Boat Building – Marine Engineering in Focus
The term ‘boat builder’ may conjure romantic images of traditional craftsmen and artisans patiently crafting wooden boats in boatsheds and boat yards surrounded by shavings, turps, varnish and an amazing array of hand tools. This level of ‘marine engineer’ is most often associated with restoring old boats and retaining maritime history.
A shipwright is also involved in making and repairing boats and you will find shipwrights at many marinas around the country. Their work very much focuses on repairing boats by lifting them onto a slipway out of the water. When your boat is in for repair, you’ll commonly hear boat owners refer to ‘having their boat on the slips’.
While there are still artisans that are preserving and passing on the traditional methods of wooden boat building and restoration, contemporary boat building has evolved into a high tech process involving the latest developments in materials and techniques.
When it comes to racing yachts, the 1983 America’s Cup is a marine engineering story which is written into history. Australian Ben Lexcen designed an innovative winged keel for the Australian entrant. The design was kept secret and concealed throughout the regatta. A move which was the subject of much controversy at the time.
The design and build phases of racing yachts is as competitive and fierce as the races themselves.
Marine engineers and boat designers are heavily involved in the research and development of new materials and design elements which will improve fuel efficiency and performance and provide their brand with a competitive edge in the market. In place of wood and hand tools, you’ll more likely see epoxies, Kevlar, resins, gelcoats, computer-generated simulations, the finest construction methods and high tech machinery in today’s boat building facilities.
The Riviera Australia boat building facility is a 14 hectare state-of-the-art manufacturing complex which produces multiple ranges of luxury cruisers for the world market each year.
Customising Your Boat
Customising Your Boat
When ordering a new boat, many buyers have the opportunity to get involved with the build, working with the marine engineers to personally select many of the fixtures and finishes and customise aspects such as berth configuration and deck layout to suit their boating lifestyle.
Boat manufacturers give boat buyers options in regard to the configurations and layouts both above and below deck. You may choose to have a lesser number of berths of larger size, or more berths to cater for more passengers.
Above deck, the layout can often be designed to cater for entertaining, fishing, storing additional watercraft and toys or whatever your recreational boating style requires.