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.



Peats Bite on the Hawkesbury River

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Peats Bite on the Hawkesbury River only accessible by boat or seaplane makes for the most exclusive and unique boating and dinning experience. Superior jetties is proud to be a part of this wonderful experience by upgrading their berths with the Superior touch. Feel assured while you enjoy your lunch at Peats Bite, your vessel is safely moored with a Superior Jetties marina.


ICOMIA World Marina Conference, Istanbul, Turkey

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Last week I attended the ICOMIA conference which is the peak body for all marina associations worldwide.  This group allows for the exchange of the best practices ideas and the networking that allows commerce to thrive.  There are also education courses and Claudio Schettino  was awarded his CMM at the conference.  We also were able to witness some great innovations at various sites.

The media partner for this event is Marina World which is a respected industry voice that always conveys the best innovations and news of fresh developments.  

It was during discussions that I realised how lucky we are to have such a good journalist in Editor Carol Fulford in our industry.  Marina World is in marinas all over Australia and globally.  We should make sure we continue to support them as they did a great job as always as media partners for the industry.  Carol as Editor provides much more than simple industry news because she understands what is important and therefore we have a quality publication of which we can all be proud.  

We should support them with quality information to advance our industry, with press releases on new developments as well as our normal commercial marketing.


Look back at 2013

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Welcome everyone to my first blog of 2014.  I hope you all had a break over the holidays and enjoyed some family time.  We are back to work at Superior with some exciting projects this year.  Over the break I had a chance to reflect on some of the highlights of 2013.  Superior completed projects in South Bund Bonded Marina in Shanghai, Portland Harbour Marina, Portland Victoria, Rivergate Marine,  Queensland and Nadi, Fiji to name a few.  It is amazing that the large and small projects together deliver the reputation we enjoy today after 25 years.

The 25 year milestone was celebrated with an event at Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show 2013 with whom we have shared our main marketing activity for the same years since 1988.

We recently had 2 people approach us with interesting feedback.  Mike stopped me in a coffee shop to let me know that the shock absorbers we made 10 years ago are still protecting his boat and lift from excessive wakes on the main river.  The other request was to investigate adding kayak berths to a recently completed mini marina.  This was in a special request from a customer and shows that the trend toward kayaks becoming the entry level to boating is a real event.  We need to consider the needs of these boaters and modify our infrastructure to suit in way that accommodate easier berthing and egress to the craft, better storage and security in our facilities.

In 2014 we are embarking on a redevelopment of the Sydney Birkenhead Marina.  This involves adding new berths while reconfiguring the existing layout and adding fuel facilities.  This is being done using the Superior Elite timber whaler system and promises to be a landmark project for us in the Sydney market.

All the best in 2014


New uses for Marinamate trolleys

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I recently visited Phil McGowan CMM at Birkenhead Point Marina. Phil was working on an idea for a quick response fire water pump that would also double as an emergency vessel pump out retrieval tool as well. I order to achieve this Phil wanted a system that made it easy to get the entire pump and suction hose to the site quickly.

The Superior Marina Mate is already a standard on marinas as a solid workhorse in many marinas. This product happened due to the urging of one Mat Bate who requested the product be fashioned after the successful Fibreglass units he had used in the past. Mat even wanted the name changed to MarinaBate not mate…… Why was that again Mat?!

The trolley is carefully designed to have robust a polyethylene tub, 316 stainless steel frame and pneumatic tyres. With the addition of a flat floor of CNC cut boat board their is an infill of flotation material underneath that makes the unit float. This flat floor was the perfect stage to fit the pump unit and accessories as seen below.

The modified trolley was delivered and the whole system works a treat.

The specifications are:
Pump: Aussie Pumps
Overall dimensions

  • 979mm Long
  • 690mm Wide
  • 530mm High

Seychelles calling

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Last week I had the pleasure of visiting one of our long term customers in the Seychelles, Eden Island Development Company. Seychelles is an island nation that lies a four hour flight south of Dubai and three hours from Johannesburg in the Indian Ocean. Eden Island is a beautiful complex five minutes from the airport and downtown Victoria on Mahe island. There are 500 villas and maisons in the final 50 Ha developed island which is connected to Mahe by a bridge. Each dwelling has a marina berth and we have worked closely with The Eden team and their project managers IOPM for over five years.

The team has been very thorough to ensure great architectural themes flow through the project but are still suitable for daily use. The design cues are based on traditional Seychellois buildings with steep rooflines and overhanging verandas to cope with the torrential tropical rains. The construction is of a high standard with solid concrete buildings and extensive use of traditional timber.

When it came to the berths the architectural team were looking for a subtle low profile system that continued the timber theme. The Superior Capri system fitted the requirements with the same timber decking as the verandas and a structural support system from a series of galvanised steel universal beams off the revetment walls. All of the floating structures are prefabricated from AutoCAD drawings with adjustable pile brackets. This makes on site connections a breeze and has allowed the teams in three different countries to stay on top of the project and deliver a simple solution.

On the economic front it has been fascinating to watch the nation develop so rapidly in the past five years we have been visiting. From a base of about four flights per week, there are now daily flights from three airlines into Africa and the Middle East. Eden Island itself boasts an improvement to the nation of over 7% GDP. Other new developments are springing up as well and tourism is an important growing industry. This was very evident on Friday while attending the awards at La Plage restaurant for the National Culinary Competition, with three winning chefs original dishes served in seaside splendour. Under the watchful eye of a 2 star Michelin chef, the local chefs produced an amazing original banquet that shows the Seychelles has a bright future with originality for those looking to escape for a unique experience.

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