Superyacht Australia has been lobbying for nearly a decade to allow superyachts of greater than 35 metres in length to cruise and anchor in key spots within the Great Barrier Reef. Until now. superyachts larger than this have been unable to enjoy this iconic destination, forcing Australian superyacht owners to take their vessels to Fiji and other Pacific countries rather than spend their tourism dollars in their own back yard. But with 70 per cent of international visitors enjoying coastal experiences as part of their trip and an industry that already contributes nearly $2 billion to the economy, the inevitable change has now come to pass.

Superyachts Whitsundays

Vessels of up to 70 metres in length can now cruise the world famous Whitsundays.

M Edwards, CEO Superyacht Australia, is delighted that the government has finally acted: “The Turnbull government has read the Superyacht industry economic impact study and understands the value of the jobs and economic benefits of this sector to Australia. This small move in regulations will have a big impact on regional economies, which will now see greater utilisation of marina and refit facilities and the enormous spend with local businesses that comes with this.”

As for the environmental impact of larger superyachts on a region of international importance, Mr Edwards has no doubts at all: “Superyachts are built to the highest environmental standards and lead the world in all aspects of maritime best practices. They pose no additional risk to the environmental, social or cultural values of the Whitsunday region. We believe that owners and guests of superyachts should have the same rights to access and enjoy the Whitsundays as any other visitor to the region and the changes to the plan of management will finally allow this.”

It is thought that these 21 new anchorages will benefit the entire region by encouraging vessels to venture further and stay longer. The maintenance and logistics of these craft will also bring about a greater need for skilled workers, increasing job opportunities and apprenticeships in a number of trade areas, as well as leading to more private investment in infrastructure, refit and repair. Superyacht Australia is already developing the marketing collateral to make the most of the change. To find out more, visit

Written by: Alex Smith
Alex Smith is a journalist, copywriter and magazine editor with a long history in boating and a happy addiction to the water. He’s worked on boats, lived on boats, bought boats, sold boats and – when he’s not actually on board a boat – he can generally be found in his Folkestone office, tapping away at the computer and gazing out to sea.