PORT OF SALE HERITAGE CRUISES
Premier Tourist Attraction operating out of the Port of Sale
For Sale As A Going Concern.
PORT OF SALE HERITAGE CRUISES SALE INFORMATION
During my time as the founding chair of Destination Gippsland 2005 (Prior to its restructure in 2007) I came to the view that a tourist attraction based around the history of European settlement, its impact on the Guniakurnai and that the articulation of this history coupled with the ambience of the natural environment of the surrounding wetland, rivers and lakes could be the basis for a viable water-based tourist attraction. I had a vast amount of information accumulated as a result of being involved in the research, planning and implementation of many regional tourist projects such as The Grand Strzelecki Track, Gippsland Plains Rail Trail, Bataluk Cultural Trail, River Heritage and Wetlands Trail and the Seaspray Surf Club Redevelopment this accumulated knowledge, backed up by the well-researched data base could be used for marketing and the development of background commentary for a water based tour initially from the Port of Sale to the Swing Bridge.
The search for a suitable boat started in 2011 and the opportunity to develop this proposition arose in May 2013 on my purchase of “EMV Rubeena MB7” from Lake Tyers. The Rubeena had been in continuous survey since 4th April 1912 it was original steam (steam whistle still used) converted to petrol 1917, diesel 1954 and electric 1993. Port of Sale Heritage Cruises was then formed the directors / shareholders being myself and eldest daughter Rachel. The boat compliments the setting in which we operate. Namely from the Port of Sale to the Heritage listed Swing Bridge via Sale Navigation Canal (2.6km), Thomson and Latrobe Rivers. This waterway is a key element in the story of the GunaiKurnai and early European settlement of Gippsland, evidence by the canoe and scar trees that abut the river and the site of the where first boat was built on the Gippsland Lakes at McArdle’s Gap in 1854.
The natural beauty of this waterway has been enhanced by the adjacent RAMSAR designated Sale Common and Heart Morass, these wetlands providing habitat for over 150 species of birds and native animals such a Koalas, swamp wallabies and the Eastern water dragons. The challenge was to develop a tourism business from scratch in a location that was not a high priority as a tourist destination
BUSINESS & MARKETING PLANS
A comprehensive business and marketing plan was prepared identifying our target markets and expectations. The strategy was aimed at establishing the brand name by a distinctive logo, website (upgraded in 2021), Facebook page, signage, tickets, van wrap, brochures, print, TV and radio advertising. The development of a strong community presence by providing tickets as prizes for community groups, running the annual “Rotary Race the Rubeena” 300+ runners trying to beat the boat over 5km raising $30,000 to date. We operate a 10am and 2pm cruise of up to 2hours duration 7 days per week during peak period 5 days per week other times except for period of annual maintenance. On the 1st September 2020 to maintain awareness during lockdown we launched a Virtual Tour from the Port of Sale to Lake Wellington (40 comments, 28 shares 1.8k views) Performance is reviewed having regard to customers feedback via our visitor book which has, more than 9,500 entries from our 33,858 passengers to date this allows us to define markets and customer experience against expectations, we also review Social Media platforms such a Trip Advisor and Google all which indicate that our customers enjoy the experience. The boat layout creates an intimacy with our customers that enhances the unique experience.
MARKET ESTIMATES & CRUISE INFO
Starting from a low base in our 1st calendar year of 2,561 to 4,983 in 2019 on target to achieve our market estimate of 8,000 year until covid struck. In 2020 3,038, 2021 4,721 2022 3,247 reflecting not only a slow build up from the impact of covid but floods and significant weed growth that occurred during that period reducing the number of trips undertaken note up to then we have never cancelled due to inclement weather or flooding. We are registered for 42 passengers a number but the comfortable number is 30 to 35 dependent on mix of adults and children. We advertise that we do a 10am and 2pm cruise Wednesday to Sunday (Increase to seven days if demand is there) and Charters on request. At peak periods we complete additional trips at 12noon and 4pm to keep up with demand. During daylight saving we have a sunset cruise at 6pm for groups of 10 or more. The most trips undertaken in a day has been 5, thus we have a significant opportunity to increase yield (year 1 average was 3.5 persons 2019 was 6.5 persons). We close for a month to do annual out of water maintenance and required surveys. The realistic maximum number is of the order of 8,000 passengers annually.
REASON FOR SALE
I will be 82 years old in November this year and planning to take a more relaxed approach to life and do not have the stamina to take the business further. Our registration allows for a coxswain only for 20 passenger and further crewman is required above that number i.e. total 2 person for some years now we have carried two crew at all times, this allows me to train crew that can learn not only the commentary but the basics of running an electric boat, we have now trained two coxswain who are licensed, and currently training two more crew members. Currently staff are semi-retired people who do not want to work full time but enjoy showcasing the waterway.
SUMMARY OF INFORMATION
Date Built: 1910/11 Balmain
1st Certificate of survey: 4th April 1912 Lakes Entrance (David Coates)
Current Certificate of Survey: 3rd March 2028
Hull: New Zealand Kauri Pine
Design: Pittwater Ferry (Fantail Launch)
Power: Lynch DC Electric Motor Serial No LEM 200-127, 8.5KW
Fuel: 48volt /480 Amp Hours system (24-2v wet cell batteries)
Charger Main TC Charger TITAN -48-25
Propeller Diam16 inch Pitch 14 inch weedless prop
4 No. 12 Volt Batteries plus chargers
V2 Operational and No1 Bilge pump
V2 No 2 Bilge pump
V3 Compressor to operate restore steam whistle.
V4 Cooling unit for electric motor.
Brief for upgrade of website
Monthly AM and PM cruise numbers
Basis of Sale Walk in Walk out
Includes all equipment on board
2018 Renault Traffic Van 1QD9RK Wrapped in photos of Rubeena
Lynch AC Motor new and 1 condition lynch motor
Original 18inch propeller 12inchpitch
Wellington Shire Council granted a 10 year lease to 1st January 2024 annual payment waived in lieu of expenditure of $46,828 by POSHC cruises in extending jetty and other improvements WSC have indicated that they are prepared to extend this arrangement for 21 years.