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Our Boating Life

Our Boating Life

By Roselle Tenefrancia

The thought of driving a boat when you have no prior experience may seem too daunting. But all it takes is the commitment to learn, to practice and to enjoy the boating experience.

Ivan Hu had no boating experience prior to purchasing his Crown Line E275 from Clark Marine Group in early 2023. However, since June that year, he has already clocked up more than 100 hours on the boat.



Ivan and his family moved to the Gold Coast in February 2023. A visit in December the year before, seeing the extensive waterways and waterfront living, gave them the motivation to leave Sydney and purchase a home in Benowa along the Nerang River.

“We were told that living along the main river was exciting because of all the water activities,” Ivan shares.

“And that there would be less midges, too,” he adds.

Ivan already had a boat licence he obtained while living in Sydney, but he never really had a boat. He says that he never really thought about owning and driving one until they decided to move.

Ivan moved to Melbourne in 2004 as a student.

He later on established his energy saving solutions business in Victoria, and expanded to Sydney in 2018. When COVID lockdowns were imposed, he was remotely running his business from Sydney. The move to Queensland was made easier as he had already worked out how to run his businesses from home, while enjoying the lifestyle on the Gold Coast.

“My family are much happier being here on the Gold Coast, with its great weather, and the great natural environment,” he says.


“Elsa, my wife, really chose the boat for us,” Ivan states. “Our neighbour from across the river has a boat with a design that Elsa said she really liked. So when we went to the boat show, we were looking for something similar, but smaller. We decided on a good family boat to cruise around the waterways.”

Both Elsa and Ivan drive their boat, and know that the safety and comfort of the children are key to a perfect boating experience. Among the many great features of the boat that they like are some practical features for the family. “The water doesn’t go into the boat when we drive fast, there is a toilet that the family can use, and it is very roomy so that it can seat up to 10 people comfortably.”

Ivan also believes that it is important to really familiarise yourself with the boat and the waterways. “As a novice boater, it is important for me to really practise with the boat in different environments and circumstances.”

Ivan engaged the services of a professional marine trainer, not only to teach him the basics, but to be able to drive in different conditions and diverse scenarios – from docking at different marinas to cruising out in the open ocean. Since having the boat, he has gone up the Coomera River, visited Moreton Island, Victoria Point, Amity Point in North Stradbroke, Tangalooma, and Brisbane River. He has even cruised on the Pacific Ocean in winter up north to North Stradbroke with his trainer. “We had to be very cautious out on the ocean as it can be very dangerous. And while cruising on the Moreton Bay and Southern Moreton Bay waters, both of us were working together to ensure we didn’t hit any sandbanks. I realised the value of local knowledge, so going back there a few times with my trainer was helpful to familiarise myself with the area.”

Ivan was not spared the agony of damages caused by mistakes. He has had a couple of accidents that already cost him a few thousand dollars! “I had a couple of incidents that caused fibreglass damage, and I definitely learned from those.”


“Our family enjoy going out on the boat. Being able to be out there in nature has a calming effect on us,” Ivan shares.

While Ivan loves his boat and the experiences that he has with his family out in the natural surrounds, he does have some learnings from a beginner’s perspective. “For anyone who has no experience in boating, an 8-metre fibreglass boat is very difficult to manoeuvre.

I would definitely advise a complete beginner to start out with a 5 to 6-metre aluminium boat. It will be much easier to manoeuvre and to handle. And if you have to learn from your mistakes, like hitting sandbanks, or worse, hitting another boat, they will not cost you thousands of dollars to fix!”


Living on the Gold Coast was a decision Ivan and his family made because of the beautiful waterways and almost perfect climate. His young children are loving the outdoors and nature. They love the accessibility to the extensive waterways, and the interconnectedness from the rivers and canals to the bay and the ocean.

Ivan observes though that the city would benefit from more water-accessible establishments.

“More public berthing access at cafes, shopping centres, restaurants would be an added value to the Gold Coast boating experience.”

Nevertheless, the lack of such amenities does not diminish the real value of boating for him. “There’s a certain calm that boating brings for me. When I get stressed, I would take the boat out on a cruise even just on the river and canals, and I would be cured of the stress. Boating makes my family happy, so it also makes me happy.”



Published in print January-March 2024