The Australian and international luxury boating industry has experienced a lot of changes over the decades, facing both good times and challenging, and none more so than in the current climate internationally so what is it that has helped it survive and prosper?
Boating is an emotional past time..a time to share with families, a time to be at one with nature and some say, a time to be at peace, but the choices that face prospective boat owners are immense and that is one of the challenges the industry in general has to deal with.
Many manufacturers have fallen by the wayside over the decades while others have gone to on flourish establishing international brand recognition and generating strong sales year on year.
What is it that boat buyers want, what is it that will create the broadest appeal, how do you deliver a quality product that will be readily accepted by the marketplace? These are all questions that have to be answered on a daily basis by luxury boat manufacturers in order to stay profitable and deliver a product that in most cases is one of the largest purchasers many individuals will make aside from their own homes.
There have been lot of changes in the luxury motor yacht manufacturing sector over several decades and the industry today is more customer focussed than at any time in the past.
One of the biggest changes in the sector in recent years had been defining the customer’s expectation in terms of the fit out and finish of vessels and the overall look and feel of the interiors of boats.
In a nutshell the entire industry has had to become more in tune with what the customer’s expectations are and then deliver on those expectations. Customer feedback, research and listening carefully to what the market wants are key to success nowadays. You cannot just assume you know what the customer wants and deliver something that you are happy with, but not what they are seeking. It’s about gauging expectations and wants and then delivering on that.
In an industry that by national standards would be considered ’boutique’ boat manufacturing in Australia has punched well above its weight on the international stage.
One of the people who has seen firsthand the highs and lows of the industry over several deacdes is Maritimo’s general manager operations Phil Candler.
Candler has worked side by side with Maritimo’s founder, Bill Barry-Cotter for decades and he says the Maritimo product of today is up there with the best in the world in terms of quality, design, seakeeping ability safety and economy.
While on a world stage the Australian boat manufacturing industry is still small, but its reputation is gaining in stature each year. Australia is starting to turn heads and demand is strong as more and more people recognise just how good our product is.
The expectation is high, but Australia is more than meeting that challenge and there’s a view that local made vessels are Aussie tough and serious boats that can handle virtually any conditions and deliver their owners in safety and comfort across long passages.
Candler says that Maritimo vessels of today are of the highest global standards and compared to 10 years ago have superior and higher levels of refinement, design, engineering, manufacturing and seaworthiness.
The industry overall has seen a much higher focus on environmental manufacturing practices across the board with everything manufacturers do having a much greater environmental focus. Manufacturing systems, plants and people in the industry are all more environmentally focussed and that’s a great thing both for the environment and the people who work in this sector.
(Phil Candler & Bill Barry-Cotter)
Candler’s passion in the industry his also highly focussed on the next generation of boat builders. He is at the forefront of Maritimo’s apprenticeship program and manages the mentoring and training of the company’s large apprentice cohort.
The biggest opportunity at Maritimo and in the industry generally is in the development and guiding of the younger generation of boating industry workers.
Maritimo has some of the highest educated young people ever involved in its program and they are developing the skills that will equip the industry well into the future. ”
These are young adults who could really be going into any field and they have their sights set high which is great.
“It is our duty to protect and foster that enthusiasm and it is something I cherish greatly, ” he said.
Some of our young people have already said they have eyes on the jobs of us old guys so that’s great.”
Asked how he would sum up Maritimo’s ongoing success Candler said it was an unwavering commitment to strive for perfection at each level of the business on a daily basis and to continually seek improvements no matter how small.
“Others may say they do this, but in reality, it is often just a corporate philosophical motherhood statement, whereas here at Maritimo we actually do this on a daily basis. “We work closely as a team and everything is reviewed with everyone’s opinions and suggestions valued and the sum total of all those parts is a very polished, customer focussed business. “We have our best years ahead of us.”
Luxury motor yachts are an inspirational dream for many people worldwide and the lifestyle such ownership provides is without peer. To join that world and experience firsthand the enjoyment it provides is a privilege and a pleasure.