Boat manufacture in India needs a special mention this season with the emergence of new boat builders in the market. Indian made motor and sail yachts to cruise the harbor and the backwaters have come into demand. Boats manufactured in India range from steel vessels to FRP boats, 3 meters to 30 meters and up, single man canoe boats to house boats, leisure boats, passenger crafts and even patrol and interceptor crafts. Their price range begins at Rs. 2 lakhs and can go up to a couple of crores! Hence the audience catered to is also varied; from individuals with holiday homes on the water front to the government for coastal police, surveillance and utility. Inquiries stem from various other sources like leisure and luxury hotel chains on the coastline, tour operators, diving and yacht charter companies, sailing clubs, etc. So, if you are looking out for a custom build, the Indian boat manufacture market provides you with innumerable options!
Many have gotten into the business for pure passion. Pavel Dremine of Sun Yachts, Nanotekmarine, has a start-up business in Goa. “From my personal view as a passionate traveler, my recommendation to experience freedom at its absolute is only on the open ocean. This is my inspiration. Everyone should have the opportunity to sail. With limited yachting production in India, our pricings reflect to bridge barriers and allows everyone the opportunity of experiencing the joy of exploring the open ocean along the Indian coast” says Pavel. He presents to us the Sunyachts Silver, ready for sale, is 5.5m sailboat. The boats range is from 11 to 14 lakhs for Silver including taxes and trailers. Sunyachts Silver is an incredibly joyful toy for the client and at the same time a great opportunity for them as a manufacturer to set up precise logistical chain encompassing the marine business process in India. They plan to launch hydrofoil speed boats to expand Indian marine sea transportation in general.
Maneck Contractor of Multi Tech Marine is also into boat building for it is highly challenging and the results are highly rewarding! They build 15 to 70 ft dinghies , punts, surf boards , kite boards , car toppable sailing multihulls , day sailing and power boats , water taxis, dive boats , pleasure crafts and charter crafts! The Seamaster 32 design sells 10 boats a year! She is large, with high volume, built with vacuum bagging and core technology that makes it light and strong, very efficient and very versatile. The most challenging project has been their involvement as the builders for the construction of Madhe (sailing yacht which circumnavigated the globe single handed).
With a large number of Indians being able to afford boats, the industry is set for a large expansion. Considering India’s large coastline and the current lack of security along the coast, Valeth decided to manufacture boats especially for the coastal police, surveillance, and utility as well as privately owned luxury boats. Their boats vary from 4-5lakhs to 2-3crores in cost. Their best selling boats are patrol boats used by the coast guard, namely the ‘Valeth Sea Hawk’. Building 8 patrol yachts to patrol the oil rigs at Bombay High was their most challenging project as the yachts have to operate in harsh sea conditions. Also, dealing with boats for government organizations is challenging as IRS requirements are stringent and do not permit any deviation.
Sourcing Materials, Taxation and hurdles faced by the Indian Boat Builders:
Companies like Samudra have been into Boat manufacture since years and the second generation is also part of the business. They export boats to Sweden as well. The best selling boats they have built have been composite House Boats. When asked about the nitty gritties of boat manufacture like sourcing of materials, taxation etc. Dr. Sudhakaran Jeevan, CEO, remarks “since all the materials are available in India, we do not face a problem, but when it comes to the vacuum bagging accessories, it is costly. Regarding taxation and licensing for Indian Boat builders, the recent inclusion of almost all categories into the excise net would dampen the prospects of this evolving industry. The government needs to address this issue of lack of infrastructure immediately.”
Maneck Contractor of Multi Tech Marine shares his point of view on the subject too. “The quantities and qualities of materials we use are now mostly available in India. They are much expensive than in the UAE and other parts of the world and mostly not available off the shelf as yet. Thus procurement takes investment and precession planning. A lot is still imported!! Taxation for a buyer of Indian built boat can amount to be larger than the taxation for an imported boat and this situation puts the Indian boat building industry at high risk, as compared to the auto or luxury industry which is completely protected from direct imports where taxes are extremely high. This does need to be looked at closely by the government. Manufacturing licenses are no problem as they are standardized for all industry.”
Pavel says, “The lack of centralized information about renting/selling of industrial facilities, finding local professionals, and to produce our yachts using around 70% locally sourced material is not easy. The biggest trouble companies and manufactures are facing is the lack of marinas. It is difficult for our clients to dock their boats and this discourages them. We have to order stoppers, ropes and sails from Thailand, America, Italy and England as we find a lack of supply in India of needed equipment. In order to grow boating we need liberalization of the coastline from the harsh regulations that pose problems for sailors who want to sail their Indian coastline. It reflects a closed sector of economy governed by old regulations which need to be reformed.”
Chinkara Motors manufactures mainly Multihull boats, Catamarans and Trimarans from 13 to 120 feet of length. These vessels can be either powered by sails or petrol/diesel engines or both. Prices range from 2 lakhs to several crores. They have their own tool shop which enables them to produce their own moulds to cater to a wide range of products and their vessels are built under IRS (Indian Register of Shipping). Guido of Chinkara thinks that to create an Indian boat industry which till date does not really exist, it is important for the government of India to realize that a very big industry could be emerging. It is important to create destinations to actually sail to. Basic available infrastructure would help to create a boating culture which in turn would promote the boating industry.
Thus to conclude, there is demand within the country and there has been some interest from an international audience in the UAE and European countries like Poland, Germany and Russia. The lack of infrastructure like docks, jetties and marinas gives rise to an erratic market with inadequate exchange of knowledge between buyers and sellers. The government must consider water transport and commercial boating on a grander scale.