Negotiations continue over tourism boat

TOURISM: Local businessman Jeff Hardyman is hoping to secure a Swim With The Dolphins licence to help make the purchase of a glass bottom boat commercially viable.
TOURISM: Local businessman Jeff Hardyman is hoping to secure a Swim With The Dolphins licence to help make the purchase of a glass bottom boat commercially viable.

Whyalla Tourism Focus Group member Jeff Hardyman is continuing to negotiate a deal which would see a glass bottom boat brought to Whyalla under the business name Whyalla Marine Adventures.

Mr Hardyman is hoping to purchase a 40 seat boat from a private seller in Queensland for a sum of $60,000, with a retail seller offering a price of $90,000 for a similar vessel with 20 seats.

He will be hoping to secure a Swim With The Dolphins licence from the federal government to make the purchase financially sound.

“The boat has never been off of the front burner but there have been delays and funding issues which have impacted on how soon that boat can start up here,” Mr Hardyman said.

“It doesn’t make any sense commercially for me to buy the boat for that amount and then only use it three times a year to view Giant Cuttlefish.

“A Swim With The Dolphins licence would allow people to actually get in the water with these mammals without touching them. I would be the only one in the Spencer Gulf with that licence.”

Part B of Mr Hardyman’s plan involves getting approval for the vessel to go within the exclusion zone around Liberty OneSteel.

“I would be able to take tourists and locals for a tour of that area via the vessel. They could take photos of the iron ore loader while it’s at work,” he said.

“These two options would give me summer business, they are both critical to me going further forward with this project. Unfortunately neither of these have gone any further.”

Mr Hardyman said everyone involved with the process of purchasing the boat had been very supportive of the idea from the beginning, including Primary Industries and Regions South Australia (PIRSA).