Don and Tony Jarratt started their boat building business as a sideline to the existing family business over 35 years ago. Their ambition to do so was brought about by a long time passion for boating and a need to have something different that would cater for their requirements.
Austral Marine CC was started in 1986 as a joint manufacturing facility for the Angler and Ace Craft range of boats. Unfortunately that partnership, because of the differing requirements and approach, was soon terminated and Austral Marine continued with production of the Angler range under the ownership and management of Don and Tony. At the same time an association, which lasted for many years, was started with Waterworld and Ronnie Arenson, who were already established as a leading Angler dealer, to develop and manufacture the Viking range of boats. This was a very successful relationship, for both parties, that lasted many years.
Jason Price joined Austral in 1987 and has been an invaluable part of the team ever since, after an initial learning period soon moving to a management role. Some years later he became a shareholder and has gained the respect of his colleagues and other people across the boating industry.
In 2001 the relationship with Yamaha SA was further strengthened when we started to build a limited range of exclusive boats for them, marketed through their dealer network as completely rigged packages. This proved to be an extremely successful venture, both for Yamaha and Austral. The Angler range continued to evolve and grow, not only in size but in quality and brand strength, due to an expanding base of satisfied customers who understood their value, quality and their ability to retain value over long periods. A very important factor in this growth and success must be attributed to the fact that we have had the help and loyalty of some of the most respected dealerships in the country, some of whom have been with us for the whole trip. The added bonus of years of existence and success has been that we have built up a team of skilled, loyal and committed staff who have also been with us for 15 years and more in many cases – some in excess of 25 years.
Austral do most of their own work in-house which includes trailers, stainless fittings, windscreens and upholstery. This ensures that we are able to put everything of the best, over which we have total control, into our finished product.
The recession which started in 2008 had a severe effect on our industry and consequently much of the planned work on model upgrades and new addition had to be put on hold. This is a situation which has not improved much in the ensuing years but we have never faltered in our mission to build the best quality and give the best service.
In October 2016, after lengthy negotiations, an acquisition was finalised which has put Austral Marine under the ownership of the Nautic Africa Group of Companies. This is fantastic news for Austral, and the brand and our customers, as it will give us access to vastly improved resources in all spheres of operation. It will ensure that we are also involved in production of GRP components for their large vessels – this will give us more knowledge an access to the most modern equipment, which will be utilised to every advantage where it can add quality. Their large market area will enable us to tap into export markets in which they already have established bases of operation and relationships.
We see this next stage in the life of Austral Marine as being exciting both for us and our loyal Angler supporters – we aim to be even better that we have ever been and to take on the best that the world has to offer. The entire staff and management team will still be on board but supported and encouraged by James Fisher and the amazing team that he has built up – James does have a real passion for boating himself.