Those most familiar with Sydney's maritime industry are huge advocates for the floating dry dock

Rear Admiral Chris Oxenbould AO RAN (Rtd)

Former Royal Australian Navy Fleet Commander & Former CEO of NSW Maritime

After a lifetime of involvement with Sydney Harbour I have observed its changing working credentials. The harbour remains vibrant with record numbers of cruise ship visits, renewed naval commitment, an expanding fleet of commercial and support vessels, plus growth of recreational boats in both numbers and size. The Floating Dry Dock, with adjacent Noakes workshops, fills a vital niche capability that is currently poorly served. The dock is able to maintain vessels of up to 750 tonnes in an economic manner within an improved environmental footprint, providing an integral part of a sustainable working harbour.

David Phillips

Svitzer Fleet Director – Technical, Fleet & Marine Standards

Svitzer supports the floating dry dock as an improvement to the infrastructure and capabilities in Sydney Harbour.

Svitzer owns and operates 80 tugs in the Australasian region providing a crucial link in the Australian supply chain with more than 50,000 tug movements a year.

Operating a fleet this size safely and reliably requires maintenance and docking facilities capable of servicing these unique vessel types, with minimum impact on port operations and shipping due to necessary out of service periods. Currently a number of our tugs in Sydney are serviced in either Launceston or Brisbane because there are insufficient facilities in Sydney. This results in long periods with vessels out of service and greater disruption to port operations and shipping.

As such Svitzer supports the floating dry dock in Berry Bay, which will assist Sydney Harbour to better service our current and future fleet, thus continuing to provide safe and reliable service to our customers.

Ross Muir

General Manager, Sydney Heritage Fleet

For an organisation such as Sydney Maritime Museum, home of Sydney Heritage Fleet, the availability of specialist professional maritime services provided by people who know and understand historic vessels is essential. For many years, Noakes has provided those specialist services to the Museum at costs which recognise the organisation’s not-for-profit status. They are essential to our survival.

Sydney Maritime Museum is well aware that while enjoying specialist services and prices from Noakes, the shipyard has to provide first class commercial services to survive in today’s competitive world. The floating dock is one such service which is needed, both for Noakes’ ongoing commercial viability and for the historic and classic boat community.

Noakes and Sean Langman are names that are embedded in the fabric of Sydney Harbour. Risking their loss means tearing that fabric forever.

John Diacopoulos

Solicitor. Sailed and fished on Sydney Harbour for at least 60 years. Governor, Sydney Heritage Fleet

I am conscious of the fact that we have turned a great deal of our working harbour into waterfront apartments at the expense of our boating facilities notwithstanding the continual growth in the number of boats.

Sydney needs facilities and people with a boating passion running those facilities.

The Noakes floating dock is a much-needed asset for Sydney Harbour and its commercial boating community. At the same time it will enable Noakes to function economically and continue giving back.

It is a win win; why wouldn’t I support Noakes. After all boatyards have been in Berry’s Bay for at least a century and a half

If the proposal fits the regulations and legislation it should be applauded. It is a major financial investment from a passionate individual training and employing skilful trades people and deserving of success. Sydney is left with only 2 privately owned boatyards with any real capacity to cater for Sydney’s growing population of recreational and commercial vessels.

John Westacott

Retired Nine Executive. Yacht enthusiast

From the time Alexander Berry and Edward Wollstonecraft established their wharf and warehouse in the 1850s, Berrys Bay has provided Sydney with essential maritime services. Ship repairers, the saw millers, the Anglo Persian Oil Company and other marine activities have all operated in congruence with the local community.

Noakes’ floating dry dock would be a most environmentally sensible addition to Berry Bay’s and Sydney Harbour’s vessel services. No longer will old-style slipways provide the potential threat of polluting run-offs.  All waste is contained within the dock to be disposed of appropriately. Noise, too, is limited and captured inside the dock.

I have spent my life studying and enjoying the Harbour and its waterways, a student of our extraordinary history. For decades now, I have watched with admiration, as Sean Langman has grown his thriving marine business. His love and commitment to the Harbour and boating, are not only his occupation and his sport, but undertakings treated as deep emotional obligations.

I have watched, too, a small group of people, with no greater agender than perceived self-interest, work to frustrate and condemn a sensible and worthwhile project.  I am dismayed at this disingenuous campaign, with its expressed aim of seeing all commercial activity removed from the Harbour foreshores.

I have been a journalist for 50 years, both in Australia and overseas, covering just about every story imaginable.  For 25 years I lead Nine Networks news and current programmes, including 16 years as executive producer of 60 Minutes. Residents-versus-commercial evolution is a time-worn topic. But I cannot recall a story when a small, noisy protest group was so manifestly transparent in its campaign against a worthy project; a project that would have the opposite effect on the Bay to which they claim.

Nigel Stoke

Businessman and owner of yacht Fidelis

The initiative by Noakes to invest in a floating dry dock is testament to the vision of Sean Langman and his focus on providing excellent service to his customers whilst respecting the residents in and around the yard and Berrys Bay. The Dry Dock will improve the environmental impact of the yard and continue the traditions of water front life in Sydney.

I have been involved with Berry’s Bay and Noakes for more than 25 years. My yacht Fidelis is a Classic launched in 1974 but based on traditional metre designs from the 1930’s. Fidelis has been moored in the Bay for most of that time and been dependent on Noakes yard and facilities for maintenance and longer term restoration.

Berry’s Bay has always been part of the working harbour with marinas, boat yards and a base for commercial and recreational vessels. The working harbour has been a significant feature and critical part of the City of Sydney for more than 200 years. These traditions continue to the benefit of the residents, visitors, tourists and of course those with boats of all descriptions on the water.

There has been and will always be change on the waterfront with varying use of facilities, improved technologies and ecological demands to impact the environment. Noakes has been at the forefront of this change and has respected the traditions of the waterfront whilst providing an essential service to commercial and recreational boat owners.

Ian MacDiarmid

Double World Champion in J24’s, Solings & Intl. Sailmaker

I am a sailmaker who has spent all of my professional life either making sails for Sydney Harbour yachts or sailing skiffs and yachts on Sydney Harbour.

Making a living on the waterfront is not easy. It requires dedication, long hours and the management of many different skills. What’s more, compliance with E.P.A. requirements and local council requirements has made it more profitable to turn waterfront land into residential than to carry on a maritime business.

Noakes is one of the few places left on the harbour that has a zoning that allows maritime activity and a true maritime industry. I hope that it remains that way and that Stannards and or Noakes can continue to provide an efficient professional service for Sydney harbour. The proposal of a floating dock as part of this maritime complex is a modern, clean and unique way of replacing an old fashioned slipping facility and upgrading the EPA compliance of the yard.

I have also sailed elsewhere including other places in Australia, the U.S., Europe and Asia. In most other places with a strong sailing or boating connection the boating facilities are part and parcel of and intertwine with the locals and local activity. Indeed the norm is to consider it a privilege to be associated with and be a friend and supporter of the local boatyard. Why should it be different here?

Robert Gordon

Local resident and boat builder

We live in a world-class tourist destination and our harbour plays centre stage. As the popularity of boating has increased on our harbour the facilities to service vessels has equally diminished.  The value of waterfront real estate has by stealth closed down many major marine service facilities, particularly in the last few decades.  Sydneysiders can not have it both ways everywhere; The Berry’s Bay waterfront has, since colonial times been fundamentally a marine service centre above all else, and remains so with the Noakes boatyard and the probable revamp of the Woodley’s site.  Surely it is better to keep working waterfront activity in several focused areas of our harbour such as at Noakes, with operators of a proven environmental and commercial track record.