies as well, whose business and employees rely on marinas for their livelihoods. The survey tracks capital investment as an indicator of major projects and gives us the ability to undertake strategic planning.

And while there are strong figures for direct and indirect employment around marinas, continued demand for diversifying services, and plenty of opportunity for growth, there is a need to ascertain if we have enough berths in the correct places for super yachts.

According to the Survey, nearly a third (31.5%) of Australian marinas participating in the survey that had berths/pens were able to accommodate super yachts during 2014-2015 financial year, and half of such marinas can accommodate four or more superyachts at the same time. 40% of these marinas were also able to accommodate superyachts anywhere outside the berths/pens over 24m long. Moreover, about 13% of marinas that were able to accommodate superyachts during the 2014-2015 financial year anticipate they will build/prepare additional storage spaces (eg. berths/pens) specifically for superyachts in 2015-2016.

About two-thirds of marinas currently do not have superyacht-sized (24.1 m +) berths or have such large spaces but currently are not able to actually accommodate superyachts. However, about 19% of them are able to accommodate superyachts elsewhere (eg. at tie-ups) and nearly 9% anticipate to build/prepare additional storage spaces (eg. berths/pens) specifically for superyachts in 2015-2016.

As the marketing momentum builds, positioning our region as the ideal “third cruising ground” after the Med and Caribbean, industry stats show we are nowhere near ready for any increase in superyacht visitation.

AIMEX/Superyacht Australia hosted the 2016 ASMEX conference, at which arose the details of the South Pacific Superyachting strategy. Captains, charter brokers and AIMEX-SA stated there is a concerted effort to attract a small portion of the world’s superyacht fleet to Asia and the South Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand, generating interest via regular presentations at key superyacht and charter shows such as Monaco, Singapore and Genoa.

Superyachts and charter guests are being lured to Australia with messages about pristine coastlines, unique experiences and events, from Tasmania to the Kimberley Coast. In fact, there are three superyachts berthed now at Abell Point Marina, gateway to the Whitsundays.

Paul Darrouzet and the team at Abell Point have been extremely proactive in the quest to attract superyachts downunder, even flying in charter experts from Florida to show them the majesty of the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef so they may influence superyacht Captains and Owners into bringing their vessels to Australia on the northern hemisphere off-season for several weeks charter work, as well as refits and repairs – thus ensuring revenue to the local industry, considered some of the best in the world.

The report indicates, however, a need to study the preparedness for this trend.  Cairns has long been a stop off point, but how many berths on the voyage south down the east coast allow for this anticipated growth?

What the stats say is that for the 346 marinas: 

  • 40% or  138 marinas can accept a SY over 24m in a berth with the mean taking 3.5 vessels at once
  • 13% of this number are planning on adding SY berths  or 18 projects
  • 65.7% of marinas (227) cannot accommodate 100ft SY and of that number 8.9% (20)are considering adding berths.
  • 9% can hardstand a vessel over 100ft.

This shows a steady progression that may not meet demand in the not too distant future, especially once the location of these berths has been pin pointed close to the demand..  The “build it and they will come” philosophy seems to require more confidence yet in the marketplace.

This type of information is valuable, and we are now looking to build on it, seeking local Universities to collaborate on this project using this information to determine wider trends that identify opportunity.  This will initially include a benchmarking exercise to other recreational industries.  Then the demand for non-berthing applications at marinas can be demonstrated to show the social, environmental and destination protection opportunities that remain untapped in the industry.



NautiBuoy charms at SCIBS

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At this year’s Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, Superior Jetties represented the award-winning NautiBuoy platform, which attracted much interest from superyacht crew, waterski and boating clubs, as well as boat owners.

NautiBuoy won the 2015 DAME- Design Award at METS trade show, particularly praised for its four years of R&D ahead of the current incarnation which is available in several sizes and two finishes to suit the leisure and maintenance markets.

The NautiBuoy inflatable platform features a patented modular air-toggle system and Velcro straps and has a wide range of uses: from a swim and sunbathing platform, to a jet-ski dock or as a sturdy base for carrying out essential maintenance tasks.

Nina Anderson and Clay Builder developed the platform to fill a gap they saw in the market during their time working as superyacht crew.

At SCIBS, I was joined by co-designer, Tim Endersby who told me NautiBuoy is enjoying worldwide popularity for its versatility and suitability to myriad applications.

“It’s soft, so it won’t damage boats, can be deployed quickly and deflated for easy stowage, and it’s robust for a long life span. Add to that a range of practical accessories such as a bucket, for champagne or suds, and innovative air toggles – inflatable tubes that can be used to link multiple NautiBuoys securely – and the appeal is limitless!”

Best of all, owners can save the cost of a NautiBuoy in damage repairs to the yacht from jetski impact in a single season.

The NautiBuoy comes in two finishes: teak and diamond, depending on its application and the owner’s aesthetics, and both high quality PVC and heavy duty Hypalon. Delivery time from order is approximately eight weeks.

Also on water, the Waterscape by Superior pontoon was the central part of the Northrop & Johnson stand, hosting VIP events adjacent to its luxury charter yacht display. Lit up at night, and decked out with Waterscape-branded furniture, Waterscape was a tranquil and social hub for networking.


Pontoons – the gateway to the aquatic lifestyle

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Waterfront property has always been a great investment with these property prices outperforming other sites as the prime location demands a premium.  The asset is enhanced by adding floating pontoons to increase the amenity and add substantial value.  We asked a couple of recent clients for their impression of the product offering.

Brisbane client, Brad Davis, says it’s no exaggeration to say he has “pontoon possessiveness”. Rebuilt after the floods of 2011 swept away the original, the 10m x 3.5m pontoon at his rental property at Westlake on Brisbane River is not just a practical lifestyle platform, it’s a major residential asset.

“It adds to the prestige of the property and the rent I can charge, but more importantly, having a pontoon adds at least $250,000 in value to my property,” he states, “And that’s a conservative estimate.”

Brad cites Brisbane Council policy since the flood disaster, which makes getting approval to add a pontoon close to impossible. “Those homes that had pontoons which were damaged or destroyed had a few years to replace them. But now, the Council has a ban on waterfront structures within 15km of the CBD. There’s a 10m buffer zone.”

Brad is exceptionally happy with his new Superior pontoon – the quality, design, construction, quick installation and price.

For Brad’s tenants, the pontoon is the ideal location for fishing and enjoying their riverside pad. He adds “if they had a boat or jetskis, they’d be doing that too!”

At Hope Island, Ian Furber and his family are using their 8m x 3m pontoon as the shooting off point for their Sea-Doo, which they use each weekend to explore the Broadwater and beyond.

With his wife and two kids, aged two and five, Ian jets off to Couran Cove for breakfast or Tipplers – a lifestyle that lured him down from Brisbane some 15 years ago.

While the kids are young, all four of us fit on the Sea-Doo. They love it! It’s like being on holidays every day! We use the pontoon for docking our jetski and kayaks. It came up really well. We are very happy with the quality. It’s a really good product. The only thing I would change is that it’s something we should have done years ago.

Boating in the Australia is growing with over 850,000 registered boats and it is a great way for families to recreate together.  These activities encourage intergenerational bonds that last a lifetime. A common trend we see is if your boat is berthed at your property you will simply use that boat more due to its ease of access.


Making more of marina space

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Last week, Nicole Stewart and I were lucky enough to get a tour of the new 240-berth drystack facility at East Coast Marina, Manly Boat Harbour, Brisbane – the largest boat harbour facility in the Southern Hemisphere.

Marina manager, Steve Newbury gave us a tour of the facility which is 80% full and filling up.  The drystack storage accommodates vessels up to 10m, perfectly complementing the 365 wet slips also on offer.

This is an industry-leading approach to boat storage, given the trend towards larger boats and Australia’s push to attract superyachts to our waters. Drystack storage frees up on water space to allow marinas to create the larger berths required to accommodate the migrating southern fleet and visiting superyachts, and enjoy the added revenue they bring.

East Coast Marina is a vibrant boating hub. Its coffee shop, car park and gardens all combine to make it a real gem, whether for boating or visiting for a casual coffee or lunch.

The drystack walls have a unique architectural finish that catches the eye and breaks up the weather without giving the totally boxed in look to the property.

Storage rates include unlimited lift in and lift out, hull wash down and engine flush after each use and complimentary use of maintenance cradles for occasional maintenance. For the client, drystack storage means more security, less maintenance and no hassle of trailer launching and retrieval.

East Coast Marina was the first marina in Queensland to gain full Clean Marina Status in 2006 and with the new drystack storage facility, this continues the marina’s commitment to an innovative, cutting-edge environmental approach.

East Coast Marina’s focus is on reducing our environmental footprint in the most sustainable model possible. They harvest rain-water for boat washing, motor flushing and landscape irrigation. Sewerage pump out and disposal, and grey water recovery and treatment systems are also provided.

There is a video of the site at:


Ironman Series 70 Metre Modular Dock

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CEO of Superior Group John Hogan talks this week about the purpose built structure for the recent iron man event on the Gold Coast and for the future events this will be used for. Made using our unique UMD modules the platform will then be wrapped in a special material to stop any injuries to the competitors in the event, it also features specifically located camera platforms for the media and a section for the swimmers to climb out of the water during the race.


Superior victory for Ironman Series

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Superior engineered and built a pontoon for the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Triathlon Series.

The custom-designed pontoon, 65m x 3m, was built to the specific requirements of the International Triathlon Union, to suit its preferred, upgraded course, comprising a deepwater start instead of a standard beach start.

The event schedule included the Jewel ITU World Triathlon Gold Coast on Saturday 9 April and Jewel Gold Coast Triathlon – Luke Harrop Memorial on Sunday 10 April. Around 70 of the world’s top triathletes competed over the weekend, intent on securing their place on ahead of the Rio Olympic Games.

The pontoon was a built with a ramp for competitors to swim in, gain grip and exit the water. It comprises Superior’s proprietary quick-connect UMD system, joined together to form the 65m x 3m platform, complete with signage, POV cameras and space for media and officials.

Locally, it was a key event in the lead up to the 2018 WTS Grand Final and the 2018 Commonwealth Games, both of which will use this impressive pontoon as a key piece of equipment.

Feedback from the International Triathlon Series was that it was “a world’s best swim platform” and took the event to the “next level” in terms of challenge, format and broadcast coverage. Superior was proud to work closely with the ITS on this significant international project and deliver on time and to budget.

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