Projects of 100m or more are being considered.

With larger superyachts visiting Australia, Brisbane-based Rivergate Marina & Shipyard is reviewing options on how to cater for larger vessels. Currently its facility can handle yachts up to 80m (262ft) in length. At the recent Australian Marine Industry Awards, it was judged 2016 Superyacht Provider of the Year.

The company is Australia’s leading superyacht refit company and it is one of the most active companies of its kind in the Asia Pacific region, if not the most active. To maintain this already strong position, the company is looking at options that would allow it to handle bigger superyachts and increase its capacity at the same time.

Andrew Cannon, manager of Rivergate, told IBI: “At the end of last year we were working at full capacity with eight refits in progress and we are getting busier all the time. We had yachts at a number of locations around Brisbane to cope with the volume of work. Rivergate has many repeat customers, both domestic and international clients, and we are winning new business as well. We have even taken business from New Zealand refit companies.

“In terms of trying to cope with larger superyachts, we are looking at a couple of things,” he adds. “There is a short-term option of linking up two ‘T’ head berths, which would allow us to handle superyachts up to 92m (302ft). A longer-term and more costly possibility is to make use of a storm drain on the edge of our site. This could either provide us with a wet berth up to about 100m (328ft) or it might be developed into a dry dock of 100m or 120m (390ft). The latter would require finding a way to ensure the ongoing flow of the drain.”

Cannon suggested that the storm drain options, if planning consent is gained, would take around two years to build and could involve an investment of up to A$30m. The company is also looking at the viability of buying a larger 450-tonne travel lift.

Rivergate Marina has 105 berths for vessels up to 80m. On site is what is called the ‘Rivergate Family’, a marine cluster of some 60 contractors providing a wide range of services to Rivergate for its refit and other projects.

The company’s existing facility includes a 12,000sq m hardstand on which superyachts up to 45m (148ft) or more can be worked on; travel lifts of 50, 75 and 300 tonnes, a 55m (181ft)-long refit/new-build hall with a 20m (66ft) height, and an 85m (279ft) maintenance shed. It can also make use of a 600-tonne travel lift at the nearby Brisbane Marine Industry Precinct and a 254m dry dock for which there is limited access.

Cannon told IBI: “We used the 600-tonne lift for seven yachts last year, which adds up to about A$1.7m in lift-out fees.”

Rivergate is working closely with a number of other companies in Brisbane. This includes BSE (Brisbane Slipways), whose facility includes a 2,500-tonne capacity slipway. A number of Rivergate projects have been worked on at BSE and on some projects the workload is shared.

Rivergate has also entered the new-build market with the construction of a 24m (79ft) patrol vessel for the Queensland Police Border Force. Cannon indicated that the Force is very pleased with the craft as well as the refit work done on police vessels, so there is a prospect of more new-build work in the future.

Rivergate is also providing room within its site to include a new facility for local boatbuilder Norman Wright. This traditional building company constructs a range of commercial vessels, including local river taxis and tourist craft. Its facility within the Rivergate complex will include a 60m build hall.