Whether you are a current boat owner (or perhaps in the market) there is a vast array of models to choose from. Matthew Willet of MW Marine has been in the boating industry for over fifteen years and has worked with both local Australian boat builders and international brands on both traditional yachts and power boats. Here, he shares his thoughts on the growth of the power boat market, particularly in Australia and why newer models are better adapted to Australian conditions.

The power boat market appears to be showing consistent growth – how is this trend reflected in Australia?

The best indication is to look at the manufacturers worldwide: most big companies now hold a number of sail and power brands. The Beneteau Group for example recognised a few years ago that while they held the market share for sail boats, there was an opportunity to expand into the power boat market. They invested in established brands such as Four Winns and in markets including America which showed early signs of recovery.

In Australia, the market has recovered in the $0-350k sector but people are time poor – small powerboats are becoming a real option and lend themselves well to Sydney’s harbours and inlets.

What kinds of functionality are we seeing in the newer models (for greater fuel efficiency, lower engine noise etc?)

From my observation it is all about weight and fuel efficiency. The POD drive concept is revolutionary in this industry but it’s a complete package. You combine infused and injection-moulded technology to get more precise boat weights, which means they are ultimately lighter. A lighter weight, combined with smaller engines means that less fuel is required to get the same range. The power-to-weight equation is very precise in this day and age.

What are the ‘non-negotiables’ I should be considering when buying a used/second hand model?

A proper survey is essential. Depending on the size of the boat, you might pay $1,000 to $3,000 but it’s a worthwhile investment. You can very easily run up $3, 000 worth of repairs on a boat.

What are the most common features your customers look for when buying a new power boat / motor cruiser (speed, water holding tank size, engine access etc)

Buyers these days are a lot more savvy coming into the process: they have already considered how they plan to use the boat – as a family, as a fishing vessel and so on. The layout of the boat is also a big factor, especially for overnight cruisers. It’s so important to find the right boat that fits with the buyers’ lifestyle.

Above all, good service history on a second hand boat is a must for a buyers’ peace of mind.