BMD Engineering Services launches 5.7m Versacraft Aluminium Boat


The Versacraft Aluminium Boat from BMD Engineering Services

A family-run engineering services company has launched themselves onto the South African boatbuilding market with a new custom 5.7m semi-rigid aluminium model.

BMD Engineering Services, based in the Southern Cape town of George, is touting their custom Versacraft Aluminium Boat as a more robust alternative to existing semi-rigid models. The company, which specialises in welding and stainless-steel pipe work and currently works in the agricultural sector, is now expanding into boatbuilding with a view to securing a share of the export market.

Company co-director Michael Vorster said their boatbuilding ambitions evolved out of years of building boat and camper trailers. “After the trailers we decided we were going to build our own boat, specifically an aluminium boat,” Vorster said, adding that the team was inspired by existing models, particularly the New Zealand Stabicraft.

He said he believed there was an established global market for robust aluminium boats. “We want clients in South Africa to see the potential of an aluminium boat like the Australians do and obviously our main objective is to export the boat to the US, Australia and Saudi Arabia – that is where the most interest originates from.”

Vorster said he and his colleagues preferred the greater design possibilities associated with aluminium. “With fibreglass boats you have moulds, but with aluminium you can do design changes. Each boat can be custom – for example, extra compartments in the pontoons. That is one of the main things with an aluminium boat – the possibilities are endless with configurations for diving or fishing boats, or patrol boats.” The current model weighs it at 490kg.

“With an aluminium pontoon, even with a big hole it won’t lose its structure,” Vorster said.

He said the company was already making design changes for their second build, with an extra two compartments. The idea was to ensure the boat dimensions allowed it to fit into a shipping container. “There are a few things we want to change on it. But the basic idea is to build a boat to last a lifetime,” he said.