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Luxury on the water

WHEN it comes to the ultimate “executive lifestyle” and the toys that go with it, thoughts turn to Monaco, the Mediterranean and luxury cruisers.

Those of us with a spare couple of million could buy a lovely little Italian 54 Pershing or a Bertram fishing boat (if you can call it that) from WA-based luxury boat sales company Southern Aurora. But if you have a couple of hundred million spare, you could get Oceanfast to build you a floating five-star hotel.

Southern Aurora sells the cream of the crop of recreational vessels – Ferretti, Riva, Bertram and Pershing.

So who buys (and frolics in) these floating palaces?

In general terms, most European buyers are either movie stars or royalty. Southern Aurora director Chris O’Neill says that, in Australia, most buyers can be found on the BRW top 500 list.

“Successful business people or syndicates of successful business people – anyone from a mining entrepreneur to the owners of transport companies,” he says.

But money isn’t all it takes to buy one of the beautiful babies on offer from Southern Aurora. There is so much demand that the next two years’ production has been bought already.

Even though the company is based in WA, few of Southern Aurora’s boats end up in the State. However, Mr O’Neill is quick to point out that the factory in Italy has allocated them two vessels, both of which will be available by December. So if you’re quick you can get your hands on a Ferretti 430 at about $1 million, or a second-hand 54 Pershing for less than $2.8 million.

Even though there might not be a lot of buying activity being done by native Western Australians, there certainly is a lot of selling and building going on.

Oceanfast, for instance, is building a 69.5-metre yacht for golfer/ businessman Greg Norman.

Brad Drapper, the general manager of Oceanfast (now a part of the Austal group), says the boats produced in WA start from about $US25 million and can cost anywhere up to $US150 million to build.

“Generally they are for business people. Definitely they are very private people and families … they’re made for recreation,” Mr Drapper says.

“If you’re talking about toys, these are toys filled with other toys.

“There are spa baths and saunas … one client had a water jet lap pool, and some have helipads.

“Generally they have cinemas too. There’s the latest in audio visual equipment and, because many people do business onboard, there’s the latest computers and office equipment.”

Then there’s the fun stuff you can take off and play with. like jet skis, wave riders and scuba equipment.

Oceanfast has been in business for 15 years and has delivered 16 vessels in that time. This year, however, the business has delivered two vessels and has four others currently on the books.

“There has been a lot more activity in this business in the last couple of years than there has been before,” Mr Drapper says.

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