Editor's ColumnRobin Copeland 

Boat storage demand exceeds supply

According to the recently released 2011 marina survey report Australian Marinas: Economic, Social and Environmental Performance, the demand for boat storage space at many Australian marinas exceeds current capacity.

The average boat occupancy across all marinas during the 2010/11 period was 83%. A quarter of marinas reported over 95% occupancy rates. More than half (52%) of marinas had waiting lists for boat storage spaces during part or all of summer 2010-11 and over a third (39%) had waiting lists during non-peak seasons.

Type, size and location of the marina are all important variables.  For example across Australia, club marinas had a higher average occupancy of 94% compared to non-club marinas at 80%. NSW had the highest average occupancy for all marinas types at 90% while the lowest was for marinas in SA/NT at 63%.

Marina Industries Association of Australia (MIAA) President Andrew Chapman said while the findings highlight significant variations in marina boat storage demand, the national picture is both positive and negative for industry and for the three million people regularly involved in recreational boating.

“On the negative side is the looming supply shortage; the result of interrelated regulatory, lease, planning and investment barriers that have stifled the creation of new marinas and the expansion of existing marinas over the last decade. 

“With the forecast long term growth in boating registrations many regions will not be able to cope with the boat storage demand. The problem is being exacerbated in urban regions where urban consolidation means less people have the option of home boat storage,” he said.

For Australia to maintain its boating, sailing and fishing outdoor lifestyle it is essential that governments better understand the economic and social significance of recreational boating and work with industry to address the looming supply shortage.

The good news is that the majority of marinas are seeing healthy demand that provides a strong platform for business growth.

Riviera returns to Australian ownership

Australia’s best loved and most successful luxury cruiser manufacturer has been bought by Gold Coast businessman Rodney Longhurst. The sale will allow Riviera to officially exit receivership and move positively forward under private ownership.

Mr Longhurst was impressed with the very strong loyalty that Riviera owners felt toward their boat. He said the Riviera brand had retained its integrity and has defied industry trends in achieving significant results with new model releases and sales.

Mr Longhurst bumped off a rival bid of about $30 million from Riviera founder Bill Barry-Cotter. The Maritimo boss, who sold Riviera for $180 million in 2002, said his most recent offer was “based on what it was worth”.

When Kerry Packer sold Alan Bond the Nine Network at the record price of $1.05 billion in 1987, and then bought it back three years later for a mere $250 million, he quipped; “You only get one Alan Bond in your lifetime, and I’ve had mine.”

It seems Barry-Cotter didn’t get his.

Robin Copeland