Maritime & Marine

Published: September 10, 2020 | Updated: September 11, 2020

Buoyant boat builder increases workforce by 25 per cent after move to new and bigger unit

A Cobra Nautique inboard RIB, described as the ultimate family adventure inboard RIB.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A Christchurch boat builder has increased its workforce by 25 per cent after moving into a new 12,000 sq ft purpose-built manufacturing facility.

Cobra Ribs has recruited four production engineers bringing its staff up to 20.

The new recruits will help with the assembly of new build projects to meet an increase in demand.

They’ll also assist the current team in servicing and refurbishment works.

The new manufacturing space is twice the size of the company’s previous unit.

It provides eight boat bays for manufacture and offers better safety, with the addition of a ten-tonne overhead crane.

Thanks to the extra space, Cobra Ribs has responded to the cancellation of boating events and shows in the wake of Covid-19 by hosting clients on its site.

Josh Arkell, Managing Director, pictured left, said: “The new facility gives us increased production capacity, but importantly gives us a destination to bring customers to.

“This year we haven’t been able to attend boat shows, as we normally would, but we’ve flipped our approach and opened our doors to clients.”

Visiting customers have the chance to meet the boat builders face-to-face and see at first-hand how the RIB boats are made.

They can also specify features and details for the boat they are buying and see the designs amended in real-time.

However, the biggest advantage offered by the new facility, and its Christchurch location, is the ability to try the boats on the water.

Josh, who is the son of company founder Steve Arkell, said: “Being able to take customers out from Mudeford to experience the thrill of being onboard a Cobra RIB is great for us.

“The four new members of staff are to cope with demand.

“Sales are buoyant at a time of recession in the economy as a whole.”

Cobra Ribs has been designing and manufacturing rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) in Christchurch since 1988.