The demand for affordable, durable and safe workboats in Africa has never been greater. Skye Advance Africa is looking to fill that gap by manufacturing light weight, reliable vessels here in Cape Town for the local South African market, and setting up partnerships in the rest of Africa to manufacture and supply into those local markets too.
I was privileged enough to meet two of the team members in Westlake, Cape Town, to see their new Composite Innovation Centre. Ewen Niske is the Founder and CEO. His specialisations include, but are not limited to advanced and high modulus composites. Ewald Engelbrecht, the General Manager, joined in June 2022 and has over 20 years’ Naval experience and a vast network of contacts within the defence and maritime sector. Ewald believes that Skye Advance is ready to lead the charge for innovation in the workboat sector. “Skye Advance has positioned itself as a leader in composites and is able to fill the market gap in workboats”.
This facility provides Skye Advance with a modern environment to facilitate development of specialised closed moulding technology for the marine sector where composites are applied. The facility was created after the successful completion of scientific research, funded by DTIC, into locally produced raw materials for use in the commercial and defence workboats sector in Africa. Aluminium has long been the material of choice in African workboats but this study highlighted the advantages of high modulus composites over aluminium, and has opened a world of opportunities for manufacturing the crucial workboats not only in South Africa, but in other African countries too.
Tooling is underway for the Skye 10 and 38 series, due to be completed in the first quarter of 2023. There is real interest in the vessels both locally and across the African continent. The, lightweight, high payload fresh water workboats are designed to service Africa’s demand for safer and more efficient work platforms for fishing, patrol and ferry.
One of the key things that drives the success of Skye Advance is their passion about education and training. Ewen is a great mentor and educator, committed to delivering QUALITY and PRACTICAL training to his team. He is a perfectionist and understands the exacting standards involved in closed moulding.
“Mostly in the young I see the most potential for teaching processes as they are blessed with 2 important traits , the need to feel purpose and the wish it develop their lives “, says Ewen. Presently there are two dynamic young men, Byron and Reginal, training under his careful eye.
Skye Advance is preparing to launch the Skye 10 Series into Africa this year. They have aligned themselves with supportive suppliers that will help them get there. They are also looking at new production partners to optimise in country local production, upskilling and sustainable job creation.
Their motto says it all: Skye Advance is building in Africa for Africa and beyond!
Veda Pretorius, South Africa
Tel: +27 82 975 1156
Disclaimer: Global Marine Business Advisors is a registered legal entity and is a network of independent marine industry advisors. In all articles the opinions expressed are those of the author and does not necessarily reflect those of GMBA.