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New legislation will allow foreign-flagged superyachts to charter in Australia

By Katia Damborsky   28 November 2019

Foreign-flagged superyachts will soon be able to operate commercially in the cruising grounds of Australia, thanks to a new bill introduced by the government on November 27.

Yesterday morning saw the Australian government introduce the Special Recreational Vessels Bill 2019 in a bid to reverse restrictions that have previously prevented the foreign-owned fleet from undertaking yacht charters in Australian waters. 

The new move will create a wider selection of yachts available for crewed yacht charters across Australia, further promoting the country’s popularity as a yacht charter destination. 

It is also expected to unlock an estimated 11,800 jobs and influx $1.64 billion into the local economy by 2021. Backers of the bill claim that it will benefit small businesses and local tradespeople, as many of them will be tasked to undertake yacht maintenance and essential refit and repair work.

Prior to now, foreign superyachts were only able to operate commercially if they had been fully imported. This caveat has been a major deterrent to superyacht owners from other parts of the world considering chartering their yachts in Australia.

David Good, CEO of Superyacht Australia, has said that now is a critical time to act.

“Huge events in the Pacific over the next 18 months will mean large numbers of superyachts will be in our region. The Tokyo Olympics in July 2020 and the America's Cup in Auckland 2021 are expected to bring around 160 superyachts to our region.”

Now is the critical time to act [...] Our region is on the radar for superyacht owners for the marvellous cruising grounds and world-class service facilities Australia offers.

David Good, Superyacht Australia

It’s hoped that the legislation will allow Australia to share in the success of neighbouring superyacht economies which are enjoying a boom, including Fiji and Tahiti.

Australia’s superyacht fleet has been growing in recent years, as more and more people set out to discover the charms of this off-the-beaten-track destination. 

The Whitsundays are invariably popular, and next year the island chain will be playing host to the 2020 Australian Superyacht Rendezvous, which is back for a special Great Barrier Reef edition. 

If you would like to learn more about chartering a yacht in Australia, please get in touch with your preferred yacht charter broker.


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