Barry 2019-05-17

"The New Zealand marine market at present is very steady, following three good years of growth and generally the industry is in an excellent position", says Peter Busfield, Executive Director of NZ Marine.

The marine industry means a lot to the New Zealand economy, more than any other country, as we only have a little over $4 million people, with an industry that has over $2 Billion turnovers, so our contribution to the overall economy is significant.

He adds that while the local market is steady right across all sectors, there are also some encouraging signs for exporters, more especially in the equipment and design areas.



Recent figures released by NZ Marine shows a continuous growth (2012‐2017) of new boat trailer registrations. For the 2018 year 8,538 boat trailers were registered, only 52 units less than the previous year's 8,590 registrations, a 1% decrease.

In 2018, the same as in the previous year, 94% of all new boat trailers registered in New Zealand were produced by domestic manufacturers - and only 6% were imported. The peak season for registrations is September through to December. During 2018, the vast majority of buyers (89%) chose to purchase brand‐new boat trailers (or buy new boats) rather than refurbishing an existing trailer/boat package and/or re‐registering existing boat trailers. For 2018, almost 40 % of all new trailer boat registrations were in the Auckland region, followed by Tauranga on 9% and both Hamilton and Christchurch with 8%.

There has been substantial growth in larger hardtop trailer boats from 7m-9m both in aluminium and fibreglass. Most manufacturers report a good sales year, and while the fibreglass trailer boat builders released exceptionally few new models, the same could not be said for the alloy boat builders. Not only did the market see established brands releasing new models through the years, but also the addition of new players. It is estimated there are over 60 alloy boat builders in New Zealand compared to less than ten fibreglass brands.

The aluminium boat market has grown substantially in the past few years with many companies enjoying increasing export orders, mainly to Australia and the South Pacific.

One of New Zealand's leading premium trailer boat builders, Tristram Marine, has according to Business Development Manager Tristram Fink enjoyed one of their best years ever.

"Interest going forward is unprecedented, and orders are already in Tristram Marine's system for December 2019 delivery.

"Tristram Marine's growth has resulted in the need for developing a brand new state-of-the-art and purpose-built Service Centre adjacent to our existing Service Centre, Showroom & Production Plant to further enhance owners' experiences and internal capabilities, adds Fink.

"Our points of difference include our use of CAD design and CNC moulding, combined with our direct-sales business model which enables owners to deal directly with our team, rather than relying on the traditional outsourced-sales model through a dealership network," says Fink.  

Imported boat sales have also benefited from a robust local economy with brands such as Grady White making a significant impact on the offshore fishing market, both in centre consoles and small cruisers. In the past few years, Stuart Arnold local agent for Grady White has seen a rise in not only enquiry levels but sales of this iconic US brand.

"Grady White's are unlike any brands made in New Zealand, and that's what makes them so appealing to serious boaties who appreciate not only high quality but also performance, both of which you get in a Grady", says Arnold.

Sports Marine is one of the countries longest established marine dealers and continued to post strong top-line growth for three consecutive years led by healthy demand for their premium offerings including Sea Ray, Boston Whaler, and the new distribution of Nimbus boats from Sweden.

"Sales over the last 12 months have increased by over 20 %, and we currently have the highest value of sold boats on order in the companies 40-year history", says Director, Ian Williamson. 

He said that with the great weather this past summer throughout much of New Zealand, has undoubtedly been a decisive factor driving sales and he believes that market demand over the next year or so will reflect modest growth. As a result, the company will continue to execute a strong overall marine strategy including the addition recently of Princess Motor Yachts to their premium portfolio.

RIB sales have also been active in 2018, from the smallest tenders and mid-range centre consoles from Kiwi brands such as Explorer, Seafarer and Southern Pacific through to 12m multi-engine RIBs from Protector and Naiad. There has also been a move into the RIB market by several leading GRP trailer boat builders, such as Buccaneer and Fi Glass who have taken stock hulls and wrapped them with inflatable collars. Sales for both have been steady. There are also a few new players in the market, such as King Watercraft and Tino that are both producing exceptionally high-quality boats for use as luxury tenders or sport boats.

Smuggler Boats has long had a strong reputation in the superyacht tender market, and this has carried through to trailered RHBs for both domestic and international markets. Their sales have increased by around 15% in the past year. (See Smuggler Sidebar)

New Zealand RIB brand Rayglass Protector is enjoying high levels of local and international sales powered, in part, by their selection as official patrol boats for two of the world's major sailing regattas.

As a result, Rayglass Protectors will play critical roles in both the 36th America's Cup in Auckland in 2021 and the inaugural Sail GP competition, in venues such as Sydney, San Francisco, New York, Cowes and Marseille.

"Over 40 Rayglass Protector RIBs, ranging from 9m to 12.5m in length, will be used as official patrol and support boats for the Prada Cup (the challenger series for America's Cup) and then for the America's Cup Match itself," says Dave Larsen, Rayglass Boats CEO. "Both defender, Emirates Team New Zealand, and the majority of the challenging syndicates have now selected Rayglass Protectors as their support boats."

Organisers of the new Sail GP competition, which sees racing between identical F50 catamarans, capable of speeds in excess of 50 knots, have also chosen Rayglass Protectors as their first response vessels. Each F50 will be accompanied around the race course by its own Rayglass 10m Protector centre console, a high speed, rough water capable and soft riding RIB able to keep up with the catamarans' electrifying speeds. Rayglass Protectors are also the support vessel of choice on the TP50 race circuit and are proving increasingly popular as superyacht tenders, as quick and comfortable transport for offshore island holiday homes and as fast pleasure cruisers and sports fishing boats.

"Forward sales projections are good, too," says Dave Larsen. "Our experience with previous high-profile regattas (such as the America's Cup regattas here in 2000 and 2003 and Valencia in 2007) shows that involvement in such highly publicised events acts as a powerful springboard for future sales."

Sealegs International, manufacturer of patented amphibious boats and amphibious enablement systems, has achieved some key milestones in the past 12 months.

In October, the company released a new prototype - the Sealegs Electric E4, a faster, more powerful amphibious craft combining advances in lithium battery and electric motor hub technology. This craft is the beginning of a new age in amphibious boating technology.

Just a few months ago, Sealegs completed delivery of three of its large-format amphibious systems, System 100, enabling three Naiad-design RHIBs in Australia with amphibious ability. The craft will be used for a new eco-tourism experience for up to 30 passengers per boat, the first time Sealegs System 100 has been used in a tourism application.

 "Demand for Sealegs amphibious boats continues to be strong both in New Zealand and globally, with notable growth in the uptake by US-based fire departments of Sealegs as a key part of their fleets as well as strong demand in recreational markets such as the UK and Australia", says Sealegs Digital Marketing Specialist Henry Moore.

It is estimated that the alloy trailer boat market makes up over 2/3rds of new boat sales and one of the market leaders is McLay Boats. Steve McLay reports that they have had a hectic 12 month both on the domestic front and export.

"We see a large increase in the hardtop market and a decrease in the cuddy cabin boat market, with all size hardtops increasing in popularity and I expect this trend to continue for at least another year", says McLay.

Exports of boats to Australia are continuing to grow steadily with the same hardtop trend emerging except for Northern Queensland where they sell a lot of Open Fortress models.

"We have just taken on a new Sydney dealer and with new features being added to the current range and the release of our new amphibious Raptor 741 we are expecting a very exciting and busy year or two coming up", says McLay. 


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