Warwick Buckley completed his apprenticeship in 1978 and became naval architect in 1997. Since then, he has been involved in boat building companies, finally opening his own composite boat building company British-based Composite Moulding.
What do you see driving the industry right now?
In the marine industry, it’s the construction of sea based wind farms that are driving most commercial boat builders to develop support vessels, usually in the form of working catamarans. That in turn drives my business and we are looking at the development of catamarans with some of our customers.
What do you view as your main competition?
In the marine market you have to be very aware of your competitors. Geographically, our location in the U.K. means we charge more due to labor rates etc., but on the flip side the area we are in is renowned for its maritime heritage. As a company we strive to keep our quality at exceptional standards to convince the customer that getting their product built here has significant advantages.
Do you view the marine industry as thriving of failing?
I wouldn’t say it’s not thriving, it’s doing fairly well. We have good contracts currently and plenty of interesting projects we’re involved in. Personally, I’m slightly concerned with the current government’s plans for next year, but they have already stimulated some growth so hopefully this will continue to grow and the country will be able to sustain the increases in taxes. Our industry is a cottage industry. People know each other one way or the other and you often see exceptional partnerships to achieve demanding projects. It really is a great industry to work in, especially if you like boats!
What factor would help the composites industry expand?
I would like to see the industry better understood and supported in terms of education. All the apprentices that work at our company are on broad courses and need to complete many unnecessary units to achieve the required points to receive their qualification. I believe a more comprehensive composite apprenticeship is needed to support and get more young people into the industry.
Where is there room for composite improvement?
There should be more solutions to the disposal of composites. End of life products are a problem and it would be great to see support for the many concepts available to start recycling composites. Unfortunately composites have very little scrap value, so it’s hard to create an industry niche for it. However, with the right backing I think something could be developed. I also think there’s room for more composites growth within the architectural and construction industries.