Jet powered outboard motors protect the Great Barrier Reef

Following the recent success of launching the first jet powered outboard motor on the Great Barrier Reef, Lady Elliot Island has imported an additional two sets of Mercury jet pumps from the US to be installed on the island’s dive and snorkel vessels in what is another fantastic environmental step towards protecting the reef surrounding the island.

The jet motors are propeller free and have no projection below the hull, allowing the vessel to manoeuvre around coral, marine life and people without causing any damage or danger compared to a conventional propeller motor. Peter Gash, Managing Director of Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort said the jet powered motors enable the boats to draw less than 200mm of water, two thirds less than a propeller driven outboard and he has been extremely impressed with the results.

"These boats can now do tours in very shallow water which means that we are less dependent on tides. This is the most amazing thing for reef boating that I have seen. It is fantastic for the environment with minimal impact to marine life and coral and makes the boat safer in the water. All in all it provides a better experience on the reef." said Mr Gash.

"In 2011, Lady Elliot Island introduced the first night time glass bottom boat tour on the Great Barrier Reef using LED lighting aboard our jet powered vessel Heron View 2. This tour has been very popular with our guests and now we are trialling black light (UV) on the vessels. This light allows the reef to be accessible like never before, showcasing the iridescent colours of the reef and marine life that are completely different to what you see throughout the day."

Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort was announced the winner of Environmental Tourism at the Tourism Fraser Coast Awards on Friday night and are vying for the Steve Irwin award for Eco-Tourism at the Queensland Tourism Awards next month.