Su­per boost to lo­cal econ­omy

Whitsunday Times - - LIFE -

CY­CLONE Deb­bie will not put a dent in the Whit­sun­day Su­pery­acht sea­son.

From this week, two 50m su­pery­acht ves­sels will ar­rive from New Zealand, with a third to come in the fol­low­ing week.

Abell Point Ma­rina gen­eral man­ager Luke McCaul said this would be just a taste of things to come.

“By July we will have the full su­pery­acht arm full, so any su­pery­acht book­ings af­ter that we will try to fit into the sea­son,” he said.

The ma­rina cur­rently has the ca­pac­ity to ac­com­mo­date more than 60 su­pery­acht berthings for ves­sels larger than 30 me­tres.

With a large in­flux of su­pery­acht ves­sels ex­pected, Mr McCaul said nec­es­sary in­fras­truc­ture up­grades would be made to en­sure a world class ex­pe­ri­ence.

“What we re­alised last year is that we were about at ca­pac­ity with our three phase power, most of these su­pery­achts re­quire at least 125 amps of power and now the big­ger ones up around 50m re­quire 250 amps,” he said.

“So we put in an ap­pli­ca­tion with Er­gon and ap­proved a 750kva trans­former so, start­ing next week, we will start feed­ing all the new elec­tric­ity arms into the su­pery­acht arm for ev­ery boat that comes in.”

While su­pery­acht in­ter­est in the Whit­sun­days re­mains strong, fu­ture de­vel­op­ments could see tourism op­por­tu­ni­ties ex­pand even fur­ther with reg­u­la­tions cur­rently un­der re­view.

A Whit­sun­day Plan of Man­age­ment pro­posal to ease moor­ing and an­chor­age reg­u­la­tions for ves­sels over 35m is be­ing con­sid­ered by GBRMPA.

If ap­proved on Au­gust 1, the re­gion could see a fur­ther 21 su­pery­acht an­chor­ages open, paving the way to greater eco­nomic ben­e­fits for the re­gion.

“Last year we had so many (su­pery­achts) go­ing to Fiji and New Zealand be­cause they have the abil­ity to freely cruise and an­chor where they want,” Mr McCaul said.

“Be­cause we have a lot of re­stric­tions on ves­sels over 35m we are hop­ing that, by Au­gust, those do­mes­tic based ves­sels will have the abil­ity to stay in Aus­tralia and base them­selves in the Whit­sun­days,” he said.

“They are spend­ing be­tween $30,000-40,000 on av­er­age per week in the lo­cal econ­omy.”

Mr McCaul said su­pery­acht en­thu­si­asts could soak up the beauty of the Whit­sun­day re­gion en route to up­com­ing in­ter­na­tional events, in­clud­ing the Com­mon­wealth Games at the Gold Coast and the Aus­tralian Open Ten­nis com­pe­ti­tion in Melbourne.

“I think the is­land land­scape out here is very unique be­cause if you look at a lot of the in­ter­na­tional desti­na­tions, they don’t have an is­land land­scape that is so close,” he said.

“Bas­ing your­self in the Great Bar­rier Reef gives you so many op­tions, it’s not just snorkelling and div­ing out here.

“One of the big­gest things here is the abun­dance of fish life.”

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

SEA­SON COM­ING: Two New Zealand su­pery­achts are set to come to the Whit­sun­days next week.

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