Gold Coast know-how builds capacity for safer waters

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs The Honourable Meaghan Scanlon

In a win for local manufacturing, Gold Coast boat builder Swift Marine has been awarded a $1.9 million contract to build eight high-speed vessels, bolstering the Palaszczuk Government’s Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) fleet.

Environment Minister and Member for Gaven Meaghan Scanlon said MSQ’s new vessels would patrol Queensland’s increasingly busy waterways, and support 10 jobs during construction as part of Queensland’s economic recovery plan from COVID-19.

“Recreational boating sales have been booming as more Queenslanders holiday at home and support our local tourism economies – including right here on the Gold Coast,’ Minister Scanlon said.

“In 2020 there were 264,547 recreational vessels were registered in Queensland alone, an increase of more than 7,500 compared with the previous year.

“It’s a strong sign of our economic recovery from the pandemic, but with many more boats on the water we need make sure people are boating safely.

“Sadly, fatalities from marine incidents have increased in recent years, particularly in the previous few months and we want to reverse that disturbing trend.

“Having these boats out on the water will mean our crews are able to get out there and educate the community, make sure people are travelling in safe vessels, and provide support to any incidents on the water.

Minister Scanlon said Gold Coast-based Swift Marine had a proven track record in creating local jobs and supplying custom-built, rigid, inflatable boats for Queensland government departments.

“Manufacturers like Swift Marine have quickly established the Gold Coast as the home of boat-building in Queensland, which is why we committed to establishing a new advanced manufacturing hub in our city – one that is now open.

“Queensland businesses were well placed to compete thanks to our health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has allowed our economy to recover quickly, and it’s a Queensland business that’s ended up as our preferred supplier.

“Backing small business is a key priority of the Palaszczuk Government’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan, so this announcement is positive news for our boating industry and our goal to improve water safety across the state.

“It adds to the targeted support we’ll be providing at our new advanced manufacturing hub as well as a grants program focussed on the manufacture of marine vehicles.”

Swift Marine Managing Director Scott Wilson said the Queensland-based, family company had pioneered professional Rigid-Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) in the state for more than 30 years.

“Many government marine agencies operate Swift RHIBs, from the Australian Antarctic Division to Queensland Police, who all regard them very highly and we are pleased to be supplying part of the Maritime Safety Queensland fleet,” Mr Wilson said.

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