The irrepressibly cheerful Mike Jessop is just moving to his own new factory on the Sunshine Coast - a real tribute to his hard work and care for his happy band of customers.
When writing about Mike Jessop's Ocean Craft from Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast, it's important to acknowledge from the outset that these are extremely unusual and very special craft. Because Mike's background is in scuba diving, he started life as a boat builder trying to find a boat he could anchor off a dive spot, and still have it there when he returned from the dive. Divers always have a predilection for anchoring very close to good dive sites, usually near reefs and very often in places where, when the tide changes, smooth can become quite rough very quickly. Having started off with traditional inulatables, which ended up being shredded in the long drag down to the water over the many beaches that divers have to cross to access the more remote reefs and dive sites, Mike was determined to build an inflatable you couldn't wear out, and of such strength and rigidity, it could be literally skull- dragged down a slope, across the beach and into the water. Because inflatables have such massive buoyancy in their tubes, it seemed logical to stay with the concept — so why not build the concept in aluminium and thus give them the toughness and longevity of use inflatables cannot achieve?
Mike's first efforts were pretty ordinary, but they were certainly good enough to harden up on the idea, so that Boat #2 was better than Boat #1, #3 was better than #2 and so on, and as the word spread in the dive community, Mike found himself in the business of boat building — giving the description “a rigid inflatable a whole new meaning.
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Above: This is a screen dump from the early frames of Mike's video - but for the moment, this is only available through the high resolution Australian Edition. It will soon be available overseas on Newsstand, too. Below: Another happy bunch of SCUBA fans head out for a day's underwater adventure in the 8200 Ocean Craft - this model Is rated In Survey for 10+2, making It an ideal Investment for dive schools & adventure companies.
These days of course, and hundreds of boats later, Mike Jessop's Ocean Craft are a well established fact of life with all of the Survey authorities around Australia. They are used in an amazing variety of locations with the dive community, but also with a host of other commercial activities ranging from straight out passenger carrying small ferries, to sophisticated line and trap fishing boats, or, as we saw quite recently through the pages of The Boat Mag, remote area exploration craft such as the Ocean Craft 6000 used by Doctor Dennis Fitzsimmons and his wife Joan, for their extraordinary journey from Darwin NT. down to Derby in WA, via the Kimberley.
All things taken into account, there was probably no safer, more reliable, stronger or more practical boat to use for such an adventure — and that is the basis of Mike's business.
Summarising the features of this craft, Ocean Craft have
Now that doesn't mean a heck of a lot for people just quietly pottering along the Pittwater in Sydney or crossing over to their favourite sandbank in one of Australia's plethora of estuaries, but there are certain types of activities in Australia where having a craft this safe, is a prerequisite of survival.
Mike's boats are commonly used in marine rescue situations, and when you think about it, it's hard to
In this pictorial essay, and the attached video, we're featuring a new 8.2m dive rig that is set up In Survey (out of Terrigal NSW, actually) with a commercial survey rating of 2 crew plus 10 divers, bottles and gear — count them: that's 10 blokes and 2 crew all in commercial survey for 15 miles offshore!
Ocean Craft though are made in a variety of sizes starting at 2.6m, then 3.3, 3.4, 4.3, 5.2, 6.0, 7.2 and 8.Om, plus this new 8200 — and he has made special custom rigs to 13m LOA.
Here Mike has powered the rig with twin Tohatsu 140s which is arguably over the top with just 3 or 4 people, as the boat works perfectly well with a single 140, but when it's loaded up with 12 blokes and their oxygen bottles and dive gear, lead weights (etc) you need the twin 140 power units
It's very much a 'horses for courses' situation, with Mike advising his customers very carefully as to the best power system for the job they have in mind.
Similarly, Mike's team is able to adapt the topsides to specific requirements, and is proud of the fact that almost no two boats have ever been the same' “But that's what Ocean Craft is all about” he told TBM. “We specialise in building unusual boats for unusual circumstances that most other builders don't want to know about, but we do!!
At Ocean Craft we see the challenge is to learn what our customers need, and then we work very hard to bring those needs together within our stock range so we can keep the costs down to an affordable level.
This month we have included one of Mike's videos of this craft, and it's certainly worth watching as Mike puts it through its paces in and around the Caloundra Bar, and listen carefully as he goes through the features and benefits of this quite extraordinary craft.
If you'd like to have a talk to Mike about your next project, give him a ring on (07) 5499 6937 or mobile 0416 293 686
Email: sales[AT]oceancraft.com.au or check out his
website at www.oceancraft.com.au TBM
For further information,
Mike Jessop, Oceancraft
Phone (07) 5499 6937
Web Site www.oceancraft.com.au
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