Boat building empire began over lunch

Boat manufacturer recalls start

NICCI MCDOUGALL
Last updated 05:00 24/07/2014
Stabicraft owners
NICCI MCDOUGALL/Fairfax NZ
WORK MATES: Stabicraft Marine managing director Paul Adams, left, and Southern retail sales and service manager Adam Marshall in a 5m 1650 Fisher built by Marshall.

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It started as a two-man job after a friendly chat in a lunch room and now it's boats are found in waters worldwide.

Stabicraft Marine is now the largest boat manufacturer in the south and a successful exporter.

Stabicraft Marine Ltd was built from the ground up by Paul Adams and Bruce Dickens.

The company will be one of the exhibitors at The Southland Times Boat Show Southland on August 9 and 10. It will also display eight boats, the latest electronics and Yamaha outboards.

In 1986, Adams and Dickens were in the lunch room of a Bluff business they worked for chatting with two commercial paua fishermen who were complaining about faults with their rubber inflatable boats.

The idea of an aluminium boat was mentioned, Adams said.

For the next six to eight months, after work, Adams and Dickens started working on how they could put the boats together and in 1987 they moved into a building on Anon St.

Stabicraft was born.

The pair produced about 75 boats, mainly 3.5m dinghies, in the first eight months and, as demand continued to grow, it moved into its building on the Bluff Highway, he said.

The company has since expanded to 54 staff including design and production teams and has 22 different models of unique aluminium boats from 14 feet to 29 feet.

The boats are built and sent to countries throughout the world including America and Australia. The company, which has reinvented its range to reflect customer demand, has 28 dealers.

"We've endured the test of time," Adams said.

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