Join us on the third Wednesday in October to tour the new and larger showroom and factory of Sirocco Marine, exclusive dealers of the European RIB manufacturer Brig Inflatables. After 18 months in South Florida, Sirocco has expanded into space more than seven times larger than its previous location. The RIBs are supplied not only to yachts but militaries and first responders as well.
Triton Networking is from 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 18 at Sirocco’s new location, 3277 S.E. 14th Ave. in Fort Lauderdale (33316). Until then, learn more about Sirocco Marine from owner Boyd Tomkies.
Tell us about Sirocco Marine / Brig Inflatables. What do you do? What’s the relationship between Sirocco and Brig?
Sirocco Marine Fort Lauderdale and Annapolis are flagship stores for Brig in the United States. Each location carries the entire line of Brig boats. My position is CEO of Sirocco Marine and Brig USA, the U.S. distributor of Brig Inflatables, and manufacturer and distributor of Fluid Watercraft, our commercial (public service, tow and recovery) and large semi-custom tow-behind tenders.
Why Brig? What’s makes them special?
There are a lot of reasons why Brig is special. Brig has become the world’s largest RIB manufacturer, and that’s not because of dumb luck. Brig is a European-designed and -built boat with European quality. It is sold fully loaded at less than the competition. Every five years, each model is re-designed and re-released, just like in the automobile industry. You don’t want to go and buy a new 3 series BMW and find out that it’s the same as your 5-year-old one that you are trying to trade.
Do you provide service or just sales?
We provide a white glove service for all Sirocco Marine customers. Once part of the Brig/Sirocco family, our clients receive the high level of service at five locations is Australia, Maryland and Florida.
Many larger yachts have moved to custom hard-sided tenders. Is there still a place for an inflatable on a yacht like that?
Until now, the large Italian “fish bowl” looking RIBs offered to the yacht market have not been well suited for ferrying guests. Sirocco Marine offers the Brig 10m and Fluid Watercraft tow-behind tenders, which have been designed for larger yachts. Since the worldwide launch of the 33-foot Brig 10m last month, 28 have been sold. The production schedule for Fluid tenders is full until December. Currently, we are building for M/Y Albula, M/Y Axis and M/Y Exit Strategy, to name a few..
Tell us about your new headquarters.
Since opening in 2016 we have outgrown the 8,000-square-foot building in Dania Beach. Our rapid growth is largely in response to the huge void in the South Florida market for premium and large RIBs.
We are now housed in a 72,000-square-foot facility in Fort Lauderdale, conveniently located next to LauderAle. In our first 18 months, we have shipped 56 containers of boats to our Florida and Maryland stores.
This expansive location allows us to carry more inventory — more than 300 boats — and have an 18,000-square-foot showroom. Additionally, we have enough space to build at least six 35-foot RIBs at a time.
Sirocco Marine is a relatively new company, but you’ve been in the industry a while. Tell us a little about your background.
I’m originally from New Zealand, but have been in the U.S. for 22 years. During this time, I worked in the marine industry. The first half of my career was contract yacht racing and race boat management when I competed in a number of world championships, round-the-world races and was part of U.S. Sailing for the Olympic Tornado class.
The second part of my career has been in inflatables. I started an independent dealership in Annapolis, selling and servicing all three Zodiac lines, including a SOLAS inspection station, and we were a warranty facility for most brands.
We built over 200 house brand inflatables. Over the years, we supplied boats to the Pan Am Games in Mexico; had USCG, foreign and local military contracts; and supplied boats to FEMA for disaster relief. We had production equipment and were a subcontractor to Zodiac Milpro for the F470 TACOM contract.
I sold that business to focus on building large RIBs. Fluid Watercraft is now part of Sirocco Marine, and we build boats from 26 to 35 feet. Recently, we have delivered boats for Seatow, TowboatUS, and specialize in tow-behind tenders.
What advice do you have for a yacht’s deck crew in how to care How should crew care for the yacht’s RIBs?
Make sure the boat has the correct PSI in the tubes. After every use, wash them, flush the engine and cover them.
Triton Networking on Oct. 18 is from 6-8 p.m. at Sirocco’s new location, 3277 S.E. 14th Ave in Fort Lauderdale (33316). It’s a little tricky to find under the eastern end of I-595 near the port. If you’ve been to LauderAle, the independent brewery, you are there. Bring business cards and be prepared to meet new people.