A LIFETIME spent building boats eventually led general manager of Harwood Marine, Gio Cervella, from the small Sardinian island of La Maddalena, Italy, to the riverside village of Harwood, Clarence Valley.
These days he supervises a team of 46 workers including boat builders, machinists, mechanics, hydraulic engineers, marine electricians and boilermakers.
Among his crew are apprentice marine mechanic Trent Carr and marine mechanic Sean Waite - they worked on making the company's most recent new venture, the Bambra, seaworthy.
"We have been doing marine repair work since 1995," Mr Cervella said.
"However there was not always work available in that area so we decided to go into boat building to allow us to keep all of our staff on full-time."
Mr Cervella clearly feels a certain affection for his home in the Clarence and is an important supporter of the local economy.
"We try to keep everything as local as possible,' he said.
The Bambra was built for Marine Diesel Traders and will end up in Brisbane.
It is the third boat of its kind Harwood Marine has built in the past 18 months and according to Mr Cervella, "this one at 16.45 metres is the biggest yet".
With testing on the Bambra nearing conclusion, the company is looking to the future and will be pulling a 76-metre cargo barge out of the Clarence and onto the Harwood slipway for repairs and maintenance.
Other projects the company is launching include the production of two 12-metre aluminium barges and possibly another tug, like the Bambra.
The company has the ability and the expertise to manufacture everything from commercial vessels to freight ships, small ships, fast ferries, patrol boats, work boats, racing yachts and even cruising restaurants.
The company's directors also supervise the Norfolk Island Shipping Company and help transport the Clarence's produce to the tiny island 1610 kilometres off the coast of Sydney.
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