The Rich and Unseen: Peek into the Exclusivity of Australian Superyachts

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The sales of superyachts, symbols of power and luxury, are increasing. Australia aims to attract more of these vessels and their elite customers. What information is available about this industry?

In Australia, a pleasurecraft longer than 24 metres is considered a superyacht, while internationally, it starts at 30 metres. Victoria Harbour in Melbourne was recently upgraded to accommodate superyachts up to 67 metres long, but this size is fairly moderate for the very wealthy.

Superyachts are docked at Melbourne City Marina from the footpath next to the water. They gently rocked back and forth, and their shiny and smooth exteriors reflected the calm waters below. This is as close as we will ever get to experiencing a superyacht for most people.

Superyachts are luxurious vessels that represent wealth and extravagance. They are like mobile six-star hotels offering various amenities, such as nail parlours, gyms, helipads, boardrooms, marble bathrooms, priceless artworks, and “toys” like jet skis and submarines with high values.

According to a recent memoir by Brendan O’Shannassy, a longstanding Australian seafarer and superyacht captain, superyachts represent the ultimate symbol of wealth, surpassing even the potential future availability of commercial space travel.

“The cost of a superyacht is no longer an indication of the wealth of its owner,” he wrote. “It is now seen as an investment in business, opportunity and lifestyle.”

However, there has been little public scrutiny of the elite industry, even though public funds are being used to create and improve infrastructure only accessible to a select few.

The industry is relatively small but growing. Despite this, only a little has been revealed about the owners and buyers of superyachts, usually wealthy individuals or corporations from various countries worldwide. This secrecy forced experts to rely on estimates when trying to gauge the extent of the industry in Australia.

“We know the industry is worth a lot of money, but no one knows how much,” said O’Shannassy.

This needs for more transparency is concerning, considering the number of public funds invested in infrastructure for superyachts and their environmental impact.

The International Maritime Organisation has imposed regulations on the industry, but these are mainly focused on air pollution and fuel consumption. Despite this, there is still a risk of sewage, oil and plastic pollution from superyachts going unnoticed by authorities due to their secretive nature.

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