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Aquapro starts export push on yellow water taxis


Aquapro starts export push on yellow water taxis

The bustling yellow water taxis that have become an Auckland icon on the Waitemata Harbour are preparing to take on the world.

West-Auckland based boat manufacturer Aquapro International Ltd is putting its manufacturing and international marketing expertise behind the yellow water taxis and will take them to markets in Europe, North America and Asia.

Aquapro International managing director Paul Goddard says, ”The aim is to create an export demand for the water taxis that will see fleets operating in some of the world’s busiest harbours.”

The water taxis have also operated on Sydney Harbour since the Olympic Games.

Paul Goddard says: “They are very successful services that have become a common sight on both harbours. We see a fantastic export sales opportunity in many of the markets in which we already operate.“

Aquapro has established export markets in Australia, South-east Asia, Europe, the Mediterranean and North America, selling its RIB (rigid inflatable boats). “We already export 70% of the more than 1200 RIBs we build every year, from the 14 metre (46’) Raider RIB cabin boat to the 2.4 metre (7’11”) inflatable yacht tender.”

Paul Goddard says: “We have worked hard on designing and building rugged, reliable, quality vessels that are seaworthy, stable and reassuringly safe. Our products today are the result of more than 10 years of continuous hull design development and inflatable tube technology to produce the ultimate in yacht tenders and fast, tough workboats, like the Raider range.

The SeaCabs now in service in Auckland were designed, manufactured and operated by Watertours Ltd. That company will continue to operate the taxi services and Aquapro will manufacture and market the vessels.

The SeaCab Mk II is an excellent design, cost-effective to build and economical to operate. The 9 metre (29’7”) vessel is designed to carry 18 passengers at speeds up to 40 knots. It is purpose designed as passenger vessels on a GRP planing hull and a nine-chamber Hypalon inflatable tube.

The Auckland-based fleet was has no difficulty with the rougher waters of the inner Hauraki Gulf. The taxis operated successfully in demanding conditions during America’s Cup racing and for the Auckland restart of the Volvo Ocean race where sea-worthiness and manoeuvrability were paramount concerns in a confused seaway whipped up by thousands of spectator craft.

The standard roof protects passengers from sun and rain and high sides protect against spray. For total protection from sun, spray and wind, a fully enclosed model, with opening windows, is available with passengers comfortable behind a clear Perspex enclosure.

Power is provided by an outboard motor with a recommended minimum horsepower of 175 and recommended maximum of 400. A twin-rig option is available.

The SeaCab design is flexible. The vessels can operate as a taxi, ferry, dive charter, water tours and tenders for large vessels.

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