The remarkable achievements of the Australian Marine Industry were celebrated last night, 22 May 2024, at the annual Australian Marine Industry Awards Gala Dinner, the concluding event of the ASMEX 2024 Conference, held at the InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort on the Gold Coast, Queensland.

The Australian Marine Industry Awards Gala Dinner commenced with 210 guests enjoying pre-dinner drinks, courtesy of Benetti Yachts.  The gathering generated excitement for the following Awards presentation, where the dedication, excellence and innovation of Australian Marine Industry business were recognised with eleven deserving winners across each vital sector of the marine industry: Superyacht, Commercial and Export. 

Each category represents a key aspect of the marine industry, from luxury vessels to practical commercial operations and successful export ventures. By recognising achievements in these areas, the awards highlight the diversity and significance of contributions across the Australian marine sector.

Australian Marine Industry seasoned judge Nav Bajwa, Director Wholesale Banking and Financial Markets, BOQ Business presented the Export Awards to two outstanding marine industry businesses.

The first award of the evening was presented to The Whiskey Group Project in the 2024 Australian Marine Exporter of the Year‘ category, for their outstanding achievements in securing a groundbreaking contract with the United States Department of Defence, outperforming 34 U.S. based incumbent suppliers. This milestone accomplishment led to an impressive 300% growth solely from exports with their dedication to innovation and quality setting them apart in the industry.

SCORKL‘s exceptional export sales performance secured the ‘2024 Australian Marine Junior Exporter of the Year.’  With an impressive 100% growth compared to the previous year and with exports accounting for 85% of total sales, their strategic expansion into global markets and commitment to product innovation have firmly established them as frontrunners in the marine industry.  

David Hallamore, Founder & CEO, SCORKL, roused the crowd with his uplifting acceptance speech summarizing the unique benefits of being an AIMEX member and the value it has offered to his business.  “Joining AIMEX has been the most rewarding experience, from spontaneously journeying to FLIBS and METSTRADE, and coming from a finance background, to learning and developing from the successful members around me. I am incredibly motivated by the achievements of businesses around me, like Aqualuma LED Lighting, who are sponsoring the drinks after the Awards Gala Dinner – I hope one day I can follow in their success and be the one to shout the drinks for the whole room myself”.

The perennially competitive superyacht category featured two awards presented by Gavin Rooney, Director of Sales & Marketing at Volva Penta.  Clinching the first award of the evening was Echo Yachts with the ‘The 2024 Australian Superyacht Industry Project, Design, or Manufacturer of the Year’ earning recognition for their groundbreaking work on the 56m aluminium catamaran adventure/support vessel, M/Y Charley 2.  As the largest catamaran motor yacht in Australia, Charley 2 boasts a 40% reduction in installed power and approximately 30% improvement in efficiency compared to its predecessor, Charley 1.

The ‘2024 Australian Superyacht Industry Service Provider of the Year Award’ was awarded to Coral Sea Marina Resort for their state-of-the-art facilities, record-breaking visitation figures, remarkable growth in their Platinum Crew Club membership, and the implementation of initiatives such as the Superyacht Donation Hub, to benefit rural communities.

The 2024 Commercial Awards category featured the addition of two new awards to reflect the merger of the Commercial Vessels Association into ACMG in October 2023, each presented by Nick Lester of SeaLink Sydney.   

Sea Sydney Harbour was awarded the prestigious ‘2024 Australian Commercial Marine Hospitality Operator of the Year‘ in recognition of their exceptional dedication to providing unforgettable experiences on Sydney Harbour. Their unwavering commitment to innovation, customer-centric approach, and strategic collaborations with local businesses set them apart in the industry.

Frank Panuccio, Co-founder, Sea Sydney Harbour commented; “We are excited and thrilled to win this Australian Marine Industry Award – the first ever hospitality award in the commercial category. A huge thanks to all our amazing team for their hard work, dedication and passion. It is through a combined effort that Sea Sydney Harbour thrives and we are able to share the joy of Sydney Harbour with others. A big shoutout to ASMEX for recognising our efforts to deliver exceptional experiences on Sydney’s waters and for hosting a great awards and networking evening.”

NSW Port Stephen’s based Moonshadow TQC Cruises, won the newly created ‘2024 Australian Commercial Marine Tourism Operator of the Year’ for their unwavering dedication to expanding their market share of international inbound tourism. This included building strategic partnerships with international travel agents, leveraging tourism organisation connections, and ensuring a consistent, productive fleet.

The final award, ‘2024 Australian Commercial Marine Project, Design or Manufacturer of the Year‘ was presented to Steber International, for their commendable focus on defence procurement and support, evidenced by the timely completion of numerous projects for the Australian Government’s Department of Defence and prime contractors.  From delivering cutting-edge vessels like RHIBs to executing autonomous refits and securing lucrative maintenance contracts.

Presented by Andrew Hutchinson, Senior Economic Development Officer, City of Gold Coast, the Industry Wide ‘2024 Australian Marine Industry Innovation of the Year’ secured Steber International a second award of the evening.  Their diesel-electric hybrid boat, with its advanced technology, versatile for applications across defence, government, and private sectors, stands as a testament to reduced emissions, noise levels, and operational costs, marking a significant step forward in marine engineering. 

Alan Steber, General Manager, Steber International took the stage twice to receive both of his awards; “We are absolutely delighted to have won two awards.  The young team at Stebercraft, based in Taree, NSW, is enthusiastic and forward-thinking, truly representing the brains of the future for our industry. I welcome their input every day and eagerly anticipate the next round of innovations from Stebercraft, driving the electrical vessel technology of the future”.

In a Marine Industry Awards first, the Industry Wide ‘2024 Australian Marine Innovation of the Year’ Award was so closely contested the judges were prompted to offer a highly commended certificate to acknowledge the exceptional innovation demonstrated by Eclass Outboards.  Their pioneering development of the world’s first plug-and-play electric RePower kits for conventional Internal Combustion Engine outboard casings has revolutionized the marine industry, by offering scalable and cost-effective solutions for transitioning to electric powertrains.

Kara Roberts, Marketing Manager, Mulpha Events, Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show, presented the Industry Wide ‘2024 Australian Marine Marketing Strategy of the Year’ to Echo Yachts who acquired their second award of the evening.  The judges were impressed with Echo Yachts transformation of turning market challenges into opportunities, by positioning the geographical distance to Perth as invitation to explore Australian cruising and tourism. Whilst expanding their presence in global boat shows, actively sponsoring, and participating in industry events they also maintained a robust presence across print, online and social media platforms.

The highly anticipated ‘2024 Australian Marine Industry Apprentice of the Year’ award bestows the winning apprentice with return airfares and accommodation to the world’s largest marine equipment trade show, METSTRADE in Amsterdam. Presented by Simon Hislop from TAFE Queensland, this year’s winning apprentice was Jade Ralph from Echo Marine Group.  Currently in her fourth year of a Mechanical Fitting Apprenticeship, already with a skipper’s ticket and certificates in marine operations and engineering, Jade was applauded her for aptitude optimistic demeanour, aptitude for mentoring fellow apprentices, and outstanding pipe bending abilities.

Chris Blackwell, Sales and Marketing Manager at Echo Marine Group and Echo Yachts, expressed, “We are honoured and privileged to be recognized with several awards at this year’s AIMEX Australian Marine Industry Awards. The Superyacht Project of the Year award is amazing recognition for Echo’s entire shipyard team and that of One2Three Naval Architects whom we partnered with for the design of M/Y Charley 2. It was especially nice to see our 4th year engineering apprentice Jade Ralph win the coveted Australian Marine Industry Apprentice of the Year Award, that will see her accompany the AIMEX and Superyacht Australia team the METSTRADE Show and Dutch shipyard tour in Amsterdam later this year. Being recognized for our international marketing program and various initiatives with the Industry Wide Marketing of the Year Award was also a thrilling highlight to top off the night”.

The culminating award of the evening, ‘The 2024 Marine Industry Champion of the Year,’ was presented by Steve Fisher from Rivergate Marina & Shipyard and bestowed upon Tony Longhurst, The Boat Works.  Tony’s personal accolades include breaking the Australian waterskiing speed record at 201km/hr at the age of eighteen and winning the Bathurst 1000 multiple times. Since assuming leadership at The Boat Works in 2012, Tony has meticulously overseen the planning, construction, and operation of the shipyard. His dedication has elevated it to become the premier facility of its size globally, setting a new standard for shipyards and enhancing Australia’s reputation as a leading destination for refits and maintenance services.  Tony Longhurst, CEO and Owner, The Boat Works; “After ten years in this fantastic industry, this award means more to me than winning Bathurst…three times”.

David Good, CEO, AIMEX, Superyacht Australia and ACMG commented; “The 2024 Australian Marine Industry Awards marked a celebration of excellence, innovation, and dedication within the maritime sector. From groundbreaking technological advancements to exceptional leadership and accomplishments, the event showcased the remarkable achievements of individuals and organizations shaping the future of Australia’s marine industry. As the night concluded, it was evident that these awards not only honoured past successes but also heralded a promising future of continued growth and innovation in Australia’s maritime landscape”.

AIMEX, Superyacht Australia, and the Australian Commercial Marine Group would like to acknowledge and thank the judging panel for the 2024 Australian Marine Industry Awards: MaryAnne Edwards, Chair Judge, Global Marine Business Advisors; Barry Jenkins, Former Chairman, Superyacht Australia; Dr Thomas Wechselberger, Project Manager, Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning QLD; Stephen Quigley, Managing Director, One2three Naval Architects; Nav Bajwa, Director Wholesale Banking and Financial Markets, BOQ Business; Sean Griffin, Commercial Consultant; Gillian Carter, Director, Pacific Marine Design; Andrew Stirzaker, Commercial Manager, Taranto Marine; Kristina Agustin, Fleet Business Manager, Wright Maritime Group LLC (USA).

AIMEX extends our gratitude to the 2024 Australian Marine Industry Awards Major Partners, Award Presenting Partners, and Supporting Sponsors, each listed below;

Major Partners: City of Gold Coast, Queensland Government, Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show

Award Presenting Partners: Bank of Queensland Business, City of Gold Coast, Rivergate Marina and Shipyard, Sanctuary Cove Boat Show, SeaLink, TAFE Queensland, Volvo Penta.

Supporting Sponsors: Aqualuma LED Lighting, Boat Style Yacht Interiors, Quality Marine Clothing, Tyrrell’s Wines Australia