The City of Cape Town has announced a range of measures to support the local boat building industry to position it as a premier global hub for this fast-growing industry.
Cape Town is the largest boat building city in South Africa and the second largest producer of recreational catamarans globally.
“Cape Town’s boat building industry has grown by 28.8 per cent year-on-year since 2012,” the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, James Vos, said at an event this week. “The industry exports 90 per cent of the products produced and attracts a positive trade balance of around US$73 million (over R1 billion) annually.
“The 40-plus boat yards and 3,500 specialist staff produce award-winning super-yachts,” he said. “The city is home to 70 per cent of South Africa’s boat builders.”
Vos said the City was keen to support sectors such as the boat building sector to facilitate accelerated economic growth, job creation and economic inclusion through skills development.
“In fact, during our recent mission to the United States, we collaborated with SABBEX/Boating South Africa and the South African Embassy to promote Cape Town’s boat building sector at the Miami International Boat Show,” Vos said.
“We have commissioned research into the boat building economy that will be completed in May 2019. This will give us a clearer picture of how best to intervene in the 11 sub-sectors for better growth, job creation, training and sustainability.”
The City said that boat building was an important sector to the local economy and city leaders saw the Mother City as the hub for the sector in South Africa.
“About 85 per cent of all national boat builders are located in the Western Cape, with the bulk of the industry being based in and around the metro.”
According to SABBEX, the boat building industry is worth R1,4 billion annually while it is estimated ocean sports can bring in R1,2 billion per year.
According to the City, every year close to 200 cruising yachts passes around the Cape from the Indian Ocean en-route to the Caribbean.
“This cruising community is very close-knit and positive sentiment spreads fast. Therefore, it is important for all of us to work together to tap into this market,” Vos added. “We know that investors look for a clean government partner that is reliable and provides an enabling environment for businesses to develop, grow and create jobs.
“In Cape Town, we also know that just providing clean governance and basic services is not enough. We are proactively assisting with skills development and the expansion of key catalytic sectors that are positioned to grow and stimulate job creation.”
Vos said the engagement with the local boat building industry under the banner of Invest Cape Town allowed for discussions on how best to support the industry, including skills development and access to land.
He added that the City would look to attract more boat manufacturing opportunities to Cape Town that are geared to the European market, secure new orders for catamarans to give the local manufacturers a welcome boost, and to forge closer ties with American boat show organisers.
Local boat building outfit Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing, founded in 1989, has evolved into one of South Africa’s leading custom catamaran manufacturing yards and one of a handful of big custom catamaran manufacturers in the world.
The company manufactures both power and sailing catamarans, ranging in size from 7.3-35m – for cruising, leisure, day charter and commercial use.
With 30 years’ experience in quality boat building, the staff and production team at Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing are actively involved in all sailing, boating, fishing and watersport activities and share a wealth of knowledge and experience in all aspects of the sport – and the boats used.
The company developed from humble beginnings, as an extension to a petrol service station, into a fully-fledged design and manufacturing facility for ocean-going craft, with 4,500 square meters of covered factory floor space on two different premises, one in Cape Town harbour and the other 3km from the harbour.
Two Oceans Marine Manufacturing spearheaded the introduction of power catamarans to the Cape Town market, and today, the local tuna fishing fleet consists almost exclusively of power catamarans.
According to the company, extensive testing is performed on all new production boats, prior to the completion of moulds.
“We are fortunate to have on our doorstep access to some of the most demanding sea conditions the world has to offer in the seas of Cape Town in which to perform these tests,” the company said. “Potential clients can fly to Cape Town, sea trial the vessel of their choice, visit the factory to witness the building methods, and the materials used in production, customise their choice of vessel, and then fly home on the same day.
“Completed vessels are launched and sea trialled within a short distance of the factory, thereby saving time and unnecessary expense on travel.”