The ancient law costing billions in super yacht tourism

ANTHONY Hodgson, the skipper of luxury super-yacht 'Endless Summer' says a law dating back to the days of Captain Cook is costing Australia billions in tourism revenue.

"We need to lift the restriction that prevents foreign flagged vessels, like this one, from being used for charters in Australian waters," he said.

"This country has some of the most incredible cruising waters in the world, but we can't charter here.

"Billions of US dollars could be injected into our economy by high end tourists if we were allowed to charter this vessel in Australia."

Mr Hodgson said the US $50 million super-yacht had been in Australia for one year and for much of it's visit had sat empty.

Superyacht Endless Summer, which docked in Gladstone on 23 November 2018.
Superyacht Endless Summer, which docked in Gladstone on 23 November 2018. Matt Taylor GLA231118YACHT

"We've been here for a year and the owner has used the yacht once in that time for a 10 day holiday.

"Being foreign flagged we can't hire this yacht as a charter vessel, all we can use it for is to entertain the boss and his family."

Mr Hodgson said the high-end vessels are usually chartered on the side by owners wanting to capitalise on their location.

"When the owners aren't using them, they'll charter them out in places like the Caribbean and Mediterranean," he said.

"Places like Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and PNG are also getting a big boost to their economies from these kinds of vessels.

Jason and Anthony Hodgson in front of superyacht Endless Summer, which docked in Gladstone on 23 November 2018.
Jason and Anthony Hodgson in front of superyacht Endless Summer, which docked in Gladstone on 23 November 2018. Matt Taylor GLA231118YACHT

"Australian politicians need to look at lifting the legislation restriction."

He stressed the luxury yacht charters wouldn't impact Australian charter operators and that the figures added up in favour of lifting the restriction

"We're not looking at taking away business from Australia's smaller charter operators doing river cruises and fishing trips," he said.

"We can generate so much money into the economy with these vessels, for example in the last five months we spent over 2 million in Brisbane.

"We just paid $90,000 to fill the fuel tanks, we pay dockage fees, the crew spend money locally and their family and friends fly in to visit them.

"If we were being chartered we'd also be paying for cleaning after each tour, including carpet cleaning, provisioning and repair work.

"Some of the best work I've ever had done on my boats was done by Australian tradesmen."

He said if the charter restriction was lifted for foreign flagged vessels "the super boats will come."

"It's a long way for luxury yachts to travel to Australia," he said.

"There's already great infrastructure available like Abel Point Marina in the Whitsundays, the Gold Coast City Marina, Southport Yacht Club, Breakwater in Townsville and Marlin Marina in Cairns.

"We have some of the best tourism in the world and people will pay a lot for that unique Australian experience.

"If you have half a dozen super-yachts like this chartering it would be a massive boost to the economy."



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