BUSY: Owner of Wright Yacht and Boat Services in Buddina Mark Wright works on a 1938 18ft Clinker. Recreational boat numbers are soaring across Queensland and the Coast.
BUSY: Owner of Wright Yacht and Boat Services in Buddina Mark Wright works on a 1938 18ft Clinker. Recreational boat numbers are soaring across Queensland and the Coast. John McCutcheon

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.

READ: Enough boat ramps out there, but upgrades needed

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.

Owner of Wright Yacht and Boat Services in Buddina Mark Wright and 2IC Nigel Carter have been busy this year working on more boats than usual, as recreational boat numbers soar across Qld and the Coast.
Owner of Wright Yacht and Boat Services in Buddina Mark Wright and 2IC Nigel Carter have been busy this year working on more boats than usual, as recreational boat numbers soar across Qld and the Coast. John McCutcheon

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.

Owner of Wright Yacht and Boat Services in Buddina Mark Wright works on a 1938 18foot Clinker. Recreational boat numbers are soaring across Qld and the Coast.
Owner of Wright Yacht and Boat Services in Buddina Mark Wright works on a 1938 18foot Clinker. Recreational boat numbers are soaring across Qld and the Coast. John McCutcheon

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.

Do you own a boat on the Sunshine Coast?

This poll ended on 01 August 2019.

Current Results

Yes. It's a great place to be a boat owner.

35%

No, I'm not interested in boats.

35%

Hopefully I will one day.

28%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

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."

2IC Nigel Carter at Wright Yacht and Boat Services in Buddina has been busy this year working on more boats than usual, as recreational boat numbers soar across Qld and the Coast.
2IC Nigel Carter at Wright Yacht and Boat Services in Buddina has been busy this year working on more boats than usual, as recreational boat numbers soar across Qld and the Coast. John McCutcheon

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.

2IC Nigel Carter at Wright Yacht and Boat Services in Buddina has been busy this year working on more boats than usual, as recreational boat numbers soar across Qld and the Coast.
2IC Nigel Carter at Wright Yacht and Boat Services in Buddina has been busy this year working on more boats than usual, as recreational boat numbers soar across Qld and the Coast. John McCutcheon

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.



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