Start your engines
“The company this year celebrates its centenary, and for the vast majority of those 100 years WaterMota has been deeply involved in the marine industry,” explains Mike Beacham, managing director of the business. “The company was first established in London, in 1911, before relocating to the West Country in 1940 following the outbreak of World War II at a time when it was building a significant number of outboard motors for the admiralty.
“One of the defining moments for the company occurred during the Suez Canal crisis of the late 1950s. It was at the height of this event that the industry suffered from a big shortage of petrol, something that led WaterMota to pursue the idea of moving into the diesel engine market. In tandem with Exeter University and Ford, a diesel engine, based on the Ford Cortina petrol engine known as the Sea Panther was developed and subsequently marketed, very successfully, by WaterMota for many years, until the mass arrival of smaller, Japanese manufactured diesels.”
Once Mike took over the business he began the search for a new range of engines that would help steer the business forward. This search culminated in 1997 with the discovery of a range of engines designed and engineered by Daewoo: “After coming across these engines in Greece, I set off for Korea and it was there that a deal was signed with Daewoo, an agreement that initiated a change in business strategy for WaterMota as it went from being a manufacturing company to a distribution company,” Mike says. “Over the next few years the company set up a dealer network across the country, and this has taken the business from being a £500,000 company to one that has a growing turnover of £3.5 million.”
In 2005 Doosan Infracore took over the assets of Daewoo Heavy Industries and the business grew as Doosan became an accepted alternative. They are a traditional heavy engine, best suited for commercial workboats, pilot vessels, tugs, multicast, passenger vessels and fishing vessels. Other agreements were secured from South Korea including D-I Industries (formerly Dong-I), a manufacturer of reversing gearboxes, power take-offs and steering systems; and JMP, manufacturers of flexible impeller sea water pumps for a variety of engine manufacturers including Cummins, Daewoo, Detroit Diesels, Doosan, Hyundai & Volvo. More recently the company has secured an exclusive contract for the distribution of Hyundai SeasAll engines, lightweight modern units designed for fast general service, sports charter & SOLAS rescue boats that will soon be marketed towards the pleasure boat industry.
“In August 2011, the company signed its latest agreement with Dutch company Craftsman Marine, one that gives WaterMota access to a range of small, competitively priced engines, bow thrusters, & engine room installation accessories,” Mike continues. “This a major development for the company, allowing it to market these Mitsubishi based engines to potential buyers around the UK & Republic of Ireland. It is a good quality engine type and one that is already known and available. With this in mind, Craftsmen actually approached WaterMota first, keen to take advantage of the dealer network the company possesses. This show of faith in the company will almost immediately be repaid when WaterMota appears at the upcoming Southampton Boat Show, with Craftsman products being prominently displayed on the company’s stand for all to see.”
Though the majority of its business is conducted today through dealers, WaterMota does retain a small machine shop that allows it to add value to various projects. Amongst the applications that are often custom-built by the company are gensets, power packs, shaft extensions, pulleys, alternators and base plates: “Unlike a lot of the large companies operating in this field of the marine industry, WaterMota has the flexibility to add value to nearly any project at a competitive price,” Mike states.
Over its 100 years of activity the company has gradually grown in size, diversifying its product portfolio to meet changing industry trends, ukand as Mike highlights, the evolution of the business and the maritime sector shows no sign of abating: “One of the things being seen today is the quiet growth of the company’s industrial engine market, something showcased again recently when WaterMota supplied Glasgow based company Aqua Energy with a number of engines for concrete cutting applications.
“At the same time the company is starting to push further into the pleasure boat market, a side of the business that it will be promoting heavily at a number of upcoming boat shows, and is seeing a strong rise in demand on the commercial side, particularly in relation to the offshore wind market. Here WaterMota is supplying an increasing number of engines for use in wind farm support vessels and this is a trend that will almost certainly grow in the months and years to come.”
With business growth occurring in various different market sectors it is understandable that the company has high hopes for the future: “Five years down the line WaterMota will ideally be a very profitable company, turning over close to £10 million a year and doing whatever is necessary to grow via new products, new contracts and new business ventures. It is an in-built characteristic of the company that it is always looking for potential customers and it is because of this that WaterMota continues to grow quietly and steadily,” Mike concludes.
Exclusive distributor of industry-leading engines
100 years of maritime involvement
Operates an extensive dealer network throughout the UK & Eire