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Charter yacht BELUGA set to aid scientific study into Great Barrier Reef

Industry news

By Steven Mandaluff  9 October 2020

The 35m (115’) superyacht BELUGA is set to take part in the Great Barrier Reef census, a research project aimed at surveying 100 priority reefs in 2020 that make up part of Australia’s famous coastline.

The 2006 built Moonen expedition yacht will head south from Lizard Island, a 10km (6.2 miles) square island 240km (150 miles) north of Cairns on the Great Barrier Reef

She will be one of a wide range of boats used as part of the census that is being spearheaded by Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef - a group aiming to protect the famous Australian landmark as well as other reefs around the world. The 34.6m (114’) Sunseeker motor yacht SETTLEMENT, will also be part of the project.

Superyacht Beluga on water in front of hills

Andy Ridley, CEO of Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, stressed the important role superyachts are playing in the project, saying: “Superyachts are in a unique position to operate in remote areas of the Great Barrier Reef and utilise their resources, crew, tenders and communications to vastly improve the reach and outcomes of the project.”

The goal of surveying 100 reefs by the end of 2020 is part of a wider goal of conducting a full-scale census of the Reef in 2021. Up to 40% of the Reef has never been surveyed before.

Joanne Drake, who is the manager of the regional superyacht cluster Superyacht Group Great Barrier Reef, explains how superyacht owners and crew have always had a great affinity with the earth’s biosphere:

“In the past, many vessels have been proactive in the important conservation and development efforts of its global ecosystems. We are delighted that visiting yachts to our region are now deeply committed to this project, surveying our incomparable Great Barrier Reef to result in some truly tangible outcomes for future reef management and preservation efforts.”

Scuba diving with fish on coral reef in Great Barrier Reef
Aerial view of Beautiful coral reef along the tropical island coast with emerald clear water, part of Great Barrier Reef
A Leopard shark sleeping on the sand on the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef stretches for 2,300km (1,430miles) along the coastline of Queensland, Australia. Over 3,000 individual reefs make up what is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem. It is far and away the largest barrier reef in the world, the second largest being the Belize Reef, which is 290km (180 miles) long.

The colorful reef is one of the most complex natural ecosystems in the world and provides a home for a huge array of marine life, including: 600 types of soft and hard corals; over 100 species of jellyfish, around 3,000 varieties of molluscs, 1,625 types of fish, 133 varieties of sharks and rays and more than 30 species of whales and dolphins.

We are delighted that visiting yachts to our region are now deeply committed to this project, surveying our incomparable Great Barrier Reef to result in some truly tangible outcomes for future reef management and preservation efforts.

Joanne Drake, Manager, Superyacht Group Great Barrier Reef

However the Reef is vulnerable and has been affected by pollution, coastal development and global warming, losing half its coral cover and suffering coral bleaching over the past three decades.

Luxury yacht charters remain popular in the Great Barrier Reef, due to the kaleidoscopic corals, turquoise waters, idyllic islands and breathtaking dive sites. Maintaining the health of the reef is important to both the future of Great Barrier Reef yacht charters and even more so the thousands of plants, animals and marine life that call the biggest living structure on the planet their home.

 
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