A TRADE as a small engine mechanic has allowed Jared Leaman to travel the world.
But there is no place he would rather be using his skills than right here in the Mackay region.
The Mackay man, who admits to spending plenty of weekends in Airlie Beach, has just bought Cannonvale-based company Whitsunday Powersports.
While he has years of experience working on personal watercraft (the correct term for the likes of Jet Skis and Sea-Doos) this will be his first time running a business.
He is looking forward to the challenge, but admitted stepping out on his own was a daunting move.
"It's a strange feeling,” he said.
"I go through an hour of feeling really excited, to then feeling worried with all that I have to do.
"When this opportunity came up, I just couldn't turn it down. It was perfect timing.”
Jared has had plenty of support from his partner Hayley Breed, as she has operated her own businesses in the past, and the couple are keen to settle into their new home at Airlie.
Growing up in England, Jared decided early on he wanted to work in the marine industry, starting his trade as a small engine mechanic when he was 16.
Finishing his trade, he worked for Sea-Doo in England and also on a super yacht in Spain.
Later, he flew to Australia for a backpacking trip - that was eight years ago now.
Australia quickly got under his skin and he soon fell in love with the region; finding a business to buy in Airlie Beach was an added bonus.
"It's great being in Airlie, it's similar to Mackay in that it's just a beautiful place. This is a job where you should be out on the water, so you still have a feel for it, so it's just great to be back close to the water again.”
Whitsunday Powersports will service and repair all makes and models of personal watercraft, as well as side-by-side vehicles (buggies), quadbikes and jet tenders.
While the Whitsundays is a traveller's haven, and there are heaps of major tourism players offering Jet Ski hires, Jared predicted his biggest customer base would be from locals.
"Most people who live here have their own boats, plenty of people have skis and there are quite a few marine businesses,” he said.
Through his work Jared will also organise group rides so ski enthusiasts can meet up and head over for trips to Whitehaven Beach or the islands.
"It's similar to motorbikes,” he said.
"If you head out by yourself it can get a bit boring, but if you have group of you it is a lot more fun.”
The first few days of business have involved countless phone calls and plenty of kilometres on the road travelling back and forth from Mackay to Cannonvale, he said.
However, he has no doubt he has made the right choice.
"I get to be my own boss,” he said.
"Airlie Beach is an amazing place.
"We come here most weekends, I just can't fault it.”
powersports.com.au for more information.