Swapping heels for boat shoes

Kimberley Busteed, Seven News Presenter Sharyn Ghidella, Sally Jenyns and Sunrise’s Natalie Barr preparing for the Boat Show - Sanctuary Cove Boat Show
Rosalie Taylor
Men should pilot boats, maintain boats, barbeque fish they have pulled from the ocean with their bare hands... on boats. Women should flock around these men, draped in glamorous nautical attire, serving cocktails and laughing with their girlfriends. This was the stereotype, but it’s being blown right out of the water.

Women are breaking through what was once a male dominated industry to embrace all aspects of the boating lifestyle. The nation followed in awe the progress of 16-year-old Jessica Watson as she sailed solo around the world, the youngest person ever to achieve such a feat. Proving to women that no longer were they expected to comply with stereotypes, they need to start taking the wheel.

Last year the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show introduced Women on Water in an effort to move the boat show towards a more family-oriented occasion. Now in its second year, the program has exceeded expectations with attendees raving about its success.

'Let’s face it, women run the world,' says Kimberley Busteed, presenter from Channel Seven, MC of women’s events this year. 'It’s about time we shine a light on women in the marine industry, we are such a big part of it.'

From an early age the blonde beauty has enjoyed the water. Dressed in a crisp, feminine red and blue pantsuit she laughs about the reactions from men when they discover the skills she has developed. 'Blokes give you looks of 'oh my gosh, that girl can reverse a trailer', it’s really not something that is expected.'

Continuing to enjoy all things oceanic, she raves about this year’s show: 'It’s such a great excuse to get out and about in Queensland, it doesn’t get more special or luxurious than here.'

Women on Water provides a plethora of activities to suit all orientations, whether you’re looking for a glamorous cruising lifestyle on the sea, wishing to contribute to the operations of a boat or even take the wheel yourself.

This year the inspirational Ita Buttrose shared her wisdom at the Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove. Tales of Ita’s own experiences breaking into a male-dominated world were met with a standing ovation, eager ladies lining up afterwards for a chance to meet the Australian publishing and corporate legend.

On the water, ladies were intivited to sup 'High Tea on the High Seas' upon a beautiful and appropriate vessel, MV The Lady. The quirky function boat cruised the Coomera River for a two hour sojourn, with guests donning their finest frocks, enjoying canapes, champagne and pampering.

Onshore free entertainment included cooking demonstrations by channel seven’s epicurean, Sally Jenyns and the Creek to Coast team. There were nautical fashion parades in the Tavern Piazza where visitors could absorb the ambience of live music and artful designs for style-seekers, as well as the array of local boutiques and cafes for hours of blissful wandering.

Tickets to the once only luncheon were snapped up well before the boat show. Women who would like to be involved should keep one ear to the water for news about next year’s smorgasbord of entertainment as Women on Water continues to innovate, educate, entertain and inform. Don’t worry, if you do miss out on a ticket to the exclusive events in store for next year’s 25th anniversary celebrations, there will still be plenty to involve and engage the entire crew.

'It’s such a wonderful industry, you would be mad if you didn’t at least have a taste of it,' says Kimberley, excitement radiating from her flushed cheeks and windswept hair.

The advice is simple, get involved in any way you can, and appreciate what a life on the water has to offer you.