• News
  • Queensland’s boat building industry buoyed by SeaLink’s $23M investment

Queensland’s boat building industry buoyed by SeaLink’s $23M investment

Wednesday 01 June 2022

With eight vessels constructed in Queensland over the last five years, SeaLink Marine & Tourism, Australia’s largest marine transport and tourism company, has invested $23M in a major boost to local marine manufacturing.

SeaLink Marine & Tourism Chief Operating Officer, Donna Gauci, said the investment in building new ferries showcased the company’s ongoing commitment to tourism, transport, and supporting local industry.

“We are proud to be building new vessels right here in Queensland as we continue to be impressed by the quality of the local workmanship producing world-class vessels.”

SeaLink is using local Queensland shipbuilders including AusShips, Commercial Marine Australia, Norman Wright & Sons, and Aluminium Marine.

“The quality of the vessels is a credit to Queensland’s ship makers and our team working together to ensure each vessel is tailored to the specific environments they are being constructed to operate in,” she said.

Some of SeaLink’s recent new vessel builds in Queensland include:

- 350-passenger vessel for its Magnetic Island ferry service (to be completed in 2022)

- a 12-person maintenance vessel for the Group’s RiverCity Ferries business, which operates the Brisbane City Council CityCats (completed in 2021)

- 320-passenger ferry, Coolgaree Cat, launched into SeaLink’s Palm Island service (completed in 2020)

- 60-passenger transfer vessel for our Sydney Harbour operations (completed in 2022)

- 200-passenger water-jet ferry (to be completed in 2022).

SeaLink is also building two new ferries with a capacity of 199-passengers and approximately 43-vehicles ferry in Australia for the Redland Bay servicing the Southern Moreton Bay Islands, both due to be completed later in 2022.

SeaLink has also been awarded a grant from the Queensland State Government, as part of their Hydrogen Industry Development Fund, to build a world-first internationally compliant hydrogen-powered ferry. SeaLink’s proposed 200-passenger hydrogen-powered ferry would operate in Gladstone and be able to travel at speeds of up to 20 knots (37kph) and up to a range of 50 nautical miles.

Ainslie Pankhurst from Commercial Marine Australia (CMA) said they were grateful for the opportunity to work with Australia’s largest marine operator, SeaLink.

“We are proud to partner with SeaLink on this project. The vessel demonstrates to the marine industry CMA’s commitment to building vessels of a first-class standard, and in delivering above the client’s expectation. This purpose-built vessel means we’ve been able to employee a team of fully qualified boat builders, welders and two full time apprentices despite the challenges of COVID.

“The building of this innovative and highly fuel-efficient vessel has also given our team the opportunity to support a local network of contractors and suppliers.

CMA worked very closely with SeaLink and designers Incat Crowther to achieve the most efficient hull, while maintaining its strength and serviceability.

“All fit out materials are the latest, lightweight available and the whole vessel is designed to be maintenance-friendly, with lower operational through-life costs, such as fuel,” he said.

While the tourism sector has faced some of the most challenging times with COVID lockdowns and border closures, Ms Gauci said as an essential transport service provider SeaLink and its parent company Kelsian Group kept operating, providing crucial island ferry connections and public transport services.

“Without a doubt, the last two years have been some of the most challenging years on record for many businesses, especially the tourism industry.

“SeaLink has remained committed to investing in tourism and local industry capability, so we are primed for the resurgence of travel from domestic and international visitors to see and experience some of our most iconic destinations,” she said.

“We encourage people to come and explore the amazing islands that SeaLink connects travellers to and experience our new state of the art vessels that make the trip across the water even more brilliant.”

For more information on SeaLink’s island destinations visit www.BrilliantTravels.com.au