Funds in the sun

Funds in the sun

Local councils, boating clubs and community groups are being invited to apply for up to $5 million in funds for new boating infrastructure projects under the Roads and Maritime Services' Better Boating Program. Now in its fifth year, the program matches dollar-for-dollar the financial contribution made by organisations towards new boating amenities in the state. Previous projects include boat ramps, public wharves, public pontoon facilities, dinghy storage and sewage pump-out facilities. Applications close on August 2. See /infra_grants.html.

Show business

After boat shows at Sanctuary Cove and Melbourne, boat lovers are gearing up for the Sydney International Boat Show at Darling Harbour on August 1-5. It's the broad view of many in the marine industry that Sydney is the place to be these days. As such, motor yacht marques, yacht companies, trailer-boat builders and importers have been keeping their powder dry for the impending Sydney boating showcase. Just maybe the reports of the death of conspicuous consumption have been greatly exaggerated? The new boats in town span everything from $2 million Riviera and Maritimo cruisers to British-made Princess motor yachts, French yachts and some cool Euro and American runabouts. See

Visitors down

Reduced from a five-day to four-day event, last week's Melbourne Boat Show experienced a 20 per cent decline in visitors. While not everyone was digging deep, there were some terrific new rigs to tempt buyers. The event showcased Victorian boat building at its best. Bar Crusher brought bigger hard-top, plate-alloy fishing boats, Caribbean launched a Cavalier MKII cabin boat and Haines Hunter unveiled a limited-edition fishing flagship. However, Whittley claimed the biggest trailer boat of the show with a 28-foot titan.

Suzuki saves backs

While touring the Melbourne Boat Show, Suzuki's new 15- and 20-horsepower engines jumped out. The most popular outboards of their size, the new Suzuki portables now boast power tilt to answer the call of retirees with dodgy backs. Ironically, the outboards also feature a very clever mechanical fuel-injection system, so you need an on-board battery to do the heavy lifting and trimming, if not the fuel injecting. Still, the technology is to be embraced for taking the portable outboard to new heights of convenience.

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