Stabicraft Company History

THE BEGINNING

In a backstreet workshop in Invercargill, in 1987, Paul Adams and Bruce Dickens build the first rigid hulled aluminium chambered boat - a Stabicraft 3.5 dinghy called the ‘Ally Duck’. Later that year the operation moves to leased premises at 345 Bluff Highway, Invercargill and has remained there ever since.

1988

The Powerboat Centre in Christchurch becomes the first Stabicraft dealer.

The first Stabicraft are exported to British Columbia in Canada. The initial shipment is two dinghies and three runabouts.

1991

Stabicraft buy the premises at 345 Bluff Highway, Invercargill.

1992

Thanetcraft Aluminium Boats are licensed to build Stabicraft in the UK where they are sold and marketed under the Thanetcraft brand.

1994

Stabicraft boats are first exported to a distributor in the USA.

Stabicraft boats are first exported to Australia.

1996

Stabicraft unveils the 550XC - the forerunner for the XR Sport range. It is the first Stabi built for the family and recreational market. Until then the range was aimed at fishermen, divers and commercial operators.

1997

Stabicraft attains New Zealand Way brand accreditation. The brand was developed in 1993 as a joint initiative of NZ Tourism and Tradenz as a mark of quality, excellence and environmental responsibility.

The Generation II pontoon is launched. The first major design change in a decade, it represents a turning point, allowing for more streamlined silhouettes for boats, better functionality and greater appeal in the recreational market.

1998

Trans Tasman Marine is appointed as Stabicraft distributors in Australia. This opens the Australian market and introduces the brand to the United Nations and aid relief agencies.

Stabicraft appoints its first Australian dealers.

Sean McColl is appointed the company's first sales manager.

Two executive directors join the board - Ian Morrison of Ian Morrison and Associates Auckland, who brings expertise in marketing and distribution, and John Walley of LJC Associates Christchurch, whose specialty is production and process.

The Stabicraft 630HT wins the best fishing boat in show at the Auckland Boat Show.

1999

Stabicraft donate 4.3 metre and 5.15 metre cabin boats to the Free Willy Keiko Foundation to help return the captured orca to freedom in Iceland waters.

Stabicraft splits its range into distinct models launching the Fisher and XR Sport at its inaugural sales conference – where 18 dealers turn up for a one-and-a-half day seminar to learn more about Stabicraft Marine's positive buoyancy boats and revise marketing systems.

Stabicraft supplies the gate prize to the New Zealand Boat show - a 580 HT.

The Jean-Michel Cousteau Oceanographic Institute buys a 630HT for its research facility in California.

2001

St Johns Ambulance take to the water at the America's Cup in Auckland Harbour in a Stabicraft 703HT.

Stabicraft partners the Southern Institute of Technology to put aluminium-alloy boat building firmly on the trades' agenda in Southland.

The completion of the phase one factory upgrade doubles manufacturing capacity, raising it to 500 boats a year.

Stabicraft adopts the CPC compliance plate - an independent quality control standard approved by the Coast Guard and MIA (Marine Industry Association).

2002

Stabicraft introduces the top dealer award at its second sales conference. The winner is Leeon Johnston of Totally Boating, Motueka.

Stabicraft appoints Dan Lomax as its manufacturer's representative in the USA having been disappointed by previous attempts to secure licensing agreements in the states in the mid 1990s.

2003

Stabicraft staff numbers hit 50.

Stabicraft Marine achieves Workplace Safety Management Practice primary level.

A customised 14-metre Stabicraft, ‘Delphienidae’, built for Dolphin Encounter Kaikoura becomes the largest Stabicraft built. Too big for the doors, the rear wall is taken off the factory to get the boat out.

2004

Renee and Rob Hook of Adventure Marine in NSW take the dealer honours at the Stabicraft sales conference.

Doug Jukes is the first Stabicraft apprentice to achieve his Boat Building Certificate from the Boating Industry Training Organisation.

Stabicraft registers and complies with the Australian Builders Plate level flotation standards - it's the first manufacturer to sign up for the standards that become mandatory in 2006.

2005

Stabicraft 609HT wins best aluminium boat at the Otago Boat and Outdoor Show.

Stabicraft appoints Leeon Johnston as its first Australian sales manager.

New Caledonian dealer appointed.

Stabicraft opens a $1 million building upgrade which includes expanded workshop, office and show room. The expansion marks an increase in production capacity to 1000 boats per year on a single shift.

Lindsay Deegan Marine of Tasmania wins the dealer award at Stabicraft's biennial sales conference.

Matt Watson officially comes on board as sponsor for the brand; he has used Stabicraft for years beforehand.

2006

The Stabicraft 609HT wins Aluminium Boat of the Show at the Christchurch Boat Show. Stabicraft Marine is recognised by the Southland Chamber of Commerce Export Forum as Exporter of the Year.

2007

Stabicraft Marine managing director Paul Adams is named a member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to business.

Stabicraft first uses the Autodesk Inventor 3D modelling software on the new 759SC Sport G3. It replaces the AutoCAD 3D system that has been in place since 2001.

2008

Stabicraft Marine builds a second factory (for larger, custom boats) and dedicated service centre on its Bluff Highway site. The company also installs the largest CNC router in the country with a 14m bed.

The Stabicraft 759 SC Sport is launched with the revolutionary Gen 3 pontoon, which, coupled with slight hull modifications, gives improved on-water performance. It's the first boat designed with multiple options that can be retrospectively fitted, adding value to the second-hand market. Matt Watson takes delivery of the first one.

Stabicraft supply Doc Warner’s lodge in Alaska with eight 589 Frontier Alaskan Specials purpose built for the US lodge market style of fishing.

2010

Stabicraft host the Australian and NZ dealers at a conference at Lake Hawea in Central Otago. The dealers get to try out the new 2150 Supercab and the beginning of the new Frontier range in the form of the 1720 which later becomes the popular 1750 Frontier.

2011

The 1850 Supercab with Game Chaser Transom and Arrow Pontoons marks a major design change at Stabicraft. These two aspects of the hull greatly improve the way Stabi’s ride and perform.

2012

The 1650 Fisher is released into the wild.

Since its release it has become the highest selling model for Stabicraft. It moves away from the recent Fisher style of fibreglass cabin tops to all alloy cabins on these sized boats.

2013

Nicky Sinden becomes a new sponsor for Stabicraft allowing the company to reach a different demographic of fishermen.

2014

This was big year for Stabicraft with multiple milestones.

Most importantly Ken Stenton, one of our top welders, was the first staff member to reach 20 years at Stabicraft! Ken is widely known to sport some terrific flannel work-wear in a variety of different shades of red.

Stabicraft and Sealegs joined in creating the 2100 Supercab ST.

We took on our first African dealership in Zambezi Marine and a new dealer in Tahiti.

It was a big year for Stabicraft in the commercial sector as well with eight 6.9m boats going up to Northern Territory Police and nine 8.8m boats going to the Australian Federal Police in Honiara.

TODAY

First dealer conference held since 2010 where Australian, New Caledonian and Kiwi dealers converge on Invercargill to discuss the release of the new Project Carbon Series of boats.

Nowadays, our boats are found in waters worldwide. We have standard models across four ranges - the original Fishers, the recreational Sports XRs, the robust Frontiers and our all-weather Supercabs. Around 600 boats are turned out from our Invercargill, New Zealand factory every year thanks to a dedicated staff of 70. Our global team features 16 dealers in New Zealand, 14 in Australia, three in the US, one in Canada and one in New Caledonia.