Inshore skipper's licence, Coxwains certificate for commercial vessels up to 12 metres, Marine Radio and Senior First Aid certificates.
Living here means living in a tropical paradise. I must be the luckiest man alive, waking up to this every day.
It's poles apart from grey northern England working as an aircraft engineer and WRAY briefer and relief operations manager, Ian Wells is like the cat that swallowed the canary.
Ian has now lived in the Whitsundays about half his life and through his own travels – including flying light aircraft over Australia – says there is no better place to call home.
Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, Ian learnt to windsurf and sail at Preston Docks while at high school and was a member of Beaver Sailing Club at nearby Thorne. When he came to Australia, he was determined to start a new life as a water ski instructor.
“I bluffed my way into a job as a water ski instructor at South Molle Island. From Preston to living at a tropical island resort, there was no reason to go back. I’ve worked in the area and with boats, in one way or another ever since. I joined the company, which became WRAY, in 1999.” Ian says.
Ian, who attended WRAY’s first bareboat briefer’s course in the early 1990s, briefs charterers on boat handling and safety, checks on them via twice-daily radio calls and assists with vessel maintenance and repairs. A man of many talents who “retired” at 42, he also supplies kayaks and stand-up paddle boards to WRAY and other charter boat companies.
“Since I’ve been here, I have not had what some people (back home) would call a ‘proper job’. Most of my life I’ve been a beach bum!” he says.
His nautical adventures include delivering vessels from Thailand to Papua New Guinea and across to New Caledonia while as a recreational aviator, he has flown around and over Australia in a two-seater light aircraft twice.
“Flying over the islands makes you appreciate their beauty. I’ve flown across to Western Australia via the Simpson Desert and seen some incredibly beautiful parts of Australia. The Whitsunday islands are as gorgeous as anywhere else in this country.”
Ian’s next big adventure will be converting a derelict light aircraft so it can land and float on water – including the Whitsundays waterways.
Relax and enjoy a stress-free holiday. Just watch out for the reef when and mooring and anchoring – to protect your boat and the reef.
Briefer and Skipper, Ian Wells.