World-first boats to power Pennicott plans

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - REX GARD­NER

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.

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