The Whiskey Project has acquired NSW boat manufacturer Yamba Welding and Engineering (YWE) and New Zealand based naval architecture firm Naiad.
These companies will forge The Whiskey Project Group, creating a marine design and manufacturing company. Darren Schuback, Managing Director of The Whiskey Project Group, said the acquisition of YWE and Naiad marks the coming together of three great Australian and New Zealand businesses and heralds an exciting future for Australian watercraft design and manufacturing.
“Through this strategic acquisition, The Whiskey Project Group will offer a family of watercraft ranging from new technology defence solutions to globally renowned law-enforcement and specialist leisure industry craft,” said Schuback.
The Whiskey Project’s next generation tactical watercraft, Whiskey Alpha, was launched at the 2019 Pacific International Maritime Expo to great acclaim. its technical advances have applications relevant for many other markets.
“The formation of The Whiskey Project Group secures advanced maritime manufacturing capabilities, with a natural cross over of technology and skilled labour between government, specialist and leisure sectors over time,” said Schuback.
YWE, established in the northern NSW coastal town of Yamba by Bill Collingburn in 1974 and renowned for its boat building expertise, is a trusted supplier of watercraft for police, coast guard, marine rescue, government agencies and Defence. In the past 10 years, YWE has built more than 200 vessels for these Australian Federal and State Government agencies.
The deal includes Naiad, the New Zealand based naval architecture business which YWE itself acquired earlier this year from founder Steve Schmidt – one of New Zealand’s leading marine designers – and his wife Jenny. Naiad boats, renowned for being the “4WD of the Sea” and for their aesthetic appeal, are built under license around the world. Naiads are popular for a wide range of Federal and State Government military, law enforcement and rescue agency vessels, as well as commercial, tourism, recreational and Superyacht tender applications.
“The Whiskey Project, YWE and Naiad have a remarkable cultural synergy that will make The Whiskey Project Group a formidable Australian, New Zealand, and global solution for high performance watercraft,” said Schuback.
“We’re working to keep Australian and New Zealand marine industry jobs and to future proof the integrity of our innovations and leading-edge technologies.
“The export opportunities for the group are excellent. Naiad already has global reach, and we’re looking to extend this across all of the Group and take our trans-Tasman watercraft design, creation and production to the world.”