16 November 2022
Taking on a superyacht shed at Gold Coast City Marina & Shipyard as Sirocco Marine’s Queensland headquarters, newly appointed director Ryan Slater is gradually filling the massive space with RIBS with both alloy and fibreglass hulls, by Sirocco, BRIG, Williams Jet Tenders, Northstar and Zodiac, following Sirocco Marine taking on sole distribution for Australia for the iconic French brand.
At 900 square metres, the ground floor will feature the larger RIBs and a dedicated air-conditioned office, while the Mezzanine will showcase smaller vessels.
As Ryan explains, “We plan to have one of every model in the Zodiac range, including all the options and engines, so that owners can be on the water within days.”
Sirocco Marine supply and fit engines by Honda, Yamaha and Mercury engines and have close connections to their service technicians.
Despite the impact of the war in Ukraine, Sirocco Marine is confident BRIG, which is based in Kharkiv, will return to production by mid-2023.
In the meantime, deliveries are all on track to arrive in the next few weeks. By December, 40 Sirocco-branded RIBS and 10 Northstar RIBS will arrive, and by January, Ryan will welcome nine containers of the latest model Zodiac boats, from 4.2 to 9 metres.
“By the end of January, we will have nearly 300 RIBS in the showroom – a RIB for every use and every budget,” adds Ryan, a naval draftsman and marine diesel mechanic by trade.
Ryan’s background includes a two-year stint with Liam O’Halloran at Sirocco Marine South and several years aboard superyachts as an engineer. He also lived and worked in Germany, employed by Volvo.
Returning to the marine sector and moving from Sydney to the Gold Coast appealed to Ryan for a chance to become part of a passionate boating community and a more leisurely pace of life for his young family.
“I’ve attended many boat shows here and know my way around, but I’m looking forward to exploring the waterways, meeting customers and getting them into the on-water lifestyle.”
A major milestone for the Zodiac brand in Australia is the appointment of Sirocco Marine as the sole distributor.
“We’re very pleased and proud to be representing the iconic French brand, Zodiac, which enjoys global renown,” said Neil Webster, Managing Director of Sirocco Marine.
“Zodiac is the original RIB manufacturer and the biggest in the world. I travelled to the Zodiac’s headquarters in France, met the entire team from the CEO to production manager and spent a considerable amount of time with them to immerse myself in the history and heritage of the brand.
“Zodiac invests heavily in R&D and innovation. We’re excited to see where we can take Zodiac in Australia.”
Zodiac is renowned for pioneering the inflatable boat. With a history dating back to 1880s when its engineers specialised in airships, Zodiac Nautic prides itself on 125 years of air and water.
In the 1930s, their expertise was called on to develop an inflatable boat for the French Naval Air Force which sought innovative solutions for military transport, and thus, the Zodiac rigid inflatable boat was born.
Favoured by French diver, environmentalist and film-maker, Jacques Cousteau, Zodiac boats were buoyed to international attention in the 1960s via the series, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.
Over the many decades, Zodiac Nautic has invested in R&D and evolved its manufacturing processes, techniques and materials. Zodiac Nautic also pioneered removable tubes for easy maintenance, repair, replacement, transport and storage.
All Zodiac models imported into Australia will have tubes made of Hypalon, chosen for its resistance to UV, chemicals and temperature extremes and its air tightness.
Fitting neatly between Sirocco and BRIG RIBS, the Zodiac RIBS will appeal to owners seeking a sturdy, reliable, stable RIB tender, or a stand-alone day boat for diving, fishing and safe family boating.
“We’ll carry Zodiac tenders and bigger boats from 4-metres to the 9-metre model,” says Ryan. “In the Open style, we’ll offer 4.2-, 4.8-, 5.5- and 6.5-metre models, in the Pro range 5.5 and 6.5-metres, and in the popular Medline range, we’ll have the 6.8, 7.5 and 9-metre models.
“The 9-metre Medline has a cockpit kitchen, centre console with cabin and toilet, which is popular with families and adventurous owners wanting to stay out on the water longer.”
Many more exciting plans are in the pipeline, including the arrival of some remarkable 7-metre day boats from Europe in time for the 2023 Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show.
In the meantime, Ryan is working flat out to prepare the showroom ahead of the arrival of hundreds of RIBs. “People will have an incredible range to choose from and all the after-sales support and service they need,” he said. “We know RIBS inside out and can match them up with one to suit their boating lifestyle.”