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The Australian International Marine Export Group (AIMEX) has announced the winners of the 2020 Australian Marine Industry Awards.
The resilience of the Australian marine industry was showcased at the 2020 annual Australian Marine Industry Awards hosted at the stunning Southport Yacht Club on the Gold Coast. The COVID-safe event was also streamed live online and celebrated the outstanding achievers in the Australian marine export, superyacht and commercial sectors.
Setting the tone for the night was MC Steven Bradbury OAM, Australian Olympic Champion and motivational speaker, who throughout the evening shone a light on the benefits of positive thinking.
The innovation, skills, expertise and quality of the industry was demonstrated by deserving winners across 12 categories. It was apparent that the industry is thriving and continuing to grow with significant investment by key players into enhancing facilities and developing capability.
Given the event was the first major marine event to go ahead since COVID-19, the industry was out for a good night. The atmosphere was charged with energy and positiveness and the genuine camaraderie that is so evident in the Australian marine industry was on display.
AIMEX CEO, David Good said, “Due to interstate restrictions, the event was livestreamed into the homes of members unable to travel. A satellite event for 22 members in Sydney occurred at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, where all who attended made the most of meeting face to face, many for the first time this year. Everyone watching online thoroughly enjoyed being able to join in, laugh and cheer with the members in the room in Southport.”
Aus Ships Group was awarded Commercial Marine Project/Design or Manufacturer of the Year, sponsored by The Yard Brisbane, for the design and build of 27-metre (90-foot), 170 passenger ferry Yoogera, named after a part of the Brisbane river she operates.
The Commercial Marine Service Provider of the Year Award, sponsored by The Yard Brisbane was won by Spear Green Design. The final commercial award category, sponsored by Rivergate Marina and Shipyard, recognised the most Innovative Commercial Product or Service of the Year and was swept up by BtB Marine for their 750 Ultra Long-Range workboat, focused on emerging diesel outboard technology.
MaryAnne Edwards, consultant for Global Marine Business Advisors and chair judge said, “This year’s award entries were impressive, and it is extremely hard to select winners when every entry is worthy of acknowledgement and accolades. There are so many businesses in the Australian marine industry with the determination to succeed and the skills, expertise, and can-do attitude that have built the world class reputation our industry is renowned for. Business for many has never been better and it is clear the marine industry will play a strong role in Australia’s economic recovery.”
In the Superyacht Awards segment, the Superyacht Industry Service Provider of the Year, sponsored by Hill Robinson Yacht Management, was won by Rivergate Marina and Shipyard, who also sponsored the Superyacht Industry Project/Design or Manufacturer of the Year that Gold Coast City Marina and Shipyard took home.
The inspiring Australian Voyage of the Year, sponsored by Tourism Australia, was awarded to Captain Gavin Bladen of SY Hemisphere, the first foreign flagged vessel to charter in Australian waters since the Special Recreational Vessels Act passed in late 2019. “Hemisphere and her crew are honoured by this evenings accolade, however if the truth be known, we are really only the ‘poster child’ behind years and years of effort and determination by many people to open up Australia to foreign flagged superyachts,” said Bladen.
AIMEX’S finance and banking partner, Bank of Queensland Business were the sponsors of the export awards where Fliteboard claimed the Most Innovative New Export Product or Service of the year for their impressive electric powered hydrofoil surfboard. Emission free, wake free and virtually silent, David Trewern, Fliteboard CEO, expressed his commitment to help accelerate the shift towards more environmentally friendly powered marine craft.
The Junior Exporter of the Year was won by Marine Airflow who specialise in engine room ventilation, while the 2020 Exporter of the Year was taken home by Riviera Australia. Riviera’s exporting heritage spans across 40 years with the first motor yacht shipped to the United States in 1983. Since then, Riviera has exported over 3000 boats around the world.
Rodney Longhurst, chairman of Riviera commented that 2020 has seen Riviera have its largest forward booking on exports in the company’s 40-year history. An impressive achievement given the current business environment, proving that digitalising marketing efforts is essential when travel is unpermitted and international shows are cancelled.
The final segment of the evening recognised the 2020 Apprentice finalists, industry champion nominees, and best marketing strategy. Aqualuma LED Lighting were the winners of the marketing strategy award, sponsored by Benetti Yachts, and further proved that driving marketing efforts into the digital space and creating a focused innovative approach to promote your business during the coronavirus pandemic is essential and pays off.
The inaugural Apprentice of the Year Award, sponsored by TAFE Queensland, was introduced in 2020 to recognise and honour the young marine apprentices for their hard work, dedication and commitment to the Australian marine industry. The Queensland state finalists for this category were Jasmine Willoughby and Robbie Beale from Aus Ships Group, Jarrod Nobrega from Marine Airflow, and Bailey Sivyer from Riviera. The New South Wales state finalists were Billy Tregoning and Leon Duryea from Onboard Engineering, and Beau Paff from Steber International.
Taking home this thrilling new award was Aus Ships Group apprentice, Jasmine Willoughby who as part of her prize, will join the AIMEX team and Australian contingent at the 2021 METSTRADE, the world’s largest marine trade show in Amsterdam to further broaden her experience within the industry.
“This is such a great recognition of Jasmine’s commitment & dedication to her trade apprenticeship. Jasmine’s employment at Aus Ships Group allows exposure to several different trades so she has been able to build on skills and knowledge outside of her dedicated trade qualification and is very much looking forward to attending METSTRADE 2021 with the AIMEX team,” commented Tommy Ericson, owner of Aus Ships Group.
The prestigious Marine Industry Champion Award and final category for the evening, sponsored by the City of Gold Coast, was deservedly presented to Trenton Gay from Gold Coast City Marina and Shipyard. Gay has been involved in shaping the industry in Australia since the 1990’s. The time and financial commitment that the Gay family has contributed to the industry is beyond compare, with more than AU$ 100 million invested into the sector.
The AIMEX team thanks event major partners: City of Gold Coast, Bank of Queensland Business and Benetti Yachts; award presenting partners: TAFE Queensland, Tourism Australia, The Yard Brisbane, Rivergate Marina & Shipyard and Hill Robinson Yacht Management; beverage partners: Scotchmans Hill and Last Man Standing Brewing; styling partner: Boat Style for the beautiful centrepieces; and media partner: Ocean Media.
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