A Moray based boat builder is to become the first in the world to build and supply a new type of rigid inflatable boat (RIB).
The move will create six new jobs and treble the company’s turnover in the next three years.
Probond Marine Limited (PBM) in Buckie was formed in 2015. In partnership with boat designer Barry Carson they are now building the renowned Carson range of commercial and military RIBs.
The company has secured a £65,000 investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) towards the development costs of the new Interceptor Class demonstrator RIB and showcasing this at trade shows.
The hull of the Interceptor Class is unique in being the first to use delta shaped multiple steps to reduce friction thus enabling higher all round performance for a given horsepower. Because of their configuration they also remove some of the potential drawbacks sometimes associated with stepped hulls. A straight unbroken keel line means easier trailer launching and push off after beaching. The hull is believed to be the first of its type in the world to offer water jet propulsion with a stepped hull.
This Barry Carson design was developed from many years designing fast craft for the professional market used in more than 20 countries worldwide over several decades. Available in three sizes, 7.5, 8.5 and 9.5 metres they can be outfitted for a wide variety of roles from general workboat duties to special forces operations. They offer even greater operational range, load capacity, crew safety, sea keeping and speed than previous models. The new range is seen as key to the firm’s growth plans and compliments the existing range starting at 4.2 metres.
More than £700,000 of new sales of the Interceptor is expected from International customers. There is already interest in the new boat not only from the UK but also the US, Scandinavia and the Far East.
Potential customers are keen to undertake sea trials in the demonstrator. PBM has now completed the tooling moulds for the new design and the demonstrator hull is under construction for showcasing at trade shows. The HIE investment is enabling this to happen.
Karen Peasnall, business account manager at HIE, said: “Probond is in an excellent position to accelerate its growth in the next few years. In the short time since the company started it has established a solid reputation and developing customer base. These new plans for the Interceptor range of RIBs combine innovation, ambition and huge potential to make significant inroads into International markets. This in turn will improve its long term prospects and bring benefits to the local economy, including valuable new jobs. I am very pleased we are able to support the company and look forward to seeing the plans develop.”
Colin MacAndrew, founder of PBM, added: “We are delighted to have secured a grant from HIE towards the construction of a demonstrator of our latest Carson Interceptor Class of RIBs & workboats. The in house hull design is truly unique and will allow PBM to offer the maritime industry a truly unique vessel capable of multiple roles from workboat duties to long-range high-speed operations. We have plans for significant growth over the next few years allowing us to meet the growing demand for our boats and services.”