A first for Great Barrier Reef tourism, the local family owned and operated Cairns Premier Reef & Island Tours’ to build the first electric hybrid commercial Eco Catamaran as part of Volvo Penta’s pilot project. A first step in the evolution of achieving cleaner energy solutions for Great Barrier Reef Tourism with enhanced passenger experience.

Owners Taryn Agius and Perry Jones, have been operating personal boutique-style snorkel and dive tours on the Great Barrier Reef for nearly 30 years. As a PADI Member for the previous 20 years, they have conducted more than 100,000 PADI Discover Scuba Experiences on the Great Barrier Reef, introducing people from across the globe to the world’s largest coral reef system.

Taryn stands next to Perry near the wheel on their sailing vessel, driving over the great barrier reef

Striving for Cleaner Energy and Sustainability on the Great Barrier Reef

Perry and Taryn currently operate Ocean Free, their 16M sailing vessel and Ocean Freedom, their 20M Motor CAT. Being strongly committed to sustainable and regenerative practices, both their current vessels have held accreditation from Ecotourism Australia for over 12 years with Green Travel Leader status.

Having researched cleaner energy solutions for the last 10 years, Perry and Taryn are very excited to be working on a new Electric Hybrid Commercial Eco Catamaran with Volvo Penta, who are keen to innovate products that meet the requirements for customer success, people, and environment. This project demonstrates the serious commitment of Cairns Premier Great Barrier Reef & Island Tours and Volvo Penta to strive to find cleaner energy solutions whilst still maintaining the operational requirements and passenger experience required for a successful and Great Barrier Reef tour.

drone aerial view of the boat on the great barrier reef

Providing Exceptional Experiences on the Reef

“We have always been stewards of our sites on the reef, so it was a natural progression to seek greener energy systems as we look to add to our next generation fleet. It has been an ongoing journey looking at the different options for cleaner energy solutions for our style of Great Barrier Reef operations, and the technology is constantly progressing. This is a first step towards our “Journey to Emission-Free” and we are very excited to be working with Volvo Penta – a company equally passionate about cleaner energy on the Great Barrier Reef” says Taryn.

The construction of the new vessel comes after 10 years of research into cleaner energy solutions whilst making sure customers still get the best experience of the reef.

bright orange pink and yellow corals underwater on the great barrier reef

Cairns Premier Reef & Island Tours are no stranger to sustainable business practices. In 2019, they were one of the 5 operators in the very successful pilot project for the Coral Nurture Programme with the team from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). This programme to “introduce coral planting into localised stewardship and adaption” has now commenced over more tourism reef sites. They are also a participant of the Australian Government funded GBRMPA Tourism Industry Reef Protection Initiative – a collaboration set up between GBRMPA and High Standard Tourism Operators to collect valuable reef data to assist in best management of the reef and corallivore control.

Cairns Premier Reef & Island tours offers certified diving (with complimentary dive guide) and specialise in first time Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) offering only 2 divers to one instructor for their DSD experience on both their vessels. To view Cairns Premier Reef & Island Tours’ current dive experiences, or simply contact for more information, visit PADI Travel.

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