Last updated on December 2, 2022
Cape Town’s marine manufacturing industry is all set for a bustling 2023 with local producers reporting record order numbers from international buyers.
‘Ocean activity is a significant contributor to the local and global economy with more than 90% of global trade taking place on sea routes. In Cape Town specifically, the coastline around the metro contributes almost R40 billion to GDP per annum. With marine manufacturing specifically, 70% of South Africa’s products in 2020 were made in the Western Cape. There continues to be an incredible demand for Cape-made boats with Robertson and Caine confirming that they have received enough catamaran orders for every day of 2023,’ said Alderman James Vos, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth.
Robertson and Caine has designed its smallest catamaran yet – the solar-powered Leopard 40 – which will debut at the 2023 Miami Boat Show, the biggest boat event in the world. They are the third-largest catamaran builder in the world and manufactures the most power catamarans globally.
Another top company based in Cape Town is Voyage Yachts, who manufactures bespoke catamarans. One of the earliest catamaran producers in the city, Voyage Yachts has developed several new designs that have regularly won international awards. The latest is the prestigious 2022 Cruising World Boat of the Year award for ‘Best Charter Boat’ for their Voyage 590.
Cape expertise is similarly sought-after when it comes to Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIBs) with local brands such as Gemini Marine producing for rescue and military organisations all over the world, including Olympic Games Security, the Australian Defence Force and State Emergency Services, the New Zealand Navy, and the United Nations. Last year, Gemini signed a contract with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to build the recovery boats for astronauts coming back to earth from the International Space Station.
‘As demand grows, so too is the need for an ever-expanding skilled workforce. This is one of the major reasons why the City has invested in the Blue Cape initiative. This specialised entity, a partnership with the V&A Waterfront, focuses on research and skills development in all areas of marine manufacturing, including boat-building, superyachts, and ocean sports, and how that links to related industries,’ said Alderman Vos.
He noted that the industry presented a variety of job opportunities for people of different interests, such as engineering, architecture, or design.
‘Ullman Sails, for example, is the Cape Town-based arm of a global company that has cut and sewn sails for more than 100 mega-yachts and built over 80 000 sails of various types for everything from cruising to racing. Through partnerships led by the City, we can reach new heights with Cape Town’s ocean economy while helping more Capetonians to source jobs,’ said Alderman Vos.
Source: City Of Cape Town