Australia’s Domestic Superyacht Industry Doubles In Size

By George Bains

Back in January 2020, Superyacht Australia CEO David Good spoke to Superyachts.com about the potential to double the domestic superyacht industry on the back of the new Special Recreational Vessels Bill. Few could have predicted the challenges that would unfold around the globe shortly thereafter, yet just over a year later the vision for a thriving industry Down Under seems to have been realised in even the most difficult of situations.

Australia is experiencing a superyacht boom, with vessels attracted to Australia and its buoyant domestic charter market. Australians normally spend A$65B annually on international travel and with borders closed many superyachts have moved to Australia to offer a luxury alternative to overseas travel.

The increase in charter activity in Australian waters provides a huge economic lift, with vessels spending around 10-12% of their value in operational expenditure annually, making every 50m vessel worth between A$5-6M in economic spend into a region per year.

This increase in vessels has a direct correlation to the new charter legislation passed by the federal government in December 2019. The passing of the Special Recreation Vessels (SRV) Act, coupled with the closure of international borders, have contributed to an accelerated growth of the industry, drawing larger superyachts to be based in Australian waters.

The SRV Act removed red tape restrictions on superyachts operating commercially in Australian waters. Prior to this Act becoming law, the largest domestic charter yacht was 42m, and now the largest Australian based superyacht is 74.5m – one of eight vessels over 50m now based in Australia since the passage of the Act.

This should only be expected to increase further when international borders reopen, with internationally flagged superyachts heading to Australia to take advantage not only of the new charter opportunities but also of a safe region with world-class marine infrastructure.

The opening of a new Superyacht Yard at The Boat Works and a mammoth new Travel Lift at Austal are two significant additions to the infrastructure in recent times. Significant expansion works are already in place or planned elsewhere around the country, notably a new 150m+ berth at Southport Yacht Club and a $250M expansion plan at the renowned Rivergate Marina and Shipyard.

Western Australia is home to Australia’s two large superyacht manufacturers – Silver Yachts and Echo Yachts. Both yards have recently produced superyachts in excess of 83m each, and are world leaders in innovative superyacht constructions.

“We look forward to having more Australian built superyachts based here in Australia,” commented David Good, CEO of Superyacht Australia. “With such spectacular cruising grounds and two of the world’s best superyacht manufacturers, it’s only a matter of time before we will see a large Australian-built superyacht chartering here and showcasing the absolute best of Australia.”

Before anything else, Australia is a country with infinite cruising possibilities. An all-year-round cruising calendar can be made up of visits to diverse locations from the rugged Kimberley to the mesmerising Great Barrier Reef and lively cities such as Sydney. With the continued global growth of the superyacht industry, new legislation allowing foreign-owned vessels to charter in Australia provides an enticing opportunity for owners, captains and charterers.

"We look forward to having more Australian built superyachts based here in Australia."

David Good, CEO Superyacht Australia

"We look forward to having more Australian built superyachts based here in Australia."

David Good, CEO Superyacht Australia
By George Bains
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