The Boat Works’ expansion drives local economy

A year since opening its $100m (Aus) 25-acre dedicated superyacht yard on the Coomera River, The Boat Works says it has reached capacity, with slips and sheds booked out months ahead.

The Boat Works hauls out 50 vessels per week. Both yards are at capacity, including the superyacht marina built by Superior Jetties and the out-of-water maintenance precincts comprising the hardstand and refit sheds.

The Boat Works’ recently completed its stage three, a new services hub for marine professionals, representing an additional $30m investment. Four new tenants have recently moved in, taking the total marine businesses on-site to 80 across the two facilities.

This means owner, Tony Longhurst, is looking to bring forward development of stage four, adding five new 50 metre refinishing sheds (a controlled work environment for respraying and sandblasting).

“It’s a case of supply and demand,” says Shane Subichin, general manager. “All our hardstand area and sheds are occupied. We need more sheds to accommodate the influx.

“We will commence work on stage four ahead of schedule to be ready for the return of the superyacht fleet and motor yachts heading back south after winter cruising in The Whitsundays.

“The exponential demand we are experiencing in the marine sector represents an excellent opportunity for employment and a demand for skilled trades,” says Subichin. “The economic benefits of visiting superyachts flow on to the entire south-east Queensland region. We are fortunate to be working closely with TAFE Queensland [training provider], who have an office within the Coomera Marine Precinct.”

Adam Chanter, maritime employment, skills and training officer TAFE QLD, has watched the evolution of The Boat Works and says it has increased the demand for skilled tradespeople.

“As Covid-19 removed the opportunity for international travel and considerably restricted domestic holidaying, it appears from the high demand of forward orders to locally manufactured vessels, coupled with long wait times for maintenance and refit work to second-hand boats, the current shortages for skilled, semi-skilled and entry level workers across all disciplines of the industry has been pushed further than we have previously experienced,” he says.

“As we see an increase in marine/maritime activity within Cairns (8,000 staff over 10 years) and South Australia, these issues are only going to be exacerbated as skilled labour demand increases.”

This influx of boats will only continue, says David Good, CEO at AIMEX-Superyacht.

“There were another five vessels over 100-feet unloaded at the Port of Newcastle last week, and another ship on its way now with boats that Australians have bought from overseas or bringing their boats back,” he says.

“There’s never been a better time to go boating,” says Good. “If 2020 taught us anything, it’s the value of time spent with family and friends on the water, relaxing and appreciating our amazing coastline and waterways.”

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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