It all started in 1996, founder Wayne McKinley, a passionate fisherman and skilled aluminium fabricator, launched Senator Boats in Napier, Hawke’s Bay. He designed our boats to conquer the rugged seas off Hawke’s Bay, ensuring safety and comfort. His legacy lives on, and under new ownership by Grant Simmonds since 2017, we’ve set our sights on new horizons, evolving every facet of our brand – from branding, marketing, manufacturing systems, quality assurance to product development.
Our dedicated team puts in the hard yards and thrives on challenges, and when the fishing’s on, you bet we’re right in the thick of it. For us, it’s not a job; it’s a way of life. Teaming up with respected marine dealers across New Zealand, Australia, and New Caledonia – Senator Boats focused on what we do best – building awesome boats.
Senator Boats is not just about business; we’re about living the boating life. Our team knows the ins and outs of boating because we’re boaters ourselves. We’re not merely clocking in; we’re living our passion day in and day out. We know where we’re headed, and we’re putting our heart and soul into making it happen.
Recently Senator Boats won the prestigious award for the best specialist fishing boat under 6 meters at the Hutchwilco Boat Show in Auckland, May 2023 which reflects our team’s commitment to excellence. Our customers and dealers are crucial to our success, and we’re proud to stand second only to Stabicraft in NZ, aluminium chamber boat by volume.
Senator Boats also proudly claimed Hawke’s Bays Best Emerging Exporter award, ASB Export Business Awards, August 2023. This recognition celebrates the brand’s emerging presence in the Australian market.
Each Senator Boat can be tailored to the customer’s needs through extensive design options this means the boat owner can get the boat they really want. Prioritising unparalleled buoyancy and unwavering safety, Senator Boats has cemented its status as a leader in aluminium boatbuilding. Our boats conquer New Zealand & Australian sea conditions with higher cabins and steady hulls. It’s simple – more boat, means better value. Our decks are spacious and ready for action and safety at sea is sacred. Our standards are a mix of design, build, and your input from boaties. The Senator Standard sets the bar for Kiwi aluminium boats.
Owen Willis, skipper of EPIC Adventures, says, “Epic Adventures operate 365 days of the year. Knowing we will get our customers home safely every day is why we choose Senator Boats – our boats are truly part of the Epic Experience.”
Senator recognises that boating offers an escape and a genuine connection with nature, friends, and family. The Book “Blue Mind” – explores the positive effects of being near, in, on or under water – Senator Boats champions the benefits of time spent out on your boat, fishing and enjoying new adventures.
Our journey beyond New Zealand’s shores started with a chance encounter. In 2019 Greg Collet of the Sports Marine Centre, Bunbury in Western Australia strolled into our office unannounced in his board shorts and “thongs.” That unexpected meeting sparked a four-hour conversation, and the rest, as they say, is history. Senator now has dealers in W.A, S.A, VIC and New Caledonia and coming soon to NSW.
We’ve faced stern challenges, disruptions caused by the likes of the Covid-19, Cyclone Gabrielle, and major supply chain constraints – but we’re not the kind to back down. Just as our boats navigate some tough sea conditions, we’ve made sure to take care of our team during the Global Covid-19 Pandemic and the devastation of Cyclone Gabrielle which hit Hawke’s Bay Tuesday 14 February 2023.
Our construction standards stem from a cooperative effort between our dedicated design and build team. Together, we’ve created the Senator Boats Quality Standard, showcasing our strong dedication to building boats with impressive stability and safety, setting a top standard in New Zealand’s aluminium boatbuilding.
We’re here for the long haul, building boats that not only “Rule the Sea” but also create memories that last a lifetime.