Custom vs production

If you prefer quality, you’ll prefer
a custom boat

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Choosing between custom and 
production boats

Welcome to our guide for making an informed choice between custom and production built boats. We understand that buying a boat is a significant investment with a multitude of options and possibilities.

Choosing between a custom-built or production-built vessel is a complex decision, with both options offering distinct advantages and considerations. So, whether you are an experienced boater who knows precisely what they want and is looking for the vessel that fulfils those imperatives, or you have been dreaming about ‘your’ boat for as long as you can remember, and now you are ready to make it happen; this guide aims to provide a factual comparison, empowering you to make an informed and confident choice.

image Sailing Yacht A’s open tender, SYA 3

Unveiling the
custom experience

Custom: The essence of a custom boat lies in its ability to reflect your specific needs and preferences. From layout and design to materials and technology, every aspect is tailored to your vision. This level of personalisation ensures a truly unique vessel that perfectly complements your boating aspirations.


Our approach is one of collaboration with the goal of giving you the best build experience we can. We will give advice when appropriate, making suggestions if, from our many years of building custom boats, we know it would be of value to help improve the design. To realise the full benefits of a custom build, a close collaboration between the client, designer, and builder is essential; this is the fun and creative part, where exceptional results can be achieved.


Our advice and recommendations are always given with care and understanding, as our objective is for your build experience to be as positive, enjoyable and relaxed as possible, with the end result being a beautifully crafted boat that is exactly what you wanted.


Production: Coming in standardised models, production boats offer less flexibility in overall design. Common configurations and components are utilised across their model ranges to achieve economies of scale and a more accessible price point. Choices are generally limited to established layouts and pre-selected materials. This approach allows for quicker acquisition and eliminates the design complexities associated with custom builds.


Note: When comparing prices between custom and production quotes, ensure all the features included in the custom build are also included in the production build. Often, there will be significant items of machinery and hardware, fitout and finish that will be additional to the standard list price.  

image Matuku, Artnautica 60 Sportfisher – flybridge

Quality, craftsmanship,
and lasting value

Custom: One of the most significant differentiators between custom and production boats lies in the craftsmanship. Our custom-built vessels are meticulously crafted by qualified, skilled, passionate boatbuilders who are immensely proud of their work. The quality of the materials used, advanced build techniques and attention to detail typically command a higher initial investment. However, the advantages are significantly higher strength-to-weight ratios, quality of finish and superior durability, making a custom boat good value for money in the longer term. Additionally, the handcrafted and exclusivity of custom built boats can potentially lead to stronger resale values, especially for well-maintained and sought-after designs.


Production: Mass production allows manufacturers to leverage economies of scale, generally lowering purchase prices. However, resale values can be more susceptible to market fluctuations and model depreciation.


Additionally, the materials and processes used in production boats, such as gel coat and polyester resins - selected as they are easier to mass produce with a low-skill labour force- mean they will be more susceptible to the impact of normal wear and tear.

image T2 Artefact - Stern

Tailored Design
and Versatility

Custom: Tailored design and high-quality materials translate directly to superior performance characteristics. Whether you're a passionate angler or leisurely cruiser, an avid adventurer or thrill to the adrenaline rush of yacht racing, your bespoke design - incorporating your specifications - will optimise the areas important to you. This level of control empowers you to create a one-of-a-kind vessel that is the physical manifestation of your vision.


Production: Established production processes, highly automated systems, large production runs and semiskilled labour lead to economies of scale and cost savings. These factors also limit flexibility and adaptability. Once in build, any change to a production design will be very difficult, if not impossible to incorporate.

image Matuku, Artnautica 60 Sportfisher – Cockpit dinette with retractable multi-functional display

In Summary

Yes, committing to a custom built boat will generally require a larger initial investment than a production boat, and you will be very involved in the design and build. However, the investment in a custom-built boat is more than just the purchase price; it's an investment in a one-of-a-kind experience that few people get to enjoy.

The ability to tailor your vessel to exactly match your preferences not only enhances your enjoyment but also contributes to its long-term value. With their exceptional craftsmanship and personalised design, custom boats tend to hold their value compared to production models. This distinctiveness, combined with the thrill of sailing on a vessel uniquely yours, gives you a return that cannot be quantified in mere dollars and is a return that mass-produced alternatives cannot replicate.

We understand that this choice is pivotal to your boating journey, and our commitment is to assist you in making a decision that aligns perfectly with your aspirations. Should you have any questions or require further assistance, please get in touch with us – our team is here to guide you every step of the way.