FEATURE

Community spirit at Batemans Bay Marina

This fire season saw the worst fires in Australia’s recorded history engulf vast areas of bushland across the country – with some fires still burning.

Along the coast of NSW hundreds of homes were destroyed, livelihoods were impacted, and sadly people lost loved ones as well.

At their climax, fires came dangerously close to the coastal town of Batemans Bay, and General Manager Batemans Bay Marina Daimon Martin was in the thick of it.

“New Year’s Eve was carnage. The fires moved so quickly, in just a few minutes everything went black and orange,” said Daimon.

“The bushfire was burning 300m off the Marina, you could feel the heat coming off it.”

“We had hundreds of people at the Marina on boats and in the open space, seeking refuge.”

“Some of them were tourists – there were already 10,000 extra people on holiday in the south coast region when the fires hit.”

“We had to be vigilant to ember attacks, but Jorge and I were having a hard time keeping up on our own.”

“The boat owners were outstanding, they helped us keep everything hosed down including the boats, and kept an eye out for spot fires.”

“We had no electricity for a few days so we decided to keep the gates to the marina open, to give people access their vessels, and lock the gates at night.”

“Jake from JJ’s at the Marina kept the kitchen open, cooking what food they had using gas stoves, to feed the fire crews, emergency services and the people at Marina.”

“Everyone pulled together and went above and beyond to support one another.”

Daimon’s family, including his father-in-law visiting from Prague, were some of the evacuees staying at the Marina, with another 6,000 or so at the Batemans Bay evacuation centre.

The Marina also played an important role in supporting the bushfire efforts, by providing fuel to police, RMS and Marine Rescue vessels so they could assist others.

Daimon says one lesson to be learned from the crisis is the importance of maintaining access to regional ports.

“The work that was conducted by emergency vessels during the fire highlights the importance of regional ports being accessible by emergency vessels in cases of disaster and urgent need.”

“Had the Clyde River Channel bar been dredged, it would have opened up other possibilities. Potentially we could have hosted a cruise ship, which could have provided facilities to evacuees.”

Due to the incredible of efforts of Daimon, Jorge and everyone who helped them, there was no damage to the Marina, infrastructure or vessels – and importantly there were no fatalities or injuries.

“We’re still collecting the ash though,” said Daimon.

MARINA REPORT

Batemans Bay Marina

Batemans Bay Marina would like to remind everyone we are open for business. We know many people are wondering how they can support people in areas impacted by bushfires. For Canberrans and people in and around the south coast, we encourage you to visit Batemans Bay Marina, and pop into JJ’s at the Marina for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The business gave generously by feeding people during the bushfire crisis, and like many it has been impacted by the downturn during the normally busy tourist season. Watch this fun YouTube clip the Batemans Bay business community made calling on Canberra tourists to come back, which features Jake from JJ’s at the Marina.

We are still waiting on dredging of the Clyde River Channel bar, which is now scheduled for the end of January 2020. Originally planned for August 2019, it was postponed to later in the year, and then postponed again due to the bushfires. The $450,000 project included hydrographic surveys and a Review of Environmental Factors. The announcement of $450,000 to dredge the bar was made after pressure from the Marina and our local boating community. We’ll keep you updated when we know more.

Fishing season is well underway, with lots of activity in the area. Although the Tollgate Islands Classic hosted by Batemans Bay GFC did not proceed as scheduled due to the bush fire crisis, the 84th Bermagui Bluewater Classic will be on this weekend 25-27 January, and the 81st Annual Jess Sams Game Fishing Tournament will be held the following weekend 1-3 February at Ulladulla. Avid anglers can still enter the Ulladulla tournament until 29 January, see Ulladulla GFC for details.

Locals will have noticed that work on the new Batemans Bay Bridge has recommenced. Work over the next three months on the $274 million project will include: bridge segment delivery and erection commencement; continuation of marine pier construction; completion of concrete work for both abutments; completion of southern approach retaining walls; completion of pavement; and finishing work on the Kings Highway. To find out more visit the Batemans Bay Bridge replacement project on the RMS website.

If you need any assistance with your boating needs, please contact Batemans Bay Marina on 02 4472 9853 or info@batemansbaymarina.com.au and stay connected with us on Facebook @batemansbay.marina and Instagram @batemansbay_marina.

 

Port Macquarie Marina

The mouth of the Hastings River was dredged six months ago, vastly improving access and safety. While 30-plus years ago it was considered by old seamen to be the third worst bar in Australia, ongoing maintenance and better awareness has kept Port Macquarie open for business and has drastically minimised incidents. Boat owners can also find assistance by reviewing Marin Rescue Port Macquarie’s bar crossing web camera (courtesy of coastalwatch.com) or contacting the marina directly for recommendations.

The new Port Marina Slipway has been inundated with a steady supply of new and repeat customers. As boat owners continually have ongoing issues, new owner Morgan Thompson – a qualified shipwright and boatbuilder – and his team have certainly filled a need for a professional full-service slipway in the region. Port Marina Slipway provides a one-stop-shop for boat servicing, including modifications and repair work, in timber and fibreglass boats (all services will be offered once Morgan’s business partner is permanently on site). Call 0456 767 547 or email info@portmarinaslipway.com.au for top quality service and support to ensure the longevity of your vessel.

Hidden Gem (located where Quay Lime used to be) is Port Macquarie Marina’s new culinary drawcard (with gorgeous views). The Italian ‘with a twist’ restaurant offers great food and a friendly atmosphere, including a tappas and cocktail bar with a funky jazz vibe. This new restaurant has proven hugely popular, recently adding breakfast to its lunch and dinner offerings. They are currently planning to open an ice creamery window in conjunction with Port Macquarie’s much-loved Blue Cow Gelato. Drop in or for bookings please call 02 5543 9984.

Port Macquarie Game Fishing Club’s Family Day held at the marina on 15 January, in conjunction with the 36th Golden Lure fishing competition, attracted locals and out-of-towners. Events on the marina grounds included a jumping castle, face painting, mechanical bull, food and beverage outlets, plus a visit from Affinity Helicopters. The marina plans to ramp things up next year, by getting more sponsors onboard to fine-tune the event and potentially develop a festival/mini boat show.

Port Macquarie Marina’s Valentine’s Day event invites families and friends to the old Marler Marine workshop, which has all the hallmarks of a swanky industrial hot spot from Melbourne or Sydney. Guests will dine on succulent food provided by the team at Twotriplefour served with local Cassegrain Wines. For bookings please call 02 6583 1940.

PIf you need any assistance with your boating needs, please contact Port Macquarie Marina on 02 6583 1940 or email manager@portmacquariemarina.com.au and stay connected with us on Facebook @portmacquarie.marina and Instagram @portmacquarie_marina.

BOATING TRENDS

Have your say on the Australian Builders Plate Standard review. The Australian Recreational Boating Safety Committee (ARBSC), representing Federal, State and Territory marine regulators, formed an Australian Builders Plate (ABP) Working Group in 2018. This Group has reviewed and drafted a proposed update of the ABP Standard. The consultation phase is currently underway, and you have the opportunity to have your say on the proposed changes. The consultation is being hosted on Marine Safety Queensland’s (MSQ) website as they are currently the Secretariat of the ARBSC. You can provide feedback until 31 January 2020 via the MSQ website, Australian Builders Plate where you can also find information on the proposed changes and what this may mean for you.

Luxury supplier of motor yachts Sunseeker International has exciting developments underway. With increased demand for larger yachts 30m-plus in length, it is planning to produce its largest-ever superyacht, the 161 Yacht, set to be a game-changer in the 50-metre segment of the market. Sunseeker also plans to expand manufacturing into metal-built yachts, and is looking to launch its first production yacht with hybrid power in 2020. Royal Huisman’s largest yacht ever, the 81-metre three-masted schooner Sea Eagle II, has left the shipyard at the Netherlands and is expected to be ready for delivery to her Taiwanese businessman owner later this year. Read more in this Newcastle Herald story.

Mercury Marine announced a new tiller handle that is compatible with Mercury four stroke outboard engines in the 40 through 115 horsepower range. This advanced tiller is the only one on the market with the capability not only to swap the shift handle to either side of the tiller but also to reverse the throttle grip rotation to the boater’s preference. Read more in Boating Industry.

REGION UPDATE

Eurobodalla Shire Council is asking locals to give the region’s wildlife a hand over the next few months. While normally feeding native animals and birds is discouraged, the combination of drought and fire has depleted food sources for surviving wildlife. For details about what to feed them and what to avoid, please click here. People impacted by bushfires can find out about support at the Eurobodalla Community Recovery page of council’s website.

Level 3 ‘Very High’ Water Restrictions are now in place for residents and visitors in the Eurobodalla region. Boat owners should be aware of the following restrictions and please ensure you follow them:

  • Washing watercraft, trailers or vehicles at boat ramps is banned.

  • Washing boats and trailers is permitted at home on grassed areas using buckets, with a final rinse using a trigger nozzle hose, only between 6-8am or 6-8pm.

  • Boat engine flushing is permitted on grass only. Fish rinsing and cleaning is permitted on cleaning tables with bucketed salt water only.

 

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council area has also been impacted by bushfires, and council has set up comprehensive fire recovery information for affected individuals and businesses. To find out more about support services and recovery advice please visit the Bushfire Recovery Information page of council’s website.

Level 3 ‘Very High’ Water Restrictions are also in place for the Port Macquarie-Hastings region. With the ongoing drought, limited rain falling in the catchment area and low river flows, these water restrictions are now necessary. Boat owners should be aware of the following restrictions and please ensure you follow them:

  • Boat owners are encouraged to clean boats at home, preferably on grass or gravel.

  • Boat washing is permitted with a bucket and hand held hose (for rinsing only) before 9am or after 4pm on allotted days only (even dates for even numbered houses and odd dates for odd numbered houses, except for the 31st of every month).

  • Boat motor flushing can only be done for five minutes.

  • Fish cleaning tables will be monitored so that hoses cannot be attached and please use water sparingly and ensure all taps are securely turned off.

LOCAL SPOTLIGHT

JORGE RICHARDSON moved to Batemans Bay about eight years ago. It was the ocean and his love of fishing that drew him there, and he plans on staying.

A Canberra boy who grew up going out on tinnies fishing in the Snowy Mountains with his dad, and later taking up water skiing, he loves being outdoors.

“The ocean has always amazed me and I wanted to be around water.”

Today Jorge is Marina Assistant at Batemans Bay Marina, where a lot of his work involves customer service.

“It’s about making sure people get the most out of their boating experience, and making it easy for them.

“Some of our boat owners are kind enough to invite me on a day of sailing, which is absolutely fantastic.”

A close-knit community at the Marina, Jorge and his partner Rhiannan were married at the end of the breakwall in 2017. At the time Rhiannan was working at JJ’s at the Marina.

Jorge also works on charter boats for luxury charter fishing business Game On Charters, located at the Marina.

Currently studying a Master 5 in commercial boating, Jorge will soon be able to skipper charters on his own.

“The biggest thing that drives me to the water is fishing,” said Jorge.

“I was out with Game On Charters recently, when I caught a yellow fin tuna that weighed more than 50kg. It took me 2.5 hours to catch it, surrounded by a great bunch of people, it was an amazing day.

“I feel blessed to be part the Marina precinct community, and mix with people who have a passion for fishing and the water, like I do.

“I guess I can say my work and my life is a dream come true.”

 

CORINA WILSON is the new Marina Manager at Port Macquarie Marina. With a love of boats, a curious mind and a business degree, Corina might be just what the doctor ordered.

Having grown up in the small country town of Casino, not far from the coast, Corina was out on the boat with her family every weekend.

“They loved fishing and I loved being on the boat,” she says.

Despite moving to the Gold Coast to further her studies and then becoming a manager in the retail sector, Corina always knew it wasn’t what she wanted.

Without having a job to go to, she packed her bags and landed in Florida in the United States.

After landing her dream job on a superyacht bound for Europe, she never looked back, until now.

“I travelled all throughout the Americas, Europe and the South Pacific. I really enjoyed my time, I saw a lot of the world, and I met fabulous people.”

“But what was meant to be a couple of years turned into almost nine, and I was ready to come home.”

“I was approached about the Marina Manager position at Port Macquarie so I came down to visit and it just felt right. I love the town and the friendly, up-front people. I love the lifestyle here,” she said.

With Corina at the helm, there are lots of ideas being discussed for renewing and revitalising the Marina precinct, to cement its place as one of Australia’s destination marinas.

“There aren’t many marinas in Australia with a beautiful resort next door, a shopping centre across the road and located just a 10-minute walk from the centre of town, with easy access to beautiful tourist spots like Lord Howe Island and the Hastings,” says Corina.

“It’s the kind of destination I’d look for when I was on superyachts, and I think there is an enormous amount of potential to activate the marine precinct and really lift its offerings and profile both nationally and internationally.”

At the moment, Corina is keeping mum about everything while she is in discussions with marina owners and stakeholders. Suffice to say, exciting times are ahead – watch this space.

EVENTS

Batemans Bay

13 February 2020
Tuscan Scene at JJ’s at the Marina. Join with friends for a fun night of painting and sipping wine. In just three hours, you will be on your way to creating your very own masterpiece. No artistic skill is required and all materials are supplied. Event will run 6pm-9pm at JJ’s at the Marina, Batemans Bay Marina.

28 March 2020
Batemans Bay Triathlon Festival. Watch the action 6am-1pm, Tomakin Beach, Batemans Bay.

25-26 April 2020
Annual Anzac Day Regatta. A big event not to be missed, especially for those of you with a competitive streak. For details please contact Batemans Bay Sailing Club.

Port Macquarie

20-31 January 2020
Summer Fun in the Gallery. Masterclasses, virtual reality experiences, exhibitions and talks at the Glasshouse, Corner Clarence and Hay Streets, Port Macquarie.

1 February 2020
Red Hot Summer Tour Port Macquarie. Australian rock legends Hunters & Collectors, James Reyne, The Living End, The Angels, Baby Animals, Killing Heidi and Boom Crash Opera will perform. 12pm-10pm, Westport Park, Park and Buller Streets, Port Macquarie.

14 February 2020
Valentines Day at Port Macquarie Marina. Event for families and friends. Food provided by the team at Twotriplefour served with local Cassegrain Wines. Old Marler Marine workshop, Port Macquarie Marina. For bookings please call

02 6583 1940.

For more events visit www.eurobodalla.com.au/whats-on