Just one year since opening its $100 million, 25-acre dedicated Superyacht Yard, The Boat Works has reached capacity with slips. However, its sheds are booked out for month’s ahead, motivating owner Tony Longhurst to develop Stage 4.

The adage “build it and they will come” is perfectly embodied in the evolution of The Boat Works, a full-service marina and shipyard over 55 acres of waterfront on the Coomera River.

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 Stage 3, a new services hub for marine professionals, representing an additional $30 million investment. Four new tenants have recently moved in, taking the total marine businesses on-site to 80 across the two facilities.

Stage 4 will add five new 50-metre refinishing Sheds, a controlled work environment for respraying and sandblasting.

Consistent with the commitment to constructing an eco-friendly marina and shipyard, the new sheds built with effective gradient for channelling and collecting water used on-site for antifouling and other works. With further bio gardens surrounding the perimeter, which is all part of the sophisticated filtration and purification process that filer roof and groundwater.

“It’s a case of supply and demand,” explains Shane Subichin, General Manager. “All our hardstand area and sheds are occupied. So we need more sheds to accommodate the influx.

“We will commence work on Stage 4 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.”

Vessels such as the 41-metre BATAVIA have chosen The Boat Works for complex refit projects in the past six months – just one of 50 superyachts of 24-metres+ from the Asia-Pacific and domestic market to berth at The Boat Works since February 2020.

For the past six years, Captain Mark Clacher, BATAVIA’S skipper, has been cruising the waters of Lankawi, Thailand, the Maldives, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Borneo. He says The Boat Works’ purpose-built Superyacht yard with 300 Tonne lift and high-tech facilities appealed to them, instead of returning to Asia for significant refit works.

Privately-owned explorer vessel BATAVIA arrived at The Boat Works in mid-2020 to carry out various interior and exterior projects before heading to Sydney for a season. She then returned to The Boat Works in March for a major interior revamp ahead of winter in the Whitsundays and is planning to return for further works in October.

“It’s amazing how busy all the trades are here in the yard,” says Captain Mark. “It’s heartening to see the confidence in the industry with so much investment. Unfortunately, there’s a lack of berths for vessels over 40-metres, so we’re pleased we can book at The Boat Works on our return trip.”

This week, coinciding with the ASMEX conference and Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, several industry organisations and CEOS of marine businesses will tour the premises to witness for themselves the remarkable expansion of the region’s premier boatyard.

“The exponential demand we are experiencing in the marine sector represents an excellent opportunity for employment and a demand for skilled trades,” adds Shane. “The economic benefits of visiting superyachts flow onto the entire south-east Queensland region.”

“We are fortunate to be working closely with TAFE Queensland, which has an office within the Coomera Marine Precinct.”

Adam Chanter – I have watched the evolution of The Boat Works, phenomenal 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 forwarding 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.

As we see an increase to Marine/Maritime activity within Cairns (8000 staff over 10 years) and South Australia, these issues are only going to be exacerbated as skilled labour demand increases.” Adam Chanter, Maritime Employment, Skills and Training Officer TAFE QLD.

David Good, CEO at AIMEX-Superyacht Australia, took a tour of The Boat Works ahead of the ASMEX conference and described it as “phenomenal”.

“What impresses me the most is the number of utes, vans, people around each vessel. It’s one thing to build infrastructure, but it’s incredible to see how many people are employed by every one of these big boats in every shed. There were up to 20 people working on every boat: tradespeople, deliveries, various marine professionals – and these are all individual businesses, not big corporations.”

This influx of boat will only continue, as David reports. “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.”

And why not? “There’s never been a better time to go boating,” says David. “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.”