Stabicraft Company History
Check out this piece of archived footage we dug out for our 30th Anniversary. This historic video content was originally put together by a Canadian film crew who were showcasing the fundamental pillars Stabicraft boats were built on. Safety, strength and performance are critical elements built into every vessel ensuring our customers can Adventure with Confidence every time.
THE BEGINNING (1987)
In a backstreet workshop in Invercargill, New Zealand, 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.
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.
Stabicraft buy the premises at 345 Bluff Highway, Invercargill.
Thanetcraft Aluminium Boats are licensed to build Stabicraft in the UK where they are sold and marketed under the Thanetcraft brand.
Stabicraft boats are first exported to a distributor in the USA.
Stabicraft boats are first exported to Australia.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Matt Watson officially comes on board as sponsor for the brand; he has used Stabicraft for years beforehand.
Stabicraft 609HT wins best aluminium boat at the Otago Boat and Outdoor Show.
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.
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.
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.
Stabicraft Marine managing director Paul Adams is named a member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to business.
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.
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.
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.
The 1650 Fisher is released into the wild.
After the release it became one of the highest selling Stabicraft models. It moves away from the recent Fisher style of fibreglass cabin tops to all alloy cabins on these sized boats.
Nicky Sinden becomes a new sponsor for Stabicraft allowing the company to reach a different demographic of fishermen.
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 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.
Launch of the new look ‘Stabicraft’ brand and website.
1600 Fisher Carbon was released at the Hutchwilco Boat Show.
1600 Fisher Carbon wins 2015 Best Design Award.
Gene Denton from Whitiangler partners with Stabicraft as a brand ambassador and takes delivery of new 1850 Supercab.
Launch of the 2750 Centrecab after extensive collaboration with Matt Watson.
2016 marked the launch of the 2500 Ultracab, a collaborative design with our US dealers and customers.
Further success with the 1600 Fisher Carbon winning a ‘Red Dot Design Award’.
Three new 2100 Supercab’s delivered to the Tongan Water Police.
2016 ended with the launch of the new 1550 Fisher in November.
2016 marked the launch of the 2500 Ultracab, a collaborative design with our US dealers and customers.
2017 marks Stabicrafts 30th anniversary which was celebrated with the release of 3 limited edition models.
Scandinavian dealership opens in Sweden.
2100 Supercab wins the Captain Magazine’s 6.5m alloy shootout judged by the owners of competitors boats.
Stabicraft partners up with The Hunters Club, Zeikel Tackle and Joseph Parker.
Another Matt Watson collaboration resulted in the launch of the 1550 Frontier labelled “the ultimate fishing small boat’.
The first edition of the StabiMag was released. The magazine showcases owners stories and behind the scenes insights into Stabicraft as well as a complete buyers guide of all current models.
The magazine is now at Issue #3, released yearly.
After two years in the design stage, Stabicraft manufactured its first 2250 Centrecab’s which were scheduled for release at the Hutchwilco Boat Show in May. The 2250 Centrecab revolutionised the trailer boat industry with its innovative 360° walk-around design. This feature combined with its staunch, aggressive, sharp lines were a hit with boating industry and boaters around the world. So much so that it took out the “All Purpose Family Boat Up to 7 Metres” category
Another substantial milestone at the Hutchwilco Boat Show in May, CEO Paul Adams joined the ranks of the illustrious marine industry movers and shakers being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
November saw the release of the newly designed 1850 Fisher which undergone some serious innovation offering a package to suit everyone.
While 2020 has proven to be one of the most challenging in Stabi history, it has not been without its rewards, either. Stabicraft lost five weeks of precious manufacturing capacity due to the global pandemic however, we were also shown a lot of support for our brand through our sales and ambassador channels.
After a successful 30+ years at the helm, Paul Adams took a step back and passed the CEO duties over to David Glen, read his bio here.
We released two new models, the 1450 Series in March (pictured above), and the 2250 Ultracab WT (walk-thru) in November. The 1450 was released while in lockdown, and the model has since gone on to be a huge success with orders far exceeding our expectations.
34 years have passed since we first pioneered aluminium chambered boats through an end user design culture focused on both form and function. We’ve maintained our position as market innovators and leaders, delivering a safe, strong and high performing solution for recreational and commercial users.
Our boats can be found in waters all over the world performing in a wide range of different applications. We manufacture in excess of 1000 boats per annum from our New Zealand plant thanks to our dedicated staff of over 130 adventure engineers.
Our global team features 14 dealerships in New Zealand, 9 in Australia, 4 in the US, along with exclusive dealerships in New Caledonia and Sweden.