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We wind down 2021 with memories not always cherished - MarineBusinessWorld Oceania newsletter

by Peter Rendle 2 Dec 2021 23:00 GMT
Clean Marina © Gladstone Ports Corporation

As we approach Christmas and the New Year, a new Covid variant has delayed the wind down of restrictions, but with luck, most state borders will be opened up ahead of Christmas, though nothing is certain. It is no wonder that thousands of Australians are turning to boating for the first time as they become aware of the many marine destinations around the coast of this massive country that are so remote, that contacting the Covid virus becomes an afterthought. Now is the time for all industry suppliers to promote their product range in light of these new market opportunities.

Meanwhile where would we be without marinas. The marina industry does a great job of monitoring the conditions and amenities offered at the many havens that surround our coastline. Awards are part of that monitoring process and this week one of the peak marina bodies in the Asia Pacific has given international accreditation to Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) for its clean and fish friendly marina, with the port achieving a high score of 99 percent. GPC's Marina undertook strenuous audits by the Marina Industries Association (MIA) with more than 40 criteria requirements to check off including storm water runoff, oil changes and facility cleaning. Marina superintendent David Osmond said the team always went above and beyond to make sure the facilities and services were five-star for both residents below and above the waterline.

Similarly, Birkenhead Point Marina has been recognised as the best marina facility on Sydney Harbour, and one of the finest in the world when, for the second time, it was accredited by the MIA as a 5 Gold Anchor Platinum Marina. As the largest privately owned floating marina on Sydney Harbour, it comprises over 200 full-service marina berths, world-class amenities, personally serviced dockside refuelling, a five-star club lounge with high-end integrated kitchen amenities. Tenants and guests also have access to laundry facilities, luxury ensuite bathrooms and can safely store all their boating equipment in clean, dry, secure spaces on-site. Its location facilitates convenient access to high end shopping, quality restaurants and bars and magnificent surrounding parklands.

Our harbours are also worthy of mention. Improvements marked out in the Kiama Harbour Revitalisation Action Plan have been welcomed by the community, following a feedback period in September. NSW Maritime Director Maritime Infrastructure Delivery, Andrew Mogg, said more than 40 community members and stakeholders attended information sessions and 35 provided written responses to the action plan, which focussed on actions needed to upgrade and repair the existing harbour infrastructure. "We've listened to the community and the plan has been updated to take into account feedback and suggestions," he said. "Of the 35 submissions received the majority were favourable of the plan and many expressed gratitude that previous concerns raised by the community had been addressed.

Further North, Dozens of community groups from Rockhampton, Gladstone and Bundaberg recovering from the impact of the pandemic have received a welcome boost in funding thanks to Gladstone Ports Corporation's (GPC) Community Investment Program. This year more than $115,000 worth of funding from GPC has supported such areas as educational projects, critical care and non-for-profit charities providing community services. Some of the funding recipients include Gladstone's Special Olympics, The Martin Hanson Memorial Art Awards, Central Queensland Special Children's Christmas Party, Guide Dogs Queensland Volunteer Trolleys, Calliope River Men's Shed and Cancer Patients Foundation.

It's difficult to keep marine propulsion out of the news these days and this week is no exception. ePropulsion, a global leader and market challenger in marine electric propulsion systems and services, has today announced that it has secured hundreds of millions of RMB in B+ Series funding, equating to tens of millions of US dollars. The funding was acquired from investors including Lightspeed China Partners and other existing shareholders who believe in the potential of ePropulsion and its industry-leading innovations. ePropulsion has now sold over 12,000 units and achieved an annual sales growth of 150% this year, which is still growing at a pace with sales expected to double again in 2022.

ePropulsion will use the acquired funds to increase its investment in technology developments and innovative research as well as: Improving and upgrading the existing product line, developing larger horsepower electric propulsion systems which meet the rapidly growing market demand, developing autonomous boating technology and the 'Internet of Boats' to strive to introduce a smarter boating experience to the world, increasing investment in the expansion of domestic and international markets, conducting in-depth exploration in the already-reached markets, and rapidly expanding in and seizing emerging markets, plus increasing investment in global team building to attract outstanding talents and ensure organisational and operational efficiency and effectiveness.

Finally, a farewell to an industry stalwart. From island hopping on sea planes in the Pacific, to monitoring the police boats in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when it comes to Mercury and engines, Karl Roberts has seen it all. Karl was the youngest service rep to ever be employed by Mercury in 1985 as a 26-year-old with a mechanical background in automotive service management, service training and dealer development. Now, 36 years and many cherished memories later, Karl is ready to take a step back and enjoy a well-deserved retirement with his family. At home, he has a combined family of seven children, his wife Virginia, and 12 grandchildren. And at Mercury, the thing he'll miss most is the work 'family' he formed with his co-workers throughout the years.

More industry news at Australia's largest boating industry news website: MarineBusinessWorld.com

Stay safe,
Peter Rendle - peter.rendle@marinebusinessworld.com

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