South African boatbuilder DB Marine Services has acquired ski-boat manufacturer Z-Craft in a deal likely to breathe new life into the ski-boat manufacturing sector. Z-Craft, which manufactured the well-known Kingcat range, closed shop in 2016. Its relaunch is good news for a sector hard-hit by recent currency volatility and depressed sales.

DB Marine managing partner Dylan Banwell said the company, based in KwaZulu-Natal province, was thrilled to acquire such an iconic brand.  “We are able to take a design that has more than proven its self and make it better, not just the build techniques and materials but also the whole customer experience,” Banwell said.

“The brand Z-Craft has almost a cult following not only in SA but around the world as we have seen in the massive response to our re-launch three weeks ago. I would definitely say that the pride of all Kingcat owners is what sticks out the most when talking about these craft. They are without a doubt a product of years of expert trial and error and we are lucky enough to take it from here.”

Banwell said the deal is a springboard for DB Marine to realise its boatbuilding ambitions. However, the short-term goal was to concentrate on the Kingcat range. “Prior to the acquisition of Z-Craft our business goal was to build the 53ft powercat while building a few smaller plugs and moulds of vessels in the 12ft-18ft range, both monohulls and multihulls. Now that Z-Craft is on the cards we have decided to shelve immediate plans for our own designs to focus and boost the already popular Kingcat range,” Banwell said.

“It is all very sudden the whole purchase and takeover of Z-Craft. Our goals have not changed from before we took over Z-Craft. Our aim is to build boats to last, boats that owners are proud to call theirs and grow our market while keeping with the personal touch all customers should feel when buying a new vessel of this quality, no one wants to feel like just a number when making an investment of this size.

“In the future we really want to build larger power cats in the 32ft-45ft range, but will focus on getting everything in order before making those leaps,” Banwell said.