Edencraft on the crest of a wave

An investment in the latest technology is proving to be a game changer for Geelong boat-builder Edencraft International

If you love fishing and you love boating, chances are you’ve dreamed of owning an Edencraft.

Regarded by many as the pinnacle of offshore recreational watercraft in Australia thanks to its unique hull, outstanding build and handling, and superior craftsmanship, an Edencraft vessel is highly coveted.

A waiting list that stretches more than a year attests to the demand.

That was until now.

The game changer

The company is about to see production and jobs soar with a new computer programmable robotic manufacturing machine that will help treble its manufacturing capacity.

The 5-axis CNC automated machining centre will enable Edencraft International to carve a foam 'plug' for a boat mould to an accuracy of one hundredth of a millimetre.Josie Maher standing in from of the CNC machine

And it will do it in a fraction of the time it used to take to shape the mould by hand.

What’s more, it can be programmed to create moulds for any of the company’s models, and allow it to introduce new models more quickly.

The machine is part of a $1.8 million factory expansion project supported by a grant from the Victorian Government’s Regional Jobs Fund.

Other components of the project include a new glass cutting machine, construction of a spray booth, upgrades and modifications to the existing factory structure, and new plant and equipment.

The project is significantly streamlining operations, and when complete will more than double the company’s workforce, creating 31 new jobs including 18 apprentices.

The general manager

Established by the Maher family in 2016, Edencraft International is a family-owned regional business,located in the Geelong suburb of Moolap, specialising in the manufacture of offshore motorboats.

Local fishing enthusiast Grant Maher had bought and fallen in love with an Edencraft boat, so when the opportunity came up to buy the company, he and wife Kerri jumped at it and moved to a purpose-built factory  in Geelong.

In the years that followed a number of improvements and innovations to the boats took place, further enhancing the company’s reputation.

It’s all hands on deck at the company, with Grant and Kerri’s daughter Josie rising through the ranks to become the General Manager.

Josie says it all started out while she was studying.

‘I initially joined the office during my university holidays to help out,’ she said.

‘After that, I never left - balancing my final year and a half of my bachelor's degree in International Business with full-time work at Edencraft.’

‘I started in administration, moved on to handle marketing, HR, sales, procurement, and more. By 2018, I became the Business Manager, and in 2022, I assumed the role of General Manager.’

Josie says the investment in upgrading the factory will build on the family business, increasing production and allowing it to sell more motorboats across Australia.

There are also plans to establish a dealership in coming months, to enable export to New Zealand and the South Pacific islands.

Josie herself is also making waves.

She recently attended the International Boat Builders awards at Amsterdam, where she was the joint winner of the Rising Star Award. But her focus remains on the company.

‘We’re very proud of our business, and of our workers and family of boat owners who have made it possible. We’re excited about the next stage in our growth, and I’d like to thank the government for its support.’

The number one fan

Michael Lynch holding up a large fish while on a boatIf Edencraft was a football club, then Michael Lynch would be the number one ticket holder.

He’s been a keen angler all his life, and from a young age could often be found with his pushbike  down at the wharves at Geelong wetting a line.

As he grew older, and gave away playing sport, fishing became a passion.

But he had to bide his time before his dream came true.

‘As a fisherman you go through stages in life, working your way towards a bigger or better boat,’ said Michael.

‘I always aspired to an Edencraft – they’re the pinnacle – the best of the best.’

Finally, when his children had left the nest, and he’d sold his current boat, he became the proud owner of his first Edencraft in 2015.

He says he’ll never forget the excitement of seeing his boat take shape.

‘I live just 20 minutes down the road from the factory. You can drop in and watch your boat being custom built.’

Michael dropped in regularly during the build, and soon became good friends with the Maher family.

‘The Maher family has improved the product dramatically,’ said Michael. So much so he upgraded to another boat in 2021 with a lot of options that are now available to all new customers.

He’s proud to help the family out – showcasing his new boat at the Edencraft stand at the latest Melbourne Boat Show in October, or giving demonstration rides at the company’s Family Day in November.

Michael has recently retired and regularly fishes the bay for snapper, gummies, squid or whiting, or venturing out to sea to reel in Bluefin Tuna over 100kg, or a 200kg Marlin.

He also loves taking his wife Ann out for an evening fish, watching the sunset, and targeting some King George Whiting for the dinner plate. ‘She’s pretty good at it too,’ he says.

And what about the times when the fish aren’t biting?

‘The great joy about fishing is the journey itself,’ he says.