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Gold Coast City Marina: New Sheds and Busy Yard

Gold Coast City Marina: New Sheds and Busy Yard

In January 2020, Gold Coast City Marina and Shipyard (GCCM) entered its 20th year of operation. With the benefit of both time and experience — the team estimates they have lifted over 100,000 boats in that time — the facility has seen every conceivable type of boat and witnessed numerous boating trends, the latest of which is the renaissance in wooden boats and a return to traditional boat-building methods.

Walking around Gold Coast City Marina’s hardstand, you would be forgiven for not realising there was a global pandemic going on. The yard has been busy with boats and yachts being lifted onto the hardstand, sheds, and new undercover work bays, making the best of GCCM’s new antifoul packages. Meanwhile, construction is ongoing as the facility continues its expansion.


GCCM has long been a supporter of the game boat community, attending tournaments and sponsoring the Gold Coast Game Fishing Club. In fact, GCCM’s chairman, Pat Gay, was recently inducted in the International Game Fishing Association Hall of Fame for his involvement in the sport.

So, after many discussions with captains and owners, GCCM committed to build nine undercover work bays specifically for this group but available to all. With a 17-metre clearance, these undercover work bays have natural ventilation and protection from the elements. Each work bay is an ideal place for any boat to undertake work in any weather. Adjacent to these bays is a fully enclosed dedicated sandblast and paint booth.

Construction began in early 2020 and finished by June. Since then, they have been full of boats of all shapes and sizes getting ready for the cruising season. When you consider it is just an extra $1 per foot per day to be in the undercover work bays than on the hardstand, it is not hard to see why they have been so popular.

Among all this activity, one GCCM tenant celebrated a pretty amazing milestone that more than deserves a mention. It was under the new covered hardstand that Watson Marine Engineering quietly celebrated.

MAJOR MILESTONE: 10,000 boats and counting

Watson Marine Engineering is one of the foundation tenants of GCCM. Like GCCM, they are celebrating 20 years of operations, yet their heritage stretches back to 1964 when founder, Greg Watson, began working on the running gear of south-east Queensland boaties.

When GCCM was built, Greg took the opportunity to form Watson Marine Engineering and move into the iconic marina and shipyard. It seemed a very appropriate time to start counting the number of boats on which his team worked.

And so started the tally. Then, in June 2020, the Watson team, now including multiple generations of Watsons, completed their 10,000th boat; that is roughly 10 boats a week or 500 boats a year. An impressive milestone by anyone’s measure and certainly expertise not easily replicated.

As it happened, the 10,000th boat was a long-standing customer of GCCM and Watson Marine Engineering. This 65-foot Hatteras game boat has been returning to GCCM and Watson each year for its annual maintenance before heading north for the game fishing season. It was also the boat that just happened to be the first boat to make the most of the undercover work bays.

“It was a pretty big but standard job. The game boat is in AMSA survey, and
it was time for its five-year survey yard period. We removed the shafts and propellers and took them to our workshop for servicing and inspection before reinstalling them back onto the vessel. Not many knew it was our 10,000th boat but it was still pretty special,” said patriarch, Greg.

Watson Marine Engineering specialise in running gear. Their workshop at GCCM is kitted out with every conceivable piece of equipment to inspect or repair shafts and propellers. Like GCCM, they are celebrating their 20th anniversary in the facility by investing in their equipment.

“Very shortly we will take delivery of $150,000 worth of new equipment. It should last us the next 20 years,” continued Greg.

It may seem like an out-of-reach expertise for most boat owners, but it is not, as Watson’s is offering complimentary checks of running gear as part of GCCM’s new boat maintenance package.

SPECIAL ALL-INCLUSIVE PACKAGE: Hassle-free boat maintenance

GCCM has always made every effort to make boat maintenance as simple and hassle-free as possible for the owner. After all, no one buys a boat to have it on a hardstand. Indeed, their mantra is ‘On Time. On Budget. On Water.” The latest incarnation of this is their all-inclusive boat maintenance package.

Developed during COVID-19, it was a quick and easy way boat owners could get their annual antifoul yard period completed in a contact-free way. The package included lifting, waterblasting, hardstanding, antifoul preparation and application, washdown, and relaunch for boats up to 55-feet, for just $69 per foot.

Unsurprisingly, it proved popular as boat owners were looking for certainty and simplicity around their boat’s maintenance at a very uncertain time. So, GCCM is extending it, and Watson is onboard now offering a free check of running gear while the boat is getting antifouled. Yet, the price has not changed; it is still $69 per foot.

“We spend a lot of time talking with our customers and we know they want a simple, professional solution to their boat’s maintenance. They do not want to run around looking for quotes, but instead need someone they trust to get the work done. As a direct response, we created the All-Inclusive Boat Maintenance package, and you should expect to see more of this from us in the future,” explained Luke McCaul, General Manager of Customer Experience and Facilities at GCCM.

Now that is a concept worth keeping your eyes on. For more information on the packages available at GCCM or their new undercover work bays, contact the team on (0)7 5502 5888 or email

Published in the August – November 2020 print edition.