Swell of southern money drives boom in boating business
AN INFLUX of southern money is driving a boating boom in the region, with boat builders and repairers inundated as more people take to the water.
Population growth driven by southerners looking for a seachange has seen the number of boats rise across the state, with more than 250,000 recreational vessels registered across Queensland.
Local boat builders and repairers have noticed the effect of the mass migration, with added workloads.
Wright Yacht and Boat Services owner Mark Wright said he'd noticed an increase in work in his yard this year compared to the previous three.
"It has definitely increased," he said.
He said there were challenges, as some customers expected prices to remain where they were five years ago, but he said CPI and the price of oil, a common factor in many products they used, had combined to force prices up.
"We do the best we can to keep prices market competitive," he said.
"By and large the feeling is that there is a positivity and there is an increase (in business)."
He wanted to see more government attention given to the marine industry and marine trades, particularly apprenticeships.
"More people are doing boats up now, 20 years ago they were changing boats left, right and centre," Mr Wright said.
He said a lot of people seemed to be getting rid of bigger boats and downsizing to the medium range of vessel, between 24ft-35ft.
Better fuel economy and more workable deck areas that enabled "360 degree" fishing were driving many of the downsizes.
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Mr Wright's second-in-command, Nigel Carter, said the improvements in outboard motors were also driving the trend.
"Outboards are getting so large now," he said.
"They're very efficient and pretty safe, and it's allowing 'bigger' small boats to get out wide."
As for marine life, both men agreed there were still plenty of fish out there, if you had the knowledge.
"There is for those that know what they're doing," Mr Carter said.
"Ninety per cent of the fish are caught by 10 per cent of the fishermen."
Mr Wright said they were dealing with commercial, trawler, charter, private yacht, power boat and trailable clients at the moment.
Other boat builders in their Buddina complex said they'd had a record year of new boat builds and maintenance work.
Adam from Ashby Boat Builders said it was becoming almost overpopulated on the water, and the increase in large catamarans had put pressure on boat repairers to deal with large vessels.
A 2017 study by GHD assessing demand of recreational boating facilities on the Coast found lack of car-trailer parking had reduced the capacity of the then-23 boat ramps across the region.
It recommended a number of priority sites be developed with facilities, including a $3.2 million boat ramp and facilities at Outrigger Island, Minyama, as soon as possible.
Other recommendations included over the next five years, a $480,000 upgrade of the boat ramp at La Balsa Park, to maximise parking, as well as a $1.2 million upgrade of the facilities at June St, Golden Beach and a $1.8 million new facility at Kawana Way, Mountain Creek.
Over the next 5-10 years a $2.8 million new facility was recommended at Stoney Wharf Rd, Bli Bli, as well as a $350,000 ramp at West Coolum Rd, Coolum Beach.