This month marks 10 years since Coral Sea Marina Resort’s owner, Paul Darrouzet’s, acquisition of the Abell Point Marina. The past decade has seen a total transformation from a tired, run-down marina in receivership into Queensland’s first 5 Gold Anchor Platinum Marina, a world-class destination and the beating heart of the Whitsundays.
With the acquisition, Darrouzet’s vision was clear – to create a better place for people to visit, live and work, to develop a stronger economy for the Whitsundays with quality tourism products and experiences, to protect the natural assets surrounding marina and to make meaningful contributions to the community. Today, that vision has been realized, through investment, dedication and commitment.
Within the first eighteen months of ownership, 21,000 square metres of concrete were poured, a new arrival plaza was created, buildings were demolished, new ones erected and the marina dredged to allow access for larger vessels. This was only the beginning.
“The aim throughout the development process has always been to create an entry statement for Airlie Beach, a premium destination for locals, visitors, and tourists and the ‘Monaco of the South Pacific’ for superyachts.” explains marina owner, Paul Darrouzet.
“Undoubtedly a highlight of the decade was the acquisition of neighboring Coral Sea Resort and the subsequent merger and rebranding of these two Airlie Beach icons to become Coral Sea Marina Resort.”
Fast-forward to 2023 and despite natural disasters, pandemics and economic downturns, Coral Sea Marina has faced each challenge with a focus on continuous improvement and, as such, has proudly become Australia’s most awarded marina.
From being awarded Australian Marina of the Year (2017/18, 2019/20, Hall of Fame 2021) to winning gold at the Queensland Tourism Awards (2017), the accolades and accreditations over the last decade are many.
In 2016, Coral Sea Marina became the first marina in Australia to be awarded 5 Gold Anchor Marina accreditation through the Marina Industry Association. In 2019, the marina was the first in Queensland to accredit under the same scheme at Platinum level and has successfully maintained that accreditation to today.
Suzanne Davies, CEO, Marina Industry Association remarks “On behalf of the Marina Industries Association, congratulations to Paul Darrouzet and his CSM team, led by CEO Kate Purdie on what they have achieved over the last ten years. As one of only three 5 Gold Anchor Platinum Marinas in the country and one of the first to accredit as Superyacht Ready, CSM leaves no stone unturned as it strives to retain its position as one of the country’s most prestigious and well-managed marinas.
This isn’t just a marina for boat owners, the marina’s outreach and support of philanthropic causes shows that it’s also a crucial part of the local community, and its heavy conservational investments demonstrate it is a champion for the environment.”
In 2022, the marina was also named Best Superyacht Marina in the international ACREW Superyacht Business Awards and in 2017 and 2021 was awarded Superyacht Industry Service Provider of the Year, by AIMEX (Australian International Marine Export Group).
In the midst of these accolades, the marina has become an industry leader that passionately advocates for both the boating community and the environment. Coral Sea Marina successfully lobbied government for financial relief for its commercial tourism operators in the wake of the pandemic, it become a community-focused recreation hub by bringing major events to the region and as a certified Clean Marina Level III/ Fish Friendly Marina it maintains a strong focus on protecting the marine environment and the Great Barrier Reef.
A dedicated and loyal marina team, many of whom have been with the business for over 10 years, is led by experienced CEO, Kate Purdie.
Ms Purdie explains, “A significant contributing factor to the success of the marina is our people. The marina team is focused on continuous improvement which enables us to provide transformational guest experiences in Australia’s most iconic boating destination.”
“The 10-year anniversary celebrations are a chance for us to recognize Paul’s achievements but also to acknowledge the achievements of the entire team.”
To mark the milestone, the Coral Sea Marina team were joined by industry colleagues, marina guests, marina operators and tenants, for sunset cocktails at the newly renovated Coral Sea Resort.
With the next decade set to be as exciting as the last, one constant shall remain – the stunning view of the world-class Coral Sea Marina Resort in the foreground with the Whitsunday islands on the horizon.