Superyachts to Lead Vital Great Barrier Reef Research

By George Bains

Luxury superyachts have joined the Great Reef Census as part of a world-first citizen science project. The Census will provide a unique opportunity for superyachts to experience the majestic colours of the Great Barrier Reef as part of an important scientific study, contributing to future conservation of this Natural Wonder of the World.

Encompassing over 3,000 individual reefs that stretches for 2,300 kilometres along Queensland’s golden coastline, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem and a haven for yachting activity. Maintaining the Reef is vital for both the health of our oceans and for the enjoyment of a remarkable charter destination.

The sheer volume of the Reef is staggering, and up to 40% has never been surveyed before. The Great Reef Census is a project spearheaded by Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, with the aim of providing the most comprehensive snapshot of the Reef ever taken.

For 11 weeks, a wide range of boats will be mobilised to achieve Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef’s 2020 goal of a survey of 100 priority reefs. Among those vessels will be the important contribution of some of the region’s major superyachts.

A new partnership between Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef and leading Australian yacht agent Ocean Alliance has led to the involvement of superyachts Beluga and Settlement. Beluga is set to take part in the first survey of the Census, departing south from Lizard Island this weekend.

Andy Ridley, CEO of Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, expressed his delights at having superyachts involved in the Census. “Superyachts are in a unique position to operate in remote areas of the Great Barrier Reef and utilise their resources, crew, tenders and communications to vastly improve the reach and outcomes of the project,” explained Ridley.

For superyachts, embracing a pioneering spirit across the Great Barrier Reef is a rich reward for taking part in the Census. “Yachts who sign up to join the Great Reef Census have the opportunity to explore one of the most extraordinary places on the planet and reefs rarely visited by boats,” continued Ridley. “These remote reefs are an oasis of marine life, coral, and places which still hold many mysteries.”

Regional Superyacht cluster Superyacht Group Great Barrier Reef has played a key role in facilitating the collaboration between superyachts and researchers. The Group’s manager, Joanne Drake, highlighted that superyacht owners and crew have always had a great affinity with the earth’s biosphere.

In the past, many vessels have been proactive in the important conservation and development efforts of its global ecosystems,” said Joanne Drake. “We are delighted that visiting yachts to our region are now deeply committed to this project, surveying our incomparable Great Barrier Reef to result in some truly tangible outcomes for future reef management and preservation efforts.”

The 2020 goal of 100 reefs is a step towards a full-scale Great Census in 2021. The Census provides a special opportunity for owners and charterers to experience the reef in a unique and exclusive way, engaging with researchers and scientists to gain a comprehensive understanding of this natural wonder.

"Yachts who sign up to join the Great Reef Census have the opportunity to explore one of the most extraordinary places on the planet..."

Andy Ridley, CEO Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef

"Yachts who sign up to join the Great Reef Census have the opportunity to explore one of the most extraordinary places on the planet..."

Andy Ridley, CEO Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef
By George Bains