The first quarter of 2024 has seen plenty activity across the factory ranging from major refits to three Australian Navy vessels through to new builds under contract and a raft of small boat repairs.

One navy vessel, a 38ft (Thales) mine countermeasures boat, is back in the water after repairs following bridge damage while being road freighted to Darwin.

Another two 43ft navy (Serco) workboats are undergoing extensive refits, including new engines, electrical upgrades and a range of minor works, transitioning to the new NSCV code. A third workboat is due to arrive from Darwin after Easter, with a possible 11 more to follow.

We are currently undergoing a QA upgrade with a new suite of policy and procedure documentation being drawn up to exacting standards requirements for defence work across multiple platforms.

Our recently introduced boat purchase/service package is proving a point of difference and we will continue to grow over time. We offer a service agreement with every new boat purchase. We have the required areas for servicing and storage. We also offer a spare parts service for international clients which is also popular.

During 2023 year we added a new small components assembly line, to cater in particular for the range of Zodiac-Milpro RHIBs. This contract was signed on May 23, 2023 with the first Zodiac coming off the assembly line on August 24, 2023. Since then we have completed another four.

Zodiac-Milpro have the rights to sell into South-East Asian markets including defence, police, border force, marine rescue and fisheries. These markets will expand in the future, especially if we include a maintenance service as above with the bigger vessels.

It also provides an avenue for Steber International to market its custom-built range of workboats to this growing market.

Electric projects (we have already developed 22ft and 43ft test rigs) will drive the business further into the future, along with the new carbon fibre aerial drone projects for crop dusting.

As an indicator of where we are heading, commercial projects have now increased to 80% of turnover, with the odd recreational new build making up the balance.

PICTURED: Assembly bay at our Taree factory showing the variety of projects currently underway.