McLay Boats – Company Profile

by Holly Dukeson

Established in 1981 by Steve McLay, Mclay Boats has evolved from a small engineering company in the remote town of Milton, New Zealand, into one of the country's most respected manufacturers of high-quality aluminium boats. With over four decades of experience, McLay Boats boasts a diverse range of 18 models, extending its dealership network in NZ and Australia.


Steve McLay, the visionary founder, started his career as a fitter and welder at the age of 15. Over the years, he transitioned from Toko Engineering to Toko Engineering & Marine, ultimately leading to the establishment of McLay Boats. His dedication to innovation is evident in the company’s diverse range, which spans from 4.6 meters to 11 meters. In 2021 Steve was inducted into the New Zealand Boat Show Hall of Fame.


McLay Boats, under Steve’s leadership, has been at the forefront of innovation. In 2018, the company ventured into building amphibious boats using the Tectrax system, showcasing a commitment to pushing boundaries while ensuring optimal performance. Steve’s support for apprenticeships, including the first female boat builder apprentice in New Zealand, demonstrates a commitment to skill development and diversity.


Beyond business success, McLay Boats is deeply ingrained in the local community. Steve McLay’s involvement in the Milton Rotary, the Rotary Tramping Club, and support for the Milton Boat Club exemplifies the company’s commitment to community development. Additionally, Steve’s volunteer work at the local prison further underscores McLay Boats’ dedication to social responsibility. Steve also has a love for speed and greatly enjoys racing his special Corvette, which regularly proves capable of completing a 10-second quarter-mile!


McLay Boats prioritizes safety, functionality, and comfort, resulting in solidly built boats that cater to serious recreational and fishing enthusiasts. The company’s boats are renowned for their quality workmanship, functionality, and value for money.


The company’s product range spans from 4.6 meters to 11 meters, offering a boat for every need. McLay fishing boats come with a comprehensive five-year hull warranty, and all models feature 5mm, or 6mm hulls, along with fully welded tread plate floors for superior strength.


McLay Boats has gained recognition beyond New Zealand and Australia, with a growing following in the United States and other parts of the world. The company’s commitment to quality design and construction has contributed to positive reviews, highlighting stability, performance, and meticulous attention to detail.


Whether it’s a cuddy, sleeper cabin, or hardtop, McLay Boats caters to various preferences, offering a range of options to suit different boating needs. The company’s dedication to getting the basics right ensures that their boats are well-suited for recreation, fishing, and commercial use.


Founded over three decades ago, McLay Boats remains a symbol of excellence in the marine industry, combining innovation, community engagement, and a commitment to quality. As the company continues to expand its global presence, its boats stand as a testament to the enduring values of safety, reliability, and durability. From 2024, Steve will be taking a well earnt, reduced role, in the day to day running of McLay Boats, with his son Martin McLay stepping up, to take the role as Managing Director.

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