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Change forecast

Embracing change and preparing for it was the theme of the Superyacht Australia annual conference, ASMEX 2023.

26 May 2023


The one-day ASMEX 2023 Conference delivered a strong line-up of speakers with key messages for industry. Held at the InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort on the Gold Coast, Queensland, the event was a resounding success, showcasing the industry’s latest advancements and addressing key topics.

The conference opened with Peter Munckton, Chief Economist, Bank of Queensland, providing an energic summary on ‘The Economic and Financial Market Landscape’ for Australia. Munckton delivered valuable insights on a line-up of economic indicators from current industry buoyancy, household debt, rate hikes, the latest federal budget outlook to why government spending is becoming a bigger part of the economy and the positives of population growth.

Keynote Speaker Mohammed Hussein Alshaali, Chairman, Gulf Craft, shared his personal story with delegates on the development and global expansion of Gulf Craft over the last forty plus years. He also spoke of their latest projects including the new production expansion in The Maldives and their largest project – creating the world’s largest composite production superyacht – the Majesty 175.


With five brands – two dedicated to yachts – Majesty and Nomad – Gulf Craft has produced thousands of boats to date and are well known on the global stage for innovation in yacht and boat building having won several international awards for their contribution to industry.

Chairman Alshaali said “I am deeply honoured to be a Keynote Speaker at ASMEX 2023 and would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Superyacht Australia for extending this prestigious invitation.

“It is a tremendous privilege to have the opportunity to share Gulf Craft’s remarkable journey and success, as well as shed light on the flourishing prospects for the yachting industry in Australia.

“Together, we have witnessed tremendous growth and have opened new horizons for yachting enthusiasts. I look forward to emphasising the potential for further expansion and the bright future that lies ahead. Thank you for this remarkable platform to inspire and connect with fellow industry leaders and enthusiasts alike.”

The conference also featured an insightful panel discussion on “The Case for Lithium Battery Power,” led by industry members Matt Ruwald, Director, Allmarine Power Solutions; Kyle Davison, Manufacturing Director, Riviera; Craig Elliott, Senior Advisor, Vessel Standards, Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA); and Steve Connolly, Director, Nautical Risk Solutions.

Detailed explanations from panellists covered the different types and life spans of batteries underscoring the importance of battery connection, battery chemistry and battery management systems. The discussion moved onto the different types of lithium-ion batteries with a strong emphasis on the batteries that should be used in the marine industry.

Delegates appreciated the candidness and the detail from the presenters on lithium batteries as well as hearing from AMSA so they could better understand the current and future direction of requirements for vessel standards regarding marine battery use in Australia.

Gavin Rooney, Director of Sales and Marketing, Volvo Penta Oceania, addressed the audience on “The Transformation Towards Net-Zero: The Journey Begins on the Great Barrier Reef.”

Rooney presented on the technical challenges associated with achieving operational requirements for eco-friendly tours on the Great Barrier Reef emphasising that different marine operators will require different energy solutions given the varying distances they need to travel and the expected travel times.

Perry Jones and Taryn Agius, Cairns Premier Reef and Island Tour complemented the panel discussion, highlighting the obvious challenges in their pilot project partnership with Volvo Penta Oceania and their personal passion to develop a zero-emission tourism vessel on the Great Barrier Reef, encouraging other businesses to prepare for this change and to get started on the path of transformation.

Joscelyn O’Keefe, Head of Marketing & Business Development, Coral Sea Marina said “The session on lithium batteries was particularly interesting with some great takeaways which I can share with both our marina team and our guests.

“Living and working on the Great Barrier Reef, I also found the panel session with Cairns Premier Reef & Island Tours and Volvo about their pilot project with the hybrid boat really encouraging – I will be following the project’s progress closely and hopefully be able to share some learnings with our marina operators in the future.”

Erin Ackor, President, International Superyacht Society (ISS) and Partner at Moore & Co., P.A. in Miami, Florida, presented on the International Superyacht Society outlining their committee structure, projects and activities aimed at expanding international membership and also to strengthen their position as the single industry voice for key issues affecting the global yachting marketplace.

Founded in 1989, their international footprint now covers over 1200 members from 600 companies spanning over 50 countries.  In 1990, their prestigious International Superyacht Society’s Design and Leadership Awards were created to call attention to the outstanding achievements in the design and construction of large yachts. Ackor also spoke on some of the key issues facing the US marketplace.

Ackor said “I was honoured to speak at the ASMEX 2023 Conference on behalf of the International Superyacht Society.

“The ASMEX team put on a world class event featuring cutting edge topics relevant to the superyacht industry and an eye-opening tour of some of Gold Coast’s top yachting refit, service and manufacturing centres. But the best part was the warm and friendly Australian welcome!”

David Good, CEO, Superyacht Australia presented the latest numbers on foreign superyachts vessels visiting Australian waters in 2022, providing insights into future growth trends and opportunities in the Asia Pacific region. Post the Covid-era, the superyacht industry should see larger vessels return to the Asia Pacific region; an increase in demand for superyacht crew which bodes well for young Australians joining the industry; and the planning for the increase in superyacht visitations in the lead up to the Brisbane Olympics in 2032.

The conference concluded on an exciting and emotional note with Captain Michael Gooding’s presentation on the discovery of the final resting place of Montevideo Maru off the coast of the Philippines. The expedition, led by the not-for-profit Silentworld Foundation and with deep-sea specialists, Fugro, they unveiled the extraordinary find.

To demonstrate why this discovery is so important, Gooding shared some of the heart felt communications he had received from families who had lost loved ones.  At the conclusion of the session, delegates were asked to stand as ‘The Ode’ was read out loud.

Superyacht Australia would like to thank all the speakers for their input and support for ASMEX 2023. We would also like to thank the following Major Partners, Conference Partners, Award Presenting Partners and Supporting Sponsors and we acknowledge their generous support which has ensured the success of this year’s event:

Major Partners: City of Gold Coast, Queensland Government, Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show

Conference Partners:  Tourism Western Australia, Port Denarau Marina, Pantaenius, Echo Yachts, Marina Mirage Marina, Benetti

Supporting Sponsors: Aqualuma LED Lighting, Boat Style, Pyrotek, Quality Marine Clothing, Tyrrell’s Wine

Award Presenting Partners: BOQ Business, Interferry, Rivergate Marina & Shipyard, Steber International, Sydney City Marine, TAFE Queensland



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