Dealer profile: Pacific Marine

From humble beginnings, Adelaide’s Pacific Marine has grown into a retail powerhouse on a grand scale. Rod Chapman recently spoke with owner and principal, Tim Hearse, about the company’s winning formula.

Dealer profile: Pacific Marine
Dealer profile: Pacific Marine

Paint a picture of Pacific Marine in the early days.

My father, Allan, bought an old service station site in 1976, just south of where Pacific Marine is today. We began by selling wooden carvel boats and timber clinkers. We were on about 2000m² and back in those days the property was fenced with an old anchor chain. Then we had five Mariner outboards delivered to us, and we went from there — we ended up staying on that site for the next 28 years. Allan passed away some years back. Actually, one of the worst things I ever did was kick him out of the business. I bought the business from him in goodwill in 1984 — then I immediately had to employ three people to do his job!

And Pacific Marine today?

In March of 2003 we moved into our current premises — here we’re on 13,000 m² with about 3000 m² undercover, in a purpose-built facility with a porcelain-tiled floor and air-conditioning and heating. Although the number fluctuates, we generally have around 200 boats on display, and we have a total of 21 staff. My sister Jane works here in administration, and my nephew Alex also works here. We’re on a prime location and it’s a fantastic building; everyone loves coming to work in the morning.

What product lines do you carry?

We carry Haines Signature, Bar Crusher, Four Winns, Centurion, Mako Craft, Seaswirl, Webster’s Twinfisher, Sportscraft, Skicraft and Goldstar, plus engines from Honda, Yamaha and Evinrude, and trailers from Dunbier, Mackay and Seacraft. Sportscraft is our own brand — we’ve been building Sportscraft boats since we bought the name in 1986 — and our chandlery has, among other accessories, around $200,000-worth of electronics on display. We also have a bait and tackle shop.

And what services do you offer?

In terms of engines we’ll service anything from 2hp outboards through to big-block petrol engines. Our mechanics have got the best tools — we’ve got dynamometers here and we can run engines in the workshop if we need to. We’ve got three washdown bays, a detailing area, two shipwrights (and an apprentice) plus marine trimmers. We do stainless steel and aluminium fabrication too, and we have a fibreglassing area.

Can you recall any memorable moments with any of your customers?

We used to call in boating and fishing reports for a local Adelaide radio station, and we’d go about 60km up and down the coast, handing out drinks on the beach and spreading the good word about boating. One morning I headed down to Maslin Beach — Adelaide’s nudist beach — to hand out some drinks. The nudists down there always seemed to need the drinks the most! Anyway, so I’m handing out drinks and up walks a customer whose little outboard I’d serviced just the week before! There he is, with nothing on, chatting away, and introducing me to his wife, who’s also got nothing on. Yep, we like to have a bit of fun here at Pacific Marine! More recently, we’ve started selling boats to not just the kids of original Pacific Marine customers, but their grandkids too — that’s happened a few times now.

What advice do you always give to your new customers?

Take your time with your first boat, go somewhere quiet to get acquainted with it, and enjoy the learning process. We do a run-through here at the yard, but if someone’s nervous or a little unsure we’ll head down to the water with them and go through the boat there, which takes around two hours.

Pacific Marine is located on the corner of Tapleys Hill Road and Old Port Road, Royal Park, Adelaide, SA. Call (08) 8444 2444 or visit for more information.

Photo: Tim Hearse and a Sportscraft Walk Thru 185.


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