Oman's boat industry has started 2013 out on a strong note, backed by a positive economy, good weather and a developing boat sales network and marina berthing availability.
Sapphire Marine, the only leisure boat builder in Oman, has seen increased interest from prospective boat owners in the last one year. "Enquiries for boats are up 100 per cent compared to this time last year with the purpose-built factory in Salalah looking to employ additional skilled personnel to keep up with the demand," said Andy Andrews, sales and marketing manager, Sapphire Marine.
As a result, the company is expanding its range of boats to meet customer requirements. New designs include a 40ft Cabin Sports Cruiser and a 50ft Motor Catamaran, both of which are due for launch by year-end, and will join the existing 29ft and 36ft sport boats currently available from Sapphire Marine.
Andrews said that the company also manufactures military and security boats apart from leisure boats. "We sold about 15 leisure boats in 2012 and so far this year another five have been bought by enthusiasts."
To encourage safe boat ownership and make the process of buying easier, the company is offering new owners incentives, like an internationally certified boat-handling course, and assistance in financing, registering and insuring the boat.
Sapphire Marine is also keen to export its boats and has plans to set up dealerships in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, according to Andrews.