Dickson Marine negotiates sale

The sale of Nelson boatbuilding firm Dickson Marine Refits is close with talks progressing among parties interested in the business, general manager Anita Gardner said.

The boatbuilding firm in Akersten St near the Nelson Marina was started by former Nelson yachtsman and boatbuilder Malcolm Dickson and his wife Joan in the 1980s. It also owns the Travelift and the dock servicing boat haulouts.

Dickson Marine employs 14 staff, who would be informed first before any public announcement of a sale, Ms Gardner said.

Boatbuilder Alister Dickson, brother of the company's founder, said it would be good to see the business continue as it serviced Nelson well, and because the boating community in Nelson continued to grow.

Mr Dickson said the boatbuilding industry had faced continual challenges since Dickson Marine started, including the changed market from New Zealand-built boats to the influx of imported yachts and launches.

"That switched the whole boating industry around. Twenty or 30 years ago the boating magazines were full of featured New Zealand boats built in yards around the country.

"Now those being featured are all foreign," Mr Dickson said.

The last New Zealand-designed yacht built by Dickson Marine was the Craig Loomes-designed D8 8-metre trailer yacht launched in February 2010.

The bulk of the work handled by Dickson Marine was repairs and refits.

The Nelson City Council, which owns the Nelson Marina, has recognised the marina's future development opportunities and its merits for attracting boats to the city to be serviced by the multiple marine related business surrounding the marina.

It is also taking steps to address an anomaly in use of part of the reclamation next to the marina in Akersten St, which prevents boat owners working on their own boats.

The council confirmed recently that under the existing setup people wanting to work on boats on the hardstand in that area had to work through the adjoining Dickson Marine, which leased a 10-metre strip of land outside its large yard from the council.

Dickson Marine was currently not in a position to allow people to work on their own boats in the council hardstand area.

Under the arrangement it had with the council, the company had to take responsibility for the work, which involved health and safety and resource consent issues.

It highlighted the urgency to get a publicly available hardstand in operation as soon as possible, and this was under way, the council said recently.

City council community services co-portfolio holder councillor Pete Rainey said the council was mindful of the marina and associated hardstand area.

"We are still under obligation through the resource consent granted, when that land was developed, to provide a hardstand area and how we do that remains to be seen," Mr Rainey said.

The Nelson Mail