The “Innovation Nation” for Marine Technology

Boxfish Luna – Photo courtesy Boxfish Research

Published June 21, 2021 1:42 PM by


The ocean has been a natural playground for generations of New Zealanders. With over a third of the population participating in boating each year, coupled with our undeniable love for the ocean, New Zealanders are true ocean enthusiasts. This mindset has contributed to New Zealand’s long history of innovation in the industry. The New Zealanders were the first in the world to pioneer waterjet propulsion, and they were the first to develop the technology to turn all-terrain vehicles into ocean-going speedboats, among many other innovations.

Photo courtesy of Hamilton Jet

Why choose the innovation nation?

New Zealanders never settle for less, and our marine products and services are no exception. Our willingness to take innovation to the next level – from boat building and sail building to electronics and equipment hardware – has earned us worldwide recognition. With our constant commitment to research and development, prototyping and testing, we continue to work tirelessly to turn our ideas into reality.

Our world-leading technology is the result of our shipping industry, the largest and most specialized manufacturing industry in New Zealand. The sector extends beyond manufacturing to include research and education, construction and tourism. New Zealand’s shipping industry currently has sales of $ 2 billion and over 10,000 employees, and is expected to double in size over the next 10 to 15 years.

Innovative kiwi company like Hamilton Jet, Marine Flex, Sealegs and Stabicraft have been at the forefront of technological advancement in the shipping industry for decades. In the 1950s, Sir William Hamilton of Hamilton Jet pioneered waterjet propulsion. Paul Adams and Bruce Dickens from Stabicraft built the first aluminum chamber boat with a rigid hull in 1987. Marine Flex is the industry leader in screw anchoring systems and resilient anchoring, and Sealegs is known worldwide for its patented amphibious ships.

Sealegs Sport RIB – Photo courtesy Sealegs

Stabicraft 2250 Ultra Centercab – Photo courtesy of Stabicraft

Another class

Driven by the environment we patrol, New Zealand has an impeccable reputation for high-performing coastal commercial patrols, search and rescue boats, and security vehicles and technology used by the Coast Guard, Navy, Fire Service and Police in a number of coastal areas around the world. New Zealand’s willingness to explore new frontiers in marine innovation, which encompasses everything from boat building and sail building to electronics and equipment hardware, has earned New Zealand worldwide recognition. With our advanced marine technologies, we are constantly working to make people on and near the water safer.

Technology leader like Vesper Marine and Navicom Dynamics use this environment to make boating safer. Vesper Marine has revolutionized the use of AIS and communication systems for a safer boating experience. Navicom Dynamics is a global leader in the precise positioning and orientation technology and surveillance systems market. They are known for specialized pilot and navigation systems, customizable docking aids, and bespoke GNSS technology applications for maritime navigation.

World-leading technology, user-centric design

You are never more than 80 miles from the sea in the island nation of New Zealand, whose legacy in boat building has spawned a new generation of technological advances. These advances are often practical solutions for today’s boaters and boat builders. Vetus Maxwell has been developing reliable and attractive anchoring solutions for pleasure boats, superyachts and merchant ships for over forty years. Bowmaster developed state-of-the-art anchoring solutions from the early 1970s and has worked with some of the largest boat builders in the industry. For nearly 50 years, Manson Anchors have manufactured some of the most reliable and innovative anchors on the market.

Anchor Delivery Cart – Photo courtesy Bowmaster

Developed for extremes, built for safety

For commercial or recreational markets, we pride ourselves on testing, refining and perfecting our marine products – making them some of the most reliable and long-lasting in the world. They were designed and built to function in the harsh conditions of the Southern Ocean, and if they work here, they will work anywhere. Everything is created by and for the world’s most passionate marine enthusiasts, which is why we do the highest security standards.

Take Propspeed, for example. The Propspeed coating system is the industry leader in foul-release coatings and is recognized worldwide as the best protection against marine growth and contamination of propellers, landing gears and other underwater metals. Tru Design specializes in the development, manufacture and marketing of high quality marine valves, skin fittings, hose nozzles and other products. The marine division of McKay, one of the world’s leading marine electronics companies, is the market leader in its segment and has added value to many complex and unique marine projects around the world. Boxfish Research set out to create a better ROV and they did just that by producing one that was lightweight, easy to use, and easy to deploy, combined with unmatched image quality, maneuverability, range and depth.

Propspeed – Photo courtesy of Propspeed

This article is sponsored by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), the New Zealand government’s international business development agency. For more information on New Zealand marine products, services and expertise, or to get in touch with us, learn more by clicking Here.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.