#GoBare­boat­ing!

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Matthew New­ton

CHRIS Par­sons is the hap­pi­est man on the planet.

That’s be­cause the Chan­nel 7 Queens­land Week­ender pre­sen­ter is the new face of #GoBare­boat­ing! in the Whit­sun­days.

Af­ter spend­ing eight days cruis­ing around the is­lands and man­ag­ing to come back in one piece, the bare­boat­ing am­bas­sador is “in­cred­i­bly proud” of his new role.

Mr Par­sons’ ap­point­ment is a mas­sive coup for the Whit­sun­days bare­boat­ing in­dus­try, which is work­ing to­gether to put more bums on boats.

#GoBare­boat­ing! Al­liance spokesper­son Josce­lyn O’Keefe said the new #GoBare­boat­ing! cam­paign would show peo­ple skip­per­ing your own boat was fun and easy and noth­ing to be afraid of.

She said peo­ple’s first re­ac­tion to bare­boat­ing was of­ten, “So what, you’re just let­ting me have a boat and I don’t need a boat li­cence and you let me go off into the deep blue yon­der?”

“That’s some­thing we need to break down and show peo­ple how safe it ac­tu­ally is and what mea­sures we have in place to en­sure peo­ple’s safety when they’re out there,” she said.

“It doesn’t mat­ter if you’re 18 or 80, as long as you’ve got some boating ex­pe­ri­ence and you’ve got a sense of ad­ven­ture, then we can help you with the rest.”

Mr Par­sons, who ad­mit­ted his nau­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence was some­what lack­ing, said he was at first a lit­tle anx­ious about be­ing left in charge of some­one else’s boat.

“I was ap­pre­hen­sive, as I as­sume most peo­ple would be, but com­ing back af­ter eight days, it’s just so achiev­able,” he said.

The Whit­sun­days char­ter boat in­dus­try rep­re­sents more than 1800 beds – or in boating terms more than 1800 berths – with more than 1000 of those in the bare­boat fleet.

It’s a fig­ure that op­er­a­tors Queens­land Yacht Char­ters, Cum­ber­land Char­ter Yachts, Whit­sun­day Es­cape, Whit­sun­day Rent a Yacht and Char­ter Yachts Aus­tralia – tra­di­tion­ally fierce com­peti­tors – are hop­ing to grow through the joint cam­paign.

Ms O’Keefe said the plan was to “com­mu­nally grow” the num­ber of peo­ple in­ter­ested in bare­boat­ing do­mes­ti­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally.

BARE ESSEN­TIALS: Chan­nel 7 Queens­land Week­ender pre­sen­ter Chris Par­sons (cen­tre) is spear­head­ing a new cam­paign for bare­boat­ing in the Whit­sun­days, work­ing with (from left) Tineke Vrind (Queens­land Yacht Char­ters), Zan Schu­bert (Cum­ber­land Char­ter Yachts), Josce­lyn O'Keefe (Whit­sun­day Rent a Yacht), Rose Wildy (Char­ter Yachts Aus­tralia) and Alita DeBrin­cat (Whit­sun­day Es­cape). Photo: Matthew New­ton

SMILE: Chan­nel 7 Queens­land Week­ender pre­sen­ter Chris Par­sons is the new face of bare­boat­ing in the Whit­sun­days.

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