Not too long ago in my younger days the Zodiac brand of Inflatable Boats was the Holy Grail of inflatables and for good reason too. Zodiac pioneered everything we know about inflatable boats and RIBs not to mention their work in new materials and material science / construction techniques.
Since my early days as a marine professional and sailor (let’s just call them the 80’s) I’ve seen countless inflatable boat manufacturers come and go trying to offer cheap copy cat boats that weren’t even close to Zodiac’s beginner line of boats.
Fast forward to 2015 and I see countless boat manufacturers springing up, online this time, and I’m getting the calls here at the shop on how to fix the knock offs. Of course everyone always says theirs is a “Zodiac” but after more questions it always turns out it’s a knock off they purchased somewhere else. (you get what you pay for)
For some reason many of the people in America and in the boating world just call any inflatable boat a Zodiac especially if they have a problem. Therein lies some of the problem with the brand. Somehow Zodiac’s awesome build quality and years of media exposure have turned the inflatable boat definition to Zodiac despite who made it where. When you throw in Joe Average’s web special he found online for hundreds or thousands cheaper than the similar model of genuine Zodiac it was copied from and call it a Zodiac, you tarnish the good name and brand Zodiac has worked so hard on for over 100 years.
Yes we know Dr Bombard got Cousteau into inflatable boats, and yes we know the various Special Forces in the World insist on Zodiac because of the quality and dependability. It’s also well known ( at least in certain knowledgeable circles) that Zodiac, Avon, and Bombard all share the same parents and live under Zodiac’s roof.
I for one am super excited Zodiac is taking the lead once again and stepping up the game to compete in this internet shopping crazed market place of no name knock offs. Zodiac’s new CEO isn’t mucking about and neither is Zodiac’s Manufacturing & R&D Departments. I’ve included a press release from a trades source that I found appropriate.
Remember when you are shopping for a boat it’s not usually a good idea to go cheap, your very life depends on it. Get your next Zodiac Inflatable Boat from IBC, North America’s Senior Dealer and get what you are paying for.
This article taken from tradeonlytoday.com
Zodiac Nautic North America, a subsidiary of RIB and inflatable manufacturer Zodiac Nautic, is planning to introduce a new owner to the industry at the Nov. 5-9 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
The company sent an introductory message to its dealer network from new corporate owner and CEO Dominique Heber-Suffrin late this summer.
Heber-Suffrin will address the marine media on Zodiac Nautic and its North American operation’s plans during a press conference set for 2 p.m. on Nov. 5.
“We are pleased to introduce Zodiac Nautic’s new owner and CEO, Dominique Heber-Suffrin, to the marine industry officially,” Zodiac Nautic North America president Gary Durnan said in a statement.
“In his first official statement to the worldwide dealers and business partners, his pride and passion about the Zodiac brand was more than evident. We both plan on addressing the media during this time, setting the record straight as to what’s been going on with our companies, our future plans and setting aside rumors that have been initiated by those outside our circle of knowledge.”
“The message is a simple one,” Durnan added. “Zodiac Nautic is running at full capacity, producing inflatables and RIBS from 6 feet to 28 feet, at its three production facilities. The R&D team is working overtime to get our new products and designs to market in a timely fashion, with exciting new products in development. The new ownership, including Heber-Suffrin taking a leadership role as our new CEO, will be the turning point in this iconic brand’s return to its rightful place as the industry leader. To put it bluntly, Zodiac is back.”