The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem, stretching for over 2,300km along the coastline of Australia’s Sunshine State. For superyachts, this remains one of the pinnacle destinations for thrilling underwater adventures, with 3,000 coral reefs, 600 continental islands and 1625 known species of fish to discover. This is a truly unique source for inspiration, and superyachts based in Port Douglas, Cairns, and the Whitsundays provide unforgettable charter experiences on the Reef.
It is in the Whitsundays where Coral Sea Marina Resort is leading an initiative to inspire locals and visitors to protect and preserve the reef. From 5-8 August, the 2021 Great Barrier Reef Festival will be held in Coral Sea’s home of Airlie Beach, celebrating the Whitsundays’ lifestyle and the communities at the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. The Marina, through its sustainability arm ‘Coral Sea Academy’, has partnered with the festival to put on an educational workshop on protecting the Great Barrier Reef.
The free community event, held on Friday 6 August at The Lookout Lounge in Coral Sea Marina, will give a platform to climate action leaders, advocates for reef research and local Master Reef Guides.
The focus of Coral Sea Academy’s will be on encouraging the long-term health of the Great Barrier Reef. “Dive Guru” and conservationist Tony Fontes, one of the Reef’s greatest advocates, will be the Master of Ceremonies for the workshop and is excited to impart his own passion for reef conservation to locals and visitors to the region.
“The Great Barrier Reef remains unmatched in its beauty and diversity but it is under pressure and its health is declining,” explains Tony. “The Reef needs your help and support to ensure that we have the greatest Reef into the future.”
Millions access the natural splendour of the Great Barrier Reef through the Whitsundays each year, with the region a much-loved destination for superyacht charters.
The 5 Gold Anchor Coral Sea Marina was named Superyacht Industry Service Provider of the Year at the 2021 ASMEX Conference for its impeccable facilities and outstanding guests services, and was shortly after entered into Marina Industry Association Hall of Fame. Owner Paul Darrouzet’s vision of creating a ‘Monaco of the South Pacific’ is being realized, yet the Marina is going above and beyond to protect the unique natural environment that surrounds it. Joscelyn O’Keefe, Marketing Sales and Services Manager at Coral Sea Marina Resort, explains how important it is to instil a sense of responsibility to all who visit the region.
“The Great Barrier Reef Festival is an ideal opportunity to connect with locals and visitors and convey the message of the real difference people can make to protecting our reef,” explains Joscelyn. “We’re so excited to support the Great Barrier Reef festival once again this year and to have the opportunity to tie in the Coral Sea Academy with the incredible work the team do with increasing awareness and passion for the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef.
“The Coral Sea Academy is designed to educate visitors about the reef, the environment, and sustainability, so this collaboration seemed like the perfect platform through which to get this message out to the community.”
Margie Murphy, Chair of the Great Barrier reef Festival, is thrilled to see reef education through the Coral Sea Academy as part of the festival’s program of events. “We welcome the opportunity to showcase the different programs we have locally that assist in reef preservation, the volunteer groups that work hard to look after our backyard and of course the many ways in which any visitor or local can have a positive effect on the reef,”says Margie.
“We are incredibly lucky to have this global icon on our doorstep and the Great Barrier Reef festival is the perfect event in which to provide an educational experience regarding its preservation.”
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the Southern Hemisphere’s most iconic destinations for superyacht escapades. With Australia opening to charter for foreign flagged superyachts in December 2019, a new opportunity has been presented for yachts to head Down Under and experience Reef’s natural beauty. Initiatives like the Coral Sea Academy are important for the superyacht industry to give back to the environment that provides the basis for incredible experiences on the water.
Other important initiatives include last year’s Great Reef Census, in which Australian brokerage Ocean Alliance and the Superyacht Group Great Barrier Reef joined forces with Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef to provide superyachts to assist with a world-first citizen science project.