Stabicraft Marine managing director Paul Adams, in the company's Invercargill factory, as boat fabrication team leader Ken Stenton works on a vessel for an Australian client. Photo by Allison Beckham.
An Invercargill boat manufacturer is celebrating a $2 million
Australian Government supply contract and is confident it
will lead to more orders from state and federal agencies
across the Tasman.
Eight 6.9m-long ''Supercab'' commercial vessels, each worth
about $250,000, left the Stabicraft Marine Ltd factory a
month ago, managing director Paul Adams said yesterday.
They were undergoing water tests in Brisbane before being
trucked to Darwin to boost the Northern Territory Police,
Fire and Emergency Service's fleet, he said.
Carrying a crew of two, they would patrol waters from the
Western Australia border to the Queensland border - a
coastline of 10,953km - undertaking harbour and remote police
operations, search and rescue missions, fisheries
enforcement, and marine safety compliance.
It was the latest ''coup'' in a series of builds for
Australian agencies over the past six years, Mr Adams said.
''We won our first contract with Australian Customs and
Border Protection Service in 2008 and sent more boats to them
in 2009 and 2010.
''Now they are using 19.''
Stabicraft vessels were also used in Australia for duties as
diverse as coastguard patrols along the Victorian coast,
water police patrols in New South Wales, and crocodile
relocations for the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife
Commission, Mr Adams said.
The breakthrough for his company came when the customs and
border protection boats met stringent Australian Maritime
Safety Authority standards and the Australian National
Standard for Commercial Vessels.
That involved ticking off a long list of requirements, as
well as an inspection of the boats and the factory by an
Australian naval architect, he said.
''Now we can show we can meet those standards, we are picking
up regular contracts with Australian agencies and expect that
The Australian agencies also liked Stabicraft's
''all-in-one'' package which included boat, motor,
electronics, trailer and after-sales service, he said.
Mr Adams and a business partner who is no longer with the
company started Stabicraft 27 years ago, after a request from
two paua divers operating from Bluff.
''Their rubber inflatable was proving unreliable ... in
Foveaux Strait, so we came up with the idea of replicating a
rubber pontoon in aluminium.''
While new shapes and designs had been added over the years,
all vessels still had the same pontoon safety collar and
flotation chamber design, which Mr Adams said added rigidity
''Our boats [are] very well respected globally, as capable
off-shore work vessels. We design Stabicrafts to handle tough
seas with confidence. It's great to see large organisations
like the Northern Territory Police Fire and Emergency
Services recognising this.''
The company exported its first boats 26 years ago, to Canada,
and has sent vessels as far away as Alaska and Burma.
More boats were now sold overseas annually than in New
Zealand and there was plenty of work to keep the staff of 54
That was pleasing, he said, as 13 staff were made redundant
in 2009 because of the global financial crisis and depressed