Superyachts typically split their time between the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. But as the industry grows, Australia is pushing hard to become “that third spot,” says Greg Newby, director of Superyacht Crew Academy.
There have been seismic shifts in the superyacht industry over the last 20 years. The “wild west” days are winding down, the demographic is changing and more remote places are being explored. But while we have previously reported on superyachts flocking for the first time to Turkey, Greenland, the Baltic and Antarctica, there is another tasty hub that has been staring us in the face the whole time: Australia.
To understand this burgeoning new trend, DMARGE spoke to Greg Newby, who has worked on superyachts for more than 15 years, and who is the director of Superyacht Crew Academy, a training organisation for aspiring superyacht workers in Australia.
Mr Newby told DMARGE that “Australia is pushing hard” to make itself a more attractive destination for superyachts, so that it can “become that third spot” for superyachting (beyond the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, the two summer destinations most superyachts currently split their time between).
“Queensland are doing an incredible job at the moment,” Mr Newsby told DMARGE. “The infrastructure is amazing and it’s just such a perfect destination for yachts with The Great Barrier Reef on the doorstep.”
“The Queensland government has a superyacht initiative to become a superyacht hub over the next ten years, especially before the Olympics.”
“The world’s getting smaller. Australia seemed like it was just too far away but now with all the stops and infrastructure through the pacific, yachts are island hopping across and spending time in Australia doing refits and actually cruising.”Greg Newby
Mr Newby told us the main attractions for superyachts in Australia at the moment are the Great Barrier Reef as well as “around the top through the Kimberly and down the west coast of Australia [think: Ningaloo]. It’s becoming a much bigger destination.”
There are also cities dotted up and down the east coast, for both the party and the ‘chiller’ superyacht demographics (from Noosa and Byron Bay to the Gold Coast and Sydney) to enjoy themselves.
Mr Newby also told DMARGE he has heard rumours significant funding could be on its way for West Australia’s superyacht industry: “I think the West Australian government will announce about 10 billion dollars towards superyacht infrastructure.”
What is superyacht infrastructure? It’s things like marinas and berths. As Mr Newby told us: “The Gold Coast just recently opened 160m berths, which they can get superyachts into.” Superyacht infrastructure also comprises equipping marinas with the capability to power these “massive beasts,” Mr Newby said.
“It’s giving them the ability to come here and not stress about anything really. There are thousands of crew on our doorstep ready to jump on board if required. I think Australia and the Pacific is definitely becoming that third spot [to go superyachting] and then Alaska has always been a hotspot.”
“What’s holding us back from being a hub,” Mr Newby said, is “just distance.” He reckons: “What needs to be done is there are a lot of organisations that are pushing hard going to shows around the world and pushing Australia as a destination.”
“But it’s still that conception that we’re so far away and it’s true – we are. If you wanted to travel from the south of France to Australia it’s going to be, weather dependant, a 5 or 6-week trip to get a vessel down here.”
While Australia might seem a long way away from the existing superyacht hubs of the world, with the right infrastructure here, Mr Newby reckons we could certainly become a new hub of our own.
“Now that [a 5 or six-week journey to get here] seems like a lot, but when you’re laying the boat up for two months or over a whole year four to five months a year, from an owners point of view that’s nothing; you’ll step on a vessel in the south of France mid-September and then step off in Sydney [just in time for summer].”
“There’s a lot of education, especially for captains and crew which is needed, and which is what we’re trying to do from the ground up.”Greg Newby
“We’re trying to make sure that you can study here in Australia and we’re trying to make it a lot easier for students to come back and study and actually have career pathways here in Australia. At the moment it’s very restricted, but we’re working very hard on that and we’ve got a lot of government support to make sure that skilled workers come back to Australia. It’s just going to take time.”
“If you built it, they will come.”Greg Newby
There are always bumps along the road for any new trend, and Australia as a superyacht hub is no exception. But given everything Mr Newby has told us, we can only imagine more billion-dollar vessels will be gracing our shores over the next decade, not less. Now, all we need is our own version of Below Deck to finally hit Netflix and we’ll be laughing…