Water jet engines create big waves

Explorer Inflatable Craft (NZ)

Placing their jet boat power unit on one of the world’s most reliable and serviceable car engines is the kind of smart thinking that has led an innovative Kumeu company to the verge of major international expansion. Explorer Inflatable Craft (NZ) earlier wowed crowds at the Sydney International Boat and Auckland On Water shows.

Explorer, which specialises in water jet engine technology, PVC and Hypalon inflatable boat manufacture, is a great example of the Auckland marine industry’s innovation and world-leading technology.

ATEED R&D specialists have helped Explorer get ready for export success by advising on intellectual property protection and guiding it through two successful applications for R&D funding from government agency Callaghan Innovation.

Explorer used the funding to develop prototypes and design two unique water jet engines based on Toyota engines with corrosion-resistant high-quality alloys. The company redesigns the timing, cam shafts, and the engine’s inlet and exhaust geometry for optimal engine power.

Mark Goodhew, Explorer Inflatable Craft director, says ATEED’s help saved the company a lot of time and effort: “We certainly wouldn’t have been ready to launch the 2013 Sydney Boat Show if the funding hadn’t fast tracked our final R&D.”

“ATEED was passionate about our boat concepts and that showed in its highly professional efforts for us.”

“The Toyota alliance means we have this company’s great reputation for reliability behind us, and the benefits of global servicing and parts availability, even in more remote parts of the world,” says Mark Goodhew.

The company has used a strategy of limited market seeding to build profile and customer interest while it increases production capability. Mark Goodhew says customer feedback indicates Explorer’s boats are finished better and perform better than some of its well-known rivals: “I suppose Kiwi ingenuity and engineering design makes the difference.”

Explorer launched the Jet Tender series in New Zealand, at a price point about $10,000-$15,000 lower than similar imported competitors. It is expanding in Australia following a second year exhibiting at the Sydney International Boat Show and plans to launch into the UK and Europe in 2015/16.