How the locals like it

Ben Doughtery,
Pirate Ship Mandurah

In 2007 I came to Mandurah to visit my uncle. I had a 12-month working visa and the plan was to stay in town for a couple of weeks and then travel around Australia. Instead, I found myself staying in Mandurah for the full year and, after heading back to a few months of English winter, decided I wanted to emigrate and make Mandurah my home.

Pirate Ship Mandurah

I’m originally from a seaside town in East Yorkshire called Bridlington. I grew up on the water, working on a tourist pirate ship in the summers from age 11 and then on fishing boats in the winters.

As soon as I arrived in Mandurah, I knew the pirate ship concept could work well here but I was deterred by the low height of the bridges across the estuary.

What’s the point of a pirate ship without a mast to hoist the Jolly Roger? The idea stayed with me and in the end, we came up with a telescopic mast and the Pirate Ship Mandurah was launched on 1 December 2018.

From day one the reaction to the ship has been amazing. People who live on the canals stand outside dressed in pirate hats and waving swords and we have received the most thoughtful and lovely emails and even gifts.

During the summer, around half of our visitors are from overseas and interstate, many of them here to see friends and family. But we also have a lot of local customers too. Mandurah is perfectly located for people from the South West and Perth to catch up. We come across these groups all the time.

Obviously, the Pirate Ship Mandurah is a big attraction for kids but the adults really get into the fun and the dress ups too. We even had a family drive all the way from Geraldton one Australia Day because they wanted to go for a cruise.

All of our visitors are enthralled by the dolphins and Mandurah’s beautiful, clean water in general.

My partner Anita and I are so happy to be raising our family here and often say to each other that if we were on holiday in the Greek Islands and saw canals and landscapes as beautiful as this it would be the highlight of our trip. We really try and remember every day that we are living in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Ben’s top tip for family fun

Enjoy Mandurah’s waterways! Take a trip with us on the Pirate Ship Mandurah and spend the rest of the day on the foreshore with its great playground for kids and excellent coffee for the parents.

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