Picture by Harrison Photography
Pictured (L – R) are Carol Keery, Invest NI, and Gerry Smyth, G Smyth Boats.
Annalong based G Smyth Boats has secured its first export business for a new boat design with research and development support from Invest Northern Ireland.
G Smyth Boats designs and manufactures commercial fibreglass fishing boats. Established in 2009 by Gerry Smyth, the company has a strong presence in Scotland, the Republic of Ireland and Belgium with its existing range of modern 7 metre fishing boats.
The company has now secured its first business in the Republic of Ireland for a new 9.5 metre boat. Designed with R&D support from Invest NI, with part funding from the European Regional Development Fund, the new boat is recognised as one of the most advanced in its class thanks to a large fish room capacity and a fuel efficient design.
Carol Keery, Invest NI Director of Research and Development said: “The company already has a successful range of boats but as market conditions for many small companies remain challenging, G Smyth Boats realised that to maintain their market position, an ongoing commitment to R&D would be vital. The resulting boat design is highly innovative and with its immediate success in a key market, G Smyth Boats looks set to significantly grow its export business in the future.”
Gerry Smyth said: “We came up with the concept by looking at customer needs and the changing demands of the fishing industry. Many fishermen are downsizing from larger, inefficient boats and are looking for something compact, modern, aesthetically pleasing and economical which can handle well in rough seas. Our customers also want to tailor the boat to their own personal tastes and our new design allows skippers to do just that.
“The design and manufacture was technically challenging and time consuming but the end product now gives us a clear edge over our competitors, especially in export markets – a fact demonstrated by this first sale in RoI. The support from Invest NI meant that we could take the project forward in a much shorter timeframe than would otherwise have been possible.”