Tandem Skydiving Operation Approved for Bargara, Elliott Heads & Woodgate

At yesterday’s Ordinary Meeting, Council approved an application by Hervey Bay Skydivers to land tandem skydiving outfits onto coastal land in our region.

The approval will permit the applicant to land up to two tandem teams plus one solo camera operator onto designated drop zones at Bargara Beach (in front of the CBD subject to tide heights), Bargara Sports Oval, Elliott Heads Riverbank & Woodgate Beach.

A range of conditions including an approval from the Department of Environment & Resource Management (DERM) will be attached to the approval but in general, they will require strict compliance with the:

  • Australian Parachute Federation Operational Regulations
  • Fraser Coast Parachuting Operations Manual

About 16 years ago when I had the dive shop at Bargara, we organised for a Maroochydore Tandem Master to conduct similar jumps onto Bargara Beach in front of the CBD and acted as his local agent. He and a camera operator would come up for one weekend a month and typically conducted 6 & 8 jumps per day depending on weather and tide heights.

Customers would meet at our shop, sign their paperwork and then get driven to the airport by the Tandem Master who would conduct a briefing. Family and friends of the customer would remain in Bargara and typically stroll around the shops, have a coffee or a drink at the pub whilst they waited for about 45 minutes for the aircraft to gain altitude and for the jumpers to bail out and subsequently land on the beach under the guidance of the Ground Control Officer.

A small portable sign on the foreshore advised members of the public that jumpers would be landing on the beach at a certain time and more often that not, they would hang around the CBD to wait for the free attraction. It got to the stage where they would actually turn up with chairs or blankets and make a family outing out of it as jumpers landed on the beach about every hour and a half.

This was excellent for the local businesses and that was before the added attraction of the streetscape facilities that exist today including the foreshore eateries such as Kacy’s & Salt (BradLees was already there).

As an added bonus, jumpers were given a ticket for a complimentary drink at the pub which was well deserved after jumping out of an aircraft and typically, they would be accompanied by a group of family & friends who would join them for a drink and often a meal, resulting in extra business for the pub.

There could well be an opportunity for the new operators to again network with the pub, cafes or other businesses to boost trade in the CBD and also at the other approved drop zone townships of Woodgate & Elliott Heads.

The jumps that we organised at Bargara came to an end when the Tandem Master became over-committed to his operations at Maroochydore and it’s good to see this new interest from Hervey Bay Skydivers.

Isobel Over Bargara (circa 1997)
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