top of page
marinas in sydney. Empire Marina Bobbin Head


The Empire Marina Bobbin Head team lead by Captain John Lawler, are very experienced boaters and sailors, who impart their experience and passion for boats into every aspect of our marina business.


We are proud to provide a summary of their experience below:

john Lawler marina manager - sydney

Captain John Lawler


John commenced his career as a shipwright apprentice at Carina Yachts and McConaghy Boats in Sydney. His career has spanned the world including 20 years in the superyacht industry with more than 15yrs as captain of superyachts over 175ft. 


He was also the build captain on Mirabella V – the world’s largest sloop at 264ft.   He has more than 300,000 nautical miles at sea across the globe, including competing in 8 Sydney to Hobart races. He won Line & Handicap Honours on the maxi “Sovereign” in 1986 that he and the team built at Carina Yachts. He has represented Australia internationally in various ocean going regattas, including the Admirals Cup in the UK and the Kenwood Cup in Hawaii. Just for fun, he has also cruised his own Cavalier 43 out to Fiji, Tonga and Louisaides.


In addition to his extensive yachting experience, his qualifications include Master Class V, UK Master Class IV for vessels up to 3000 tonnes, Diploma of Marine Surveying from Lloyds Maritime Academy in the UK, Marine Engine Driver Grade II (MED II), Advanced Marina Management. 

Captain John’s extensive local and international experience gives him great perspective and understanding in the practical approach to the needs of discerning boating customers. His exemplary boat handling, together with his practical and cost effective approach to boat maintenance, is a great asset to the marina.

Listen to John’s stories about his career on our podcast HERE

Collin Cini marina operations manager sydney

Collin Cini


Collin commenced his boating career in 2009 at Fenwicks Marina operating travel lifts and slipping boats and since then he has gained an extraordinary amount of experience to become one of the most experienced operators in the industry. His great skills include operating machinery such as a submersible lift, a 40 tonne land transporter and 800 tonne ship lift and of course an abundance of forklifts. Collin has lifted and stood boats such as Wild Oats 11, Ragamuffin and Blackjack.


On the motoryacht side he’s lifted them all - from 82ft Sunseekers to 76ft Warrens, from Palm Beach Cruisers to small navy vessels, from government ferries and cruisers to small recreational cruisers and Halvorsens. Collin’s last position was in a commercial shipyard and having moved to Empire Marina Bobbin Head he’s loves working on our clients boats with our 50 tonne travel lift and being part of a more community based environment.


Your pride and joy is in very safe hands with Collin and his passion for boats shines through in all that he does.    

nicky Vaux marina business development manager

Nicky Vaux


Nicky Vaux is a partner and the Business Development Manager at Empire Marinas Group and was previously the Dealer Principal at Empire Boat Sales. She thoroughly enjoys her role working in the boating industry.  After all, working in a marina on the water is rather special. Her Degree in Hospitality and Catering Management meant that creating Waterside Bistro at the marina in January 2020 was an exciting project for her, and her expertise is evident in the recently received Marina Restaurant of the Year in the MIA Awards. Nicky is a passionate advocate for getting more women into boating and into the boating industry with an active following on social media and on her podcast in her pseudonym as The Boat Princess.

She holds a position as a Director on the Board of the Marina Industries Association, has contributed to publications such as Ocean Magazine, Nautilus Marine Magazine, she has presented at METSTRADE, various marina conferences, and enjoys an extensive network within the industry, both in Australia and overseas. She creates events for at Boat Shows and at the two marinas within the Empire Marinas Group. Her current project is Freedom Boat Club at both marinas which aligns beautifully with her ethos, and approach based on the fundamental belief that nothing feels better than making others feel good and being on the water makes everyone feel good #bluemind.

Visit Nicky on Linkedin. Follow her on Instagram @theboatprincess and subscribe to her podcast.

michelle Nicholls marina office manager sydney

Michelle Nicholls


Michelle has been with Empire Marina Bobbin Head for over 15 years.   She’s seen the growth and development of the marina from the small family-run Halvorsen business, to a world-class, award-winning modern facility, first-hand.  Having joined as a Junior Office Assistant, her dedication, loyalty and hard work saw her quickly progress through the ranks.    If anyone needs to know anything about anything in and around the marina, Michelle is sure to be able to help. She is a fountain of useful information – and her best piece of advice to boaties…check the weather!

Michelle grew up around boats. She has many childhood memories of happy, fun-filled days on her family’s Halvorsen Cruiser 36’ called “Minmay”. These early experiences fuelled her love of boating and she believes time spent on a boat, jet skiing, fishing, swimming, eating and relaxing is undoubtedly the best way to spend a summer’s weekend.   Her favourite destination in Cowan Creek/Pittwater are Jerusalem Bay and Waratah Bay - both beautiful bays where you can go ashore and explore, or just kick back in the sun with a good book, and a chilled glass of wine. Right now she works remotely, but her keen eye on all that is going on at the marina is never lost.

shirley garcia restaurant manager at Empire Marina sydney

Shirley Garcia


Shirley’s smile is one not to be missed and her memory for names brings so much joy to our clients at Waterside Bistro.


Whilst the Bistro has a casual relaxed atmosphere, her career background in 5 star establishments shows her talent and skill running a tight ship that has a team that all love working with her.


And as for her amazing coffee skills….well just try them for yourself, we promise you won’t be disappointed.

Make a Booking  - Waterside Bistro Bookings

jesse head chef at empire marina sydney



Jesse is probably the fastest moving chef you have ever seen. Trained in Italy, his pastas are to die for and his Barramundi is legendary.


Creating meals with love whilst at speed is his talent and the tastebuds are the ultimate test and they are duly satisfied with his work.


From small events in our private room upstairs to our fabulously busy weekends Jesse and his team, including Sous Chef Myles, create much enjoyment for many.

Make a Booking  - Waterside Bistro Bookings

Like to speak to anyone in our Empire Marina Team?

bottom of page