Hirecraft Marine is changing its name to Lifestyle Marine
14 March 2006
Lifestyle Marine Lake Macquarie
58 Years and 3 Generations of Evolution continues for Hirecraft Marine and the Hurt Family
When Lin Hurt with the help of his wife Vera started Hirecraft Marine in 1947 they could see the abundant opportunities on Lake Macquarie, it was an ideal waterway for commercial and recreational boating. The company started as ferry boat operators transporting people around the Lake cost effectively and quickly. In 1947 road infrastructure was not what it is today.
Lin and his business evolved with the people in the area and began offering smaller launches for hire as people became more interested in exploring the lake recreationally on an individual basis instead of on large ferry boats.
Next for Lin and Hirecraft was the natural progression into selling boats. People began to want their own boat to enjoy the freedom, relaxation and adventure boating could provide. This move into boat sales was one of the most significant chapters in the business' 58-year history. Around this time Lin's son Geoff, current Managing Director, joined the Hirecraft team and together they worked to build the business into a leading marine retailer.
Over the last 10 years the company has grown tremendously under the direction of Geoff. During this period Geoff's sons Damien and Simon also joined the business. Damien is now the General Manager and Simon the Chandlery Manager.
The next evolution for this boating family has arrived. After much consideration the name that has been at the forefront of the Newcastle Marine Industry for nearly 60 years, Hirecraft Marine, has changed to Lifestyle Marine. The company's General Manager Damien Hurt says, "Hirecraft Marine is an icon in the marine industry, changing the company's name has been on the agenda for years however it is one of those things that we were reluctant to do given the strength and fantastic reputation that is immediately associated with the name Hirecraft Marine. However as our business continues to grow we needed a name that was more reflective". Hirecraft have not hired boats for nearly 20 years, the business today is very much focused on boat sales, accessory sales, service and promoting the benefits and pleasure for families and individuals that a boating lifestyle brings.
"As part of our search for a new name we talked about what it is that we as a family and our employees (Hirecraft Marine/Lifestyle Marine employ 28 people) most enjoy about working in the marine industry and what was the single most valuable thing we offer to our customers. A single word kept coming up 'Lifestyle'. In today's busy world where leisure time and family time gets harder and harder to come by, we believe offering our customers a more relaxed, fun and exciting Lifestyle is what it's all about", says Damien. With this realization, 'Lifestyle Marine' became the perfect name and reflection on what the boat business for the Hurt family and boating in general for their customers is all about.
The day-to-day operation, management and ownership of the company will not change. "The only changes will be continued improvements in the way we do business. In recent times we have renovated our showroom to include an air conditioned accessory department, bigger and better display of new boats, installed Plasma screen televisions for audio visual entertainment as well as re-surfaced our outside display yard, painted the entire building, installed new signage and renovated our marina. Further to this we have moved our service department to a separate site enabling us to offer a larger, more secure and weather proof facility for our customers. As you can see by no means are we resting on 58 years of reputation we are constantly looking to improve", commented Damien Hurt.
When asked about company founder Lin Hurt, now aged in his early 90s, thoughts on the name change grandson Damien said "Papa could not be happier, he has always had great vision and can see that our position in the market has never been stronger and that the change to Lifestyle Marine will be a part of our continued growth". Lin is part of the television and general media campaign currently running in the Hunter Region and is a regular visitor to the dealership.
"Lifestyle Marine will build on its 58-year heritage and reputation and will become even more focused on exceeding its customer's expectations", says Damien. Lifestyle Marine will be releasing a new service support programme to its customers in the coming weeks that, for a nominal fee, will offer 24 hour 7 day a week support. Participating clients will have a mobile phone number that they can call any time, day or night, if they are having a difficulty and a Lifestyle Marine expert will address their problem straight away. Restricted on-water support is also part of the programme.
Expansion is part of the plans for Lifestyle Marine in the near future. "We are currently looking at opportunities to our north, with Sea Ray and some of our other key brands" said Damien Hurt. Further information will be forth coming when arrangements currently being negotiated are finalised.
General facts on Lifestyle Marine
- Lifestyle Marine is the exclusive distributor for Sea Ray (the world's largest manufacturer of fibreglass boats) for the central and north coast of New South Wales.
- Lifestyle Marine is in terms of units the largest SeaRay dealer in Australia and the third largest dealer in the Asia Pacific Region in terms of dollars.
- Lifestyle Marine is the exclusive distributor for Boston Whaler fishing boats for the Central and north coast of New South Wales.
- Lifestyle Marine runs a number of customer events each year; including ‘Rendezvous' where customers and the Lifestyle Marine team get together in their boats and trip around different waterways together, stopping for a party at a designated spot that includes a BBQ, wine tasting, games and clowns for the kids plus lots of other fun. Other events include model releases and trips to interstate boat shows.
- Lifestyle Marine has one of the largest and broadest ranges of new boats on display at the one site in Australia. New boats from brands like Zodiac, Stacer, Boston Whaler, Sea Ray, North Bank range in size from 2 metres to
14 metres and are riced from $1,000 to $950,000. Normal stock holdings mean around 80 new boats are on display with a value of well over $7,000,000.