A new boating operator has landed on the lower Yarra River at the Banana Alley berth, offering customers a unique way of travelling on our river.
Having won a 10-year overnight berthing license from Parks Victoria in July, GoBoat Melbourne has since relocated its business from Docklands to Banana Alley just in time for the warmer months.
Originating from Copenhagen, Denmark, the electric European-style boats provide groups of up to eight people with the opportunity to hire a boat for up to three hours and navigate their own experience on the Yarra.
Because the boats are set to speeds of under four knots, a designated driver can operate a GoBoat without a boating license. BYO food and drink is also encouraged, however, there are strict limits on alcohol.
With all boats made from recycled plastic bottles and running on very quiet electric motors, they’re also good for the environment.
Having first established its first Australian location on Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra in 2017, GoBoat Melbourne co-owners Oliver Swan and Andrew Ferguson said they had seen a great opportunity to bring the experience to Melbourne.
“I had always been in the entertainment and experience kind of game so I made contact with Nick from Canberra, who is the owner of GoBoat Australia, and we got chatting about the possibility of Melbourne,” Oliver said.
“In August 2018, we made enquiries with Melbourne City Council and spoke to a lot of the people in the industry down here and found out about the Parks Victoria tender process, but when we spoke to the council we were originally offered the spots down in Docklands.”
“We submitted our tender [to Parks Victoria] on February 1 and then we were notified that we’d be offered Banana Alley and two berths up the river, which is a fantastic opportunity for GoBoat.”
With a fleet of 10 boats, the addition of GoBoat Melbourne to the lower Yarra represents an exciting prospect for the local business community and provides a new and different experience to what is currently on offer on the river.
He added that its new position at Banana Alley was advantageous for its customers as it was directly linked to the CBD and Southbank and provided access to what he considered to be the best part of the Yarra.
And by encouraging a social experience where “the customer could make it their own”, he said the model was proving successful for bringing new demographics to the river.
“One of the most amazing things that has come out of this is that over 50 per cent of our passengers are women and over 75 per cent of customers that book are female and we believe it’s a new demographic to the river and that’s really good.”