From jetties to marinas

From jetties to marinas

Building one jetty for a boat lover in Paynesville is a long way from building a full marina in the Whitsunday Islands, but that’s exactly what a local Bairnsdale company is doing.

Like most good stories, it started with saying yes first, and then working out the ‘how’ details afterwards, involving a discussion over a beer that turned into a fledgling company with four directors.

Two years later, Carter Marine Group is manufacturing and installing floating pontoons, jetties and marine infrastructure Australia wide. Jon’s expertise in specialised building is complemented by the other directors’ experience in contractual obligations and construction management.

“I’d been trying to buy a jetty construction business for years,” Jon Carter said.

“Residential construction had changed so much.

“So we simplified. Now we just work with wood, steel, concrete and aluminium.

“And we do that on the water.” Jon has had a strong affiliation with the water his whole life and combining his love of building with that has been positive.

“We’ve been able to create a competitive company on the national market within two years which is good,” Jon said.

“We started with four employees, which is still our core, but we also involve a lot of contractors from Gippsland.

“We have five on Airlie Beach at the moment. We’re exporting good product and expertise from Gippsland.”

Using the same attitude that if you can’t buy it from somewhere you make your own, Carter Marine Group recently completed a project at the Port of Sale, demolishing, designing, manufacturing and installing the boat ramp and floating pontoon. But they didn’t have a construction barge.  

So the company built one, along with a large hydraulic hammer and set to work establishing a wall of sheet piling then draining the water from around the infrastructure in order to complete the work.

Also on the project list is a floating office to be built in Victoria Harbour for a Melbourne CBD company.

Though Jon admits the line of work is not without hurdles along the way, the company has now built hundreds of projects, including four local pontoons with gangways at Paynesville right through to multi million dollar projects like the one at South Molle Island.

Up at the Whitsundays, the company has a precast concrete depot at Jubilee Pocket and is using a barge to construct a 150-metre jetty and a 30m pontoon, that includes a 24m gangway.

This week at the Bairnsdale factory, the Carter Marine Group crew and contractors, including five welders, have been putting the finishing touches on the gangway which leaves tomorrow on a truck bound for South Molle Island.

COVID-19 restrictions are frustrating the travel arrangements, trucks can be sent but Jon can’t fly up nor the contractors currently up there fly home.

Sitting at his desk surrounded by draftman’s plans and computer screens, Jon says he’s never worked harder in his life.

However, it seems to be paying off.

“People say you get help with this sort of thing. You don’t. You make your own luck.”

IMAGE: Carter Marine Group’s Jon Carter, Dusty and Shaun Collings, of SC Welding and Engineering Services. The gangway pictured leaves town on a truck tomorrow, bound for Far North Queensland. K373-3074