World-first floating design for Gold Coast dive attraction

31 October 2019

A world-first floating reef will be built on the Gold Coast by a team of international experts as the city’s dive attraction takes another step towards becoming a reality.

Mayor Tom Tate and Member for Gaven Meaghan Scanlon today awarded the contract to deliver the City’s dive attraction to Australian company Subcon Technologies Pty Ltd.

The concept design comprises nine buoyant ‘sculptural reef flutes’ individually tethered to the seafloor by reinforced concrete and steel pyramids.

The steel reef flutes will create living sculptures, standing 16-20 metres above the ocean floor. They are designed to create a new ecosystem to recruit fish and serve as sustainable habitats for a diverse range of marine flora and fauna.

Mayor Tom Tate said the concept design was quintessential Gold Coast and complemented the region’s existing dive offer.

“The Gold Coast is known for delivering many world firsts and this floating reef will take its place as an iconic eco-tourism experience unrivalled on a global scale,” he said.

“The floating reef will establish itself instantly as a must do or bucket list experience when you are on the Gold Coast.

“Divers will be able to swim around and through the floating reefs which over time will become covered in marine growth attracting schools of fish and other species.”

Member for Gaven Meaghan Scanlon said the cost would be equally split by the government and council and was expected to attract 16,600 new visitors and more than $2 million in annual overnight visitor expenditure.

“We’re investing in new tourism attractions for the Coast that we know will attract more tourists and create local jobs,” she said.

Ms Scanlon said the artificial dive site was expected to create 18 jobs during construction and 82 jobs once operational.

“Today is a huge milestone. To see this project come to life will be a dream come true for many tourism operators on the Coast,” she said.

The reef sculptures are the work of renowned Queensland artist Daniel Templeman who has brought his creative interpretation to the marine engineering capabilities offered by Subcon Technologies.

It will undergo further design development in consultation with the dive industry reference group.

Subcon Technologies, leaders in offshore marine structures, has delivered more than 20 industrial scale engineered reefs in Australia and internationally, primarily for habitat restoration, diving and recreational fishing. This will be their largest artistic reef combining innovative and robust technology and engineering methods to create a thriving ecosystem in a harsh marine environment.

Other artificial reefs delivered by Subcon Technologies include Simpson and Hardy reefs in Hervey Bay, Turner reef off Scarborough and multiple installations off New South Wales, Darwin, Perth, Exmouth and Mauritius.

The dive attraction project, 2.5 kilometres offshore from Main Beach, is being delivered jointly by the Queensland Government and the City of Gold Coast. The State Government has contributed $2.5 million into the project under the Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

Subcon Technologies Chief Executive Officer Matthew Allen said he believed this would be the largest sculptural reef in the world combining the three key principles – iconic tourism attraction, dynamic and immersive dive experience and robust technical design.

“We’ve carefully incorporated features we know will rapidly recruit marine life including fish, flora and reef invertebrates. Resembling bommies or vertical column reef outcrops, it will be no time before the reefs are teaming with a diversity of marine life, creating a living artwork of ecological ocean habitats.”

Mr Templeman describes the dive attraction as, “sculpture gardens, where simple geometric forms support the generation of marine life.”

“The opportunity to create floating art for a floating audience is an exciting one – this really is sculpture in-the-round,” he said.

The dive attraction is projected to bring $32.8 million into the region’s economy in the first 10 years of operation.

World-first floating design for Gold Coast dive attraction photo