World-first boats to power Pennicott plans
AWARD-WINNING Tasmanian ecotour operator Rob Pennicott is pressing ahead with interstate expansion, revealing he has three $850,000 boats under construction in Western Australia.
Mr Pennicott describes the state-of-the art rigid inflatable boats, with retractable wheels, as “incredible boats, like the world has never seen”.
“I’ve got the lead on the world on these boats. There will be a lot of interest from the boating fraternity, but they are under wraps until sea trials in January,” he said.
The vessels will be used in Mr Pennicott’s new tourism venture — adventure cruises of Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park off the Victorian coast.
The Victorian Government has given the go-ahead for the tours, with Mr Pennicott aiming to start in October 2018.
Pennicott Wilderness Journeys is a highly awarded, multimillion-dollar Tasmanian business, running adventure cruises out of Hobart, Bruny Island and the Tasman Peninsula.
“I like to think of our new venture off Wilsons Promontory as a Tasmanian export. I’m a Tassie boy, and it has taken 10 years in the making to get to this point,” Mr Pennicott said.
“I’m very excited about it. I’m over the moon to be given this opportunity.”
The amphibious boats will carry 30 passengers and two crew. They will be 11.5m long, weigh 10 tonnes fully loaded and be powered by twin 350hp Yamaha outboard engines enabling the craft to cruise at around 25 knots (46km/h).
In the first year of the new tours, Mr Pennicott expects about 15,000 customers, rising to about 30,000 in five years.