Experienced firm adapts to changes
For three generations, Warkworth’s Robertson Boats has delivered top quality craftsmanship in boat maintenance, rapid turnaround repair, reﬁ t, and boat building.
The ﬁrst generation, Chris Robertson, was the son of Betsy Lidgard of the boat building family prominent in the design and build of mullet boats, short-end keel yachts, and commercial ﬁshing and work boats.
Chris completed his apprenticeship at Lidgard Bros then went to work for Col Wilde until starting up Chris Robertson Boats in 1960, where he designed all the boats he built.
His sons Conrad and Martin joined Chris Robertson Boats after completing their apprenticeships at Bryn Wilson Boats, and by 1981, the business moved to a yard next to the Mahurangi River in Warkworth. Conrad took sole charge of the business in 1995 and changed its name to Robertson Boats.
The industry was also up for change around the same time, as the introduction of production boats affected a lot of New Zealand’s boat building industry.
Conrad made a transition from boat building into reﬁt, repairs, and servicing, and designed and built a big travel lift with capacity to lift 85 tons.
In recent years, Conrad’s son Drew has joined the business, and he says the legacy of the company’s boat building prowess of the 20th century has now been applied to lowering the overall costs to boat owners through a focus on top quality, routine preventative maintenance, repairs, and complete or partial reﬁts.
“We still build boats, just not as frequently as dad used to,” Drew says. “Our company motto is ‘an ounce of prevention done right saves lots of money’ and brings reliability and peace of mind to boat owners.
“We do a reasonable amount of work on commercial boats, including ferry boats, ﬁshing boats, charter boats, and tug boats, and we’re setting up maintenance programmes for them with the long term view of trying to reduce annual upkeep, maintenance costs, and time out of operation.”
Robertson Boats understands commercial vessels are expensive assets which must be in operation to earn a return.
“When a vessel is damaged or breaks down, we promise as rapid a turnaround as possible while maintaining the high quality of the repairs.”
Robertson Boats provides services to facilitate or assist in attaining survey throughout its cycle, and welcomes the hands on or oversight involvement of its clients’ teams and crews.
Since Robertson Boats is a full service yard with the entire complement of skills on staff including boat builders, engineers, painters, metal workers, cabinet makers, and electricians, the company can adjust its schedule to get commercial jobs done as fast as possible.
All of these trades under direct employment by Robertson Boats are highly experienced in the construction, reﬁt, restoration, and maintenance of boats, allowing the company to efﬁciently work its way through multifaceted projects, managing the job from start to ﬁnish and making it an enjoyable experience for clients with a quality end result.
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