Latest News



No matter what type of vessel, large or small, embarking on a refit is inevitably a challenge. There are many different answers when it comes to determining what makes or breaks the experience. One thing for certain though; communication is king. Planning may seem like the single most important aspect, but any great plan will fall apart completely if it lacks the proper communication.

“[A refit] can’t be described as perfect,” says Kevin Altera, General Manager of Operations and Business Development at Gold Coast City Marina & Shipyard (GCCM). “It’s about managing expectations and keeping the job on track, and it all comes down to communication.”

With thirty years of senior management experience in the marine industry and global experience in superyacht construction and project management, Altera has learned first-hand what keeps a refit from going ‘pear-shaped.’

“Reactive management will never work,” says Altera. “You need to be proactive all the time.”

One of the first steps in creating a proactive refit plan is establishing the scope of works. Choosing a shipyard and trades which will work together and fully grasp the project as a whole to keep it all running smoothly.

With over 90 individual marine business on site, gathering quotes for a wide range of works is extremely easy to do at GCCM. Superyachts, sailing, cruising and game fishing vessels all offer their own challenges when it comes to a refit. GCCM has mitigated all of them with an unrivalled array of leading contractors representing every conceivable marine trade and service.

Having all the trades in one area is massively important to the refit process but the facility itself is also key in how efficiently the project moves forward. The GCCM facility is designed to make the refit process as simple and smooth as possible. The facilities and capabilities are unrivalled with a 300 and 50 tonne travelift, 19-metre clear height undercover work bays, refit sheds for yachts up to 50-metres, a dedicated keel pit and berthing for yachts up to 75-metres allowing for in-water work.

Hardstand works are typically the most cost-effective way to complete a wide range of works but it leaves your vessel exposed to the elements, and Mother Nature can derail even the most perfect timeline in a split second. The new undercover hardstand at GCCM diminishes the risk of weather delays and helps keep your project on track. The 19-metre-high shed is perfectly designed for game fishing vessels with tall towers, sailing yachts with large masts, and so much more. Anything that may need to be done on a hardstand can be done much more efficiently undercover.

Sailing vessels, feel at home with GCCM’s keel pit making hardstand works easier and safer. Not to mention the numerous trades tailored to specific vessels. Graham (Scooter) Eaton and Australian Marine Enterprises (AME) specialize in a large range of refits but are known for their expertise in sailing vessels. Steve Jackson from Sail Inc is one of Australia’s most experienced sail makers and works side by side with master rigger Jason Cowling from JCMS. Each business onsite at GCCM is a master of their craft and stands by their work meaning you will always be in good hands anywhere in the shipyard.

Returning GCCM customers, Colin and Penny have project managed two of their own refits. Last year their refit spanned over 5 months involving a great number of trades and most recently, Aroha, with a much smaller refit only taking three weeks.

“It’s like coming home here for us,” said Colin. “That’s why we come back. We’ve had really good experiences.”

Both Colin and Penny cannot stress enough the importance of lining up the trades prior to arriving at the shipyard. Especially now with the current pandemic affecting order times and the general increase in demand for the marine trades. “You need to have all your ducks in a row,” said Colin.

So, when planning out any vessels refit, communicate the scope of work properly from the very start and have a realistic timeline. Sourcing a facility that can accommodate your vessel, provide a number of reliable marine trades, and offer assistance in project management if needed, should be held high above the rest. GCCM and their award winning facility are sure to keep your refit on track and the grey hairs at bay.


  • Determine the scope of works, budget, and timeline in advance
  • Determine if the project requires a professional Project Manager or can be self managed
  • Determine your contingency for time and budget: surprises will come up and being prepared in budget and time frame will ease a significant amount of stress
  • Book your trades prior to booking the shipyard
  • Order parts in advance so they arrive on time
  • Develop a running and open dialogue with everyone involved.
  • Have trades come and look over the vessel prior to haul out if possible
  • Choose a shipyard that either has all the trades in one place OR a shipyard that is easily accessible for everyone involved in the refit.

Discover more about GCCM at

Published in print October-December 2021