Archibald Wilberforce Spooner acquired 300 acres of land at Scoresby in 1945 which he named "Dalmore Park" and where he built a French Provincial mansion.
In 1958, whilst overseas, he noticed a new material, fibreglass, and realised its potential in the boat-building industry. Soon after, he established the Caribbean Boat Factory. It soon became necessary to have a lake for testing the boats and in the early 1960s Lake Caribbean was created.
It was subsequently opened to the public and developed his three sons (Barry, Rod & Greg) and know today as Caribbean Gardens.
OUR HISTORY LINKED TO CARIBBEAN
Arch Spooner founded the business as International Plastics and commenced operations with 6 employees at the current Scoresby address. Arch known as the father of Australian Boating, he was the first person to pursue fibreglass marine technology in Australia.
During the first year of production, the output was 85 boats and the factory was 4,500sq ft in size, compared to the size of today of some 50,000sq ft.
Boat Number 1 - An exciting piece of history. This is the first boat we built, the SPORTSKI 15'. Photo was taken here at Scoresby in the home swimming pool of Arch Spooner.
Arch Spooner negotiated and secured the license to build the UK Dorsett range of fibreglass boats at Scoresby. About this time, the Caribbean brand was introduced to identify International's range of smaller Runabouts.
Mercury Outboard Engines were imported into Australia & distributed for the first time by International Marine.
Granted exclusive manufacturing license to build the Bertram, range of Cruisers to be sold both locally in Australia and exported throughout the world.
The Spooner family development project of turning a swamp in the bayside Melbourne suburb of Elwood, into the now famous St Kilda Marina. The complex was finally completed and opened. Greg Spooner (Arch's son), is the current Managing Director of St Kilda Marina.
1970 - Columbia range of Yachts, designed and built by International Marine and introduced into the Australian market.
Barry Spooner (Arch's son) takes over management of International Marine.
Pride range of boats was taken over by International Marine.
Bridge Marine (Service & Repair Centre) at St Kilda Marina opens for business. Owned by Doug McNaughton and John Fisher.
Well known Victorian dealer Jackson Bros. opens the first boat sales office at St Kilda Marina selling Bertram & Caribbean Boats. Business owned by brothers Des and Bob Jackson who hired an apprentice named Steve Gow. Several years later, the business became Steve Gow Marine.
Richard Spooner (Barry's son) takes over management of International Marine in his role as Managing Director.
Steve Gow Marine business purchased by Darren Finkelstein and Andrew Rose on July 15 and with a name change, St Kilda Boat Sales Pty Ltd was born.
Darren & Andrew standing with the very first boat they sold. On August 21, 2002 David Whitehead purchased a 1980 Caribbean Belmont for $14,500.
Bridge Marine (our Service & Repair Centre) owned by Doug McNaughtan at St Kilda Marina was purchased by St Kilda Boat Sales. Darren and Andrew take over business on February 1.
Over 50,000 boats have been manufactured by International Marine since production began, making the Caribbean brand, one of the most successful boat builders in the world today....
Caribbean 27 and Caribbean 49 Flybridge Cruiser model release
Caribbean 35 Flybridge Cruiser MKIII model release
Caribbean 40 Flybridge Cruiser MKII model release
Acquisition of Michy Marine (Boat Washing & Cleaning) by our Service Centre.
The Caribbean 2300 model launch
Launch of our first book; Honey, let's buy a BOAT!
Available worldwide on: Paperback, eBook for iTunes and Amazon for Kindle
First print run sells out!
Second version of the book is released
Print run of our paperback sells out in lead up to summer season
Book reaches No 5 on iTunes best-sellers list (sport and rec category)
'Osprey' the ultimate 40ft game fisher is SOLD to PNG
Third print run of paperback version
Award win for book at Melbourne Boat Show for "best boating industry promotion"
October release of the follow-up sequel to the award winning, bestselling book: Honey, let's buy a BOAT! with the second book called; Honey, let's go BOATING! 101 bucket list of boating destinations (Victorian edition)
Darren Finkelstein 'The Boat Guy' starts on radio 3AW presenting the Beach N' Bay reports <live> during summer 2014/15, 2015/16,
Boat No 55,555 is the new Caribbean model '420 Express' at the Sydney Boat Show in July-August 2015
St Kilda Boat Sales opens boat sales and chandlery office at Wyndham Harbour on 13 April 2016
Caribbean 2700 - Open (Runabout) launched at Melbourne Boat Show June 2016
Richard Spooner (left) receiving award on behalf of the family, from Gordon Howlett (right), President of the Boating Industry Association of Victoria (BIA) in Recognition Of Service To Industry - July 2007.
Celebrating over 55 years and 55,555 boats built. What a magnificent contribution to Australian boating. Congratulations to the Spooner family.
Currently, International Marine has 20 models of boats in the product range. All branded Caribbean, ranging in size from 16ft Runabouts & Half Cabins to the mighty 49ft Flybridge Cruiser.
Celebrating 55 years + 55,555 boats built. What a magnificent contribution to Australian boating.
Congratulations to the Spooner family.
Currently, International Marine has 23 models of boats in the product range. All branded Caribbean, ranging in size from 16ft Runabouts & Half Cabins to the mighty 49ft Flybridge Cruiser.
BoatPoint Review of International Marine, celebrating 50 years of Australian boat building. November 2008
Profile of International Marine in Trade-A-Boat Special Edition No: 400 (1mb .pdf)
People always ask us to explain the facinating Bertram + Caribbean connection and partnership.
In short, a long-lasting relationship was built in 1960 between the late Arch Spooner and family of Melbourne, who are owners of International Marine Pty. Ltd - the makers of Caribbean Boats and the late Richard (Dick) Bertram and his family - the founding owner of Bertram Yacht Company of Miami Florida, USA.
As consequence from 1963, International Marine made Bertram Cruisers at the families manufacturing facility in Caribbean Gardens, Scoresby Victoria for 26 years. International Marine built the Bertram boats under license and exported them around the world, right up until the Bertram Yacht Companies closure in 1989.
Following the demise of Bertram, International Marine purchased the moulds, intellectual property and designs of the Bertram product family and have now integrated the proven Bertram hull and timeless classical lines, into their own proudly Australian-made product, marketed under the successful Caribbean brand name.
Today, Caribbean Boats are exported around the world and sold in over 20 countries. Caribbean Boats are built to Australian Standards and carry approved compliance.
The next generation of the Spooner family are still making Caribbean Boats - from 16ft trailerable Runabouts & Half Cabins to the luxurious 49ft Flybridge Cruiser. The manufacturing facility is still located in Scoresby and employs over 100 Victorian's to hand-build their boats.
Around the world, mariners still refer to Caribbean Cruisers as Bertram's and vise-versa.
Factory tours are offered to genuine buyers, ask us to arrange!!
The late Richard (Dick) Bertram truly deserves legendary status......
His impact on recreational boating as we know it can never be underestimated.
It was during his time as a sail trimmer aboard the 12.0-metre Americas Cupper ‘Vim’ (which later spend time in Australia as a trial horse for our first tilt at the cup with ‘Gretel’) that the Dick Bertram story had its beginnings.
Sailing off Newport, Rhode Island, Bertram’s attention was drawn to a tender vessel with a radical hull shape that was handling the rough conditions with ease.
It was a deep vee design and the man at the wheel was another to become a legend in boating circles, C. Raymond Hunt.
Bertram liked what he saw that day in the late 1950s and looked Hunt up and commissioned a 31’ timber boat in the then-radical deep vee design.
Although later models were to win fame as sportfishing boats, that first vessel was a race boat, not a sportfish and it was named ‘Moppie’, the nickname of Bertram’s wife.
Bertram was to become one of the 'Founding Fathers' of modern offshore powerboat racing and ‘Moppie’ handled monstrous seas to win the inaugural Miami-Nassau race and became the foundation stone of what would become the Bertram Empire.
In 1963 Bertram visited Australia and in a deal brokered by the late Arch Spooner, head of Melbourne’s International Marine, agreed to a licensing agreement for the company to build Bertram Yachts.
(Pictuere above) Dick Bertram in Brave Moppie
It was an arrangement that lasted 20-years and proved so successful that there were times when International Marine was building more boats than the Bertram Yacht Company.
Somewhat surprisingly, Dick Bertram did not stay on with the company, departing in 1964 to concentrate on his brokerage business.
According to his associates, he always regarded himself as a boat broker, not a boat builder.
He was to remain in the brokerage business for the remainder of his working life and passed away, aged 84, in 2000.