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Pontoon launch proud moment for boat builders

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Craig, Steve, Ruan, Gary and Paul from Oceaneer Marine services with Brett Lakey.

The launch of the Lady Musgrave HQ was a special moment for a team of Burnett Heads boat builders who spent 18 months on the once-in-a-lifetime project.

The team from Oceaneer Marine Services attended the official opening this week to see the creation afloat on the reef.

The luxury live-aboard pontoon was the brainchild of Lady Musgrave Experience Director Brett Lakey.

Oceaneer Marine Services director Steve Foster said seeing the 35-meter pontoon anchored in the Lady Musgrave Island lagoon and being enjoyed by tourists was a fantastic feeling.

“It makes me proud just not for myself, but our entire team that was involved in the whole project,” Steve said.

“When you start from an empty workshop with just flat pieces of aluminium… you don't stand back and see it, until a day like today when you can actually see it as a complete operation with happy tourists.”

Steve said up to 10 people worked on the pontoon at a time.

“We have a really good crew of local people and local businesses which help support as well.”

Pontoon a highlight for local boat builders

boat builders
Ruan Botha from Oceaneer Marine Services enjoying the pontoon.

The three-level pontoon features an underwater observatory, the ability to cater for up to 350 day visitors, and overnight accommodation for up to 36 people.

Steve said being engaged to build the multi-million-dollar snorkelling and diving attraction was a highlight for the business.

“It was great that a local operator believed in local businesses to make his dream come true and put Bundaberg on the map not only for tourism, but also to be able to take on these bigger projects and prove that we can do it in the local area.”

Oceaneer Marine Services started as a mobile business in 2014 when Steve and co-director David Kirke combined their individual 30 years plus experience in large scale boat building projects.

“We do a lot of international work as far away as the Seychelles, Singapore, and Papua New Guinea, but we had the opportunity to start it here in Bundaberg three years ago and now this is our home base.”

Next on the project list is a new glass bottom boat for Lady Musgrave Experience and other builds in Queensland.

“We have a 30-meter ferry at work now that we're turning into a luxury houseboat.

“It's an ex-Sydney ferry, so we've turned that into a luxury houseboat for the Whitsundays, plus all the other work that we do supporting Sea Link and other big businesses up and down the coast.”

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