New Zealand trailer boat manufacturers exhibiting at the 2015 Auckland On Water Boat Show describe the domestic market as very buoyant.
With more than 20 trailer powerboat manufacturers and retailers participating in the 24-27 September boat show at Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour, a wide cross-section of this hugely-popular boat sector is represented at the show.
“Ninety per cent of trailer power boats sold in New Zealand are made in New Zealand,” says Peter Busfield, executive director of the New Zealand Marine Industry Association (NZ Marine) which owns and runs the show. “So it’s very encouraging for this sector that they are seeing such consumer confidence.”
Bob Mirabito, sales manager for the well-known Haines Hunter brand of fibreglass powerboat which is manufactured by SeaCraft in Auckland, says he’s seeing a return to renewed customer confidence.
“People are loosening their pockets somewhat, but not going silly,” Mirabito says. “Perhaps the current strong real estate market has something to do with that. We are conservatively confident of the market continuing strongly for some time yet. We’ve certainly had some great leads, people keen to talk further, and find that the Auckland On Water Boat Show is a good indicator of the market conditions we’ll see for the next four to six months.”
Mirabito says the number of show visitors from outside Auckland has been notable. “There are a lot from the South Island and from Hawke’s Bay, as well as plenty from around the Auckland region taking advantage of the opportunity to see so many trailer powerboat brands in one location.”
Pauline Pringle, director of Henderson, Auckland-based Smuggler Marine, says they can’t keep up with demand for their rigid inflatable boats (RIBs).
“We have a few boats available to sell at the show, otherwise our production is booked out to March next year,” says Mrs Pringle. “Domestic demand is really strong and we’re doing lots of export, with several superyacht tenders currently in production.”
Sean McColl, Australasian sales manager for Invercargill-based Stabicraft, is another who is very positive about the sales prospects at this year’s show.
“We’re here with our two Auckland dealers, Gulfland Marine from Whangaparaoa and Kev and Ian’s Marine Services from Manurewa, and we’ve talked with a few people who are very keen to purchase a Stabicraft – one for our larger 26 footer and a couple of smaller ones,” says McColl.
Stabicraft is New Zealand’s largest exporter of aluminium boats and marketing manager Daniel Upperton says they’re seeing strong domestic and international interest in their most recent model, the 1600 Fisher Carbon Series.
“A 16 foot boat is the most popular size, ideal to be used by two or even one person. We’re delighted by the volume of sales for the 1600 Fisher series which is the world’s first aluminium trailerboat manufacturer to incorporate resin-infused carbon fibre within its construction,” Upperton says.
Hawke’s Bay-based Profile Boats, manufactured by Firman Marine, has also attracted a lot of attention at this year’s show. Sales manager Steve Butler says: “We’re the only people to use a D-shaped pontoon in the hull construction which has helped our boats become known for their soft and dry ride compared to some of our competitors. We have a number of strong leads to follow up with after the show and will also continue to explore further export opportunities having recently sent our first Profile craft to Sydney.”
Lance Fink of Hamilton’s Tristram Marine, one of the top two or three fibreglass trailer powerboat manufacturers in New Zealand, has 13 boats on display at the Auckland On Water Boat Show with a combined retail value of $2.28 million.
“This show has the right atmosphere; we’re delighted with the very strong leads gained in the first day and a half of the show and we’ve got a lot of quotes to do next week,” Fink says. “We’re seeing that some people are looking to a large trailerboat, rather than a launch – there’s less maintenance and they’re out on the water quickly. For our popular models we’re taking orders for production after Christmas and see that our most recent model, the 701 Offshore and Vanquish models are selling particularly well.”
As well as the huge array of trailer powerboats on display, the Auckland On Water Boat Show visitors can go aboard more than 80 sail and motor yachts on the purpose-built marina and see a wide array of inboard and outboard engines, safety equipment, electronics and navigation systems, fishing equipment, kayaks and paddleboards, marine chandlery and more at the show. A free seminar series offers advice on preparing yachts for offshore cruising, how to get into sailing, fishing tips and kayak fishing.
The show continues on Saturday and Sunday with doors opening at 10am each day. Tickets are available online from iTicket or at the gate.