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BOAT RANGE           SHOP CHANDLERY           FLAGPOLES           ENQUIRIES

Visit Us





SORRENTO
ADDRESS
129 Hotham Road
Sorrento VIC 3943
Australia
03 5984 4333


OPEN HOURS
Monday - Friday: 8am - 5pm
Saturday: 9am - 12pm
Sunday: 10am - 12pm

Public Holidays: 10am - 12pm
Closed Christmas Day & Good Friday





We respectfully acknowledge the traditional custodions of the land and waterways on which we live, work and play, the Boonwurrung people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respect to Ancestors  past, present and future. We acknowledge sovereignty has never been ceded.

Our History

 

Fishing boat origins

On the south-eastern coast of Australia, in the late 1970s Tim Phillips OAM, along with a group of like-minded friends, begun messing around in Couta Boats. The Couta Boats had been named after the eponymous barracouta – the local fish caught off The Heads, and the most popular fish of the day in the early 1900s.




The Couta Boat was a fast and seaworthy craft, and there had been a slew of local boatbuilders who constructed beautiful and singular boats in the era, such as Andrew Hansen, Mitch Lacco and Peter Locke. Her lines were clean and classic, and she was practical and efficient, having proved herself in navigating under sail the treacherous waters off Pt. Lonsdale and Pt. Nepean in all manner of conditions.

The Couta Boats would head out from Queenscliff before dawn, often catching their quota before racing back to port. Those first back would command the most desirable wharf position and fetch the best price for their catch. There was a competitive edge embedded into the boats even in the early days. In fact, every so often the fishermen would organise a Couta Boat regatta, usually held on New Year’s Day or over the Easter long-weekend.



 
   
The demand was steep for Couta Boats, and right up until the Second World War there was a shortage. With about 15 new boat builds a year, and an abundance of barracouta, the Couta Boats were thriving. However, the boom years did not last. Barracouta eventually became scarce due to overfishing, and the rise of gummy shark as a popular eating fish saw the gradual decline of the Couta Boat fleet.

   

Humble beginnings 

By the 1960s and early 1970s many Couta Boats were rotated out of use and sat dilapidated in garages and backyards. Years later, Tim and his friends begun to take an interest in these craft and set about restoring their own Couta Boats. Thus, The Wooden Boatshop was born, and its early origins exemplify our ongoing commitment to maintaining and preserving important and often long-forgotten aspects of maritime history.

In the early days The Wooden Boatshop was operated out of Tim’s carport in Delgany Avenue, Portsea. Already a master carpenter, Tim undertook an informal boatbuilding apprenticeship with Jack Norling, restoring Couta Boat Wattle and building 28’ Sally alongside Ken Lacco. As a local Couta Boat fleet begun to emerge Tim and his mates started the Portsea Fishing Boat Regatta (now The Portsea Cup). As the fleet kept growing, so too did The Wooden Boatshop. We now occupy 3-acres of land in the heart of Sorrento, where we service and build hundreds of boats throughout the local area.



Committment to craft

Our yard comprises a sail making loft, mechanical workshop, multiple marine engineering factories, a well-stocked boat chandlery, boat storage, flagpole construction, bronze castings, boat painting, antifouling, boat design and manufacture. We are passionate boaters and master craftsmen, placing quality and function above all else!

An incredible boat range

Over the last 30 years we have developed our boat range, which was born out of a love for cruising both near and afar. Our range consists of smaller craft such as the Wyuna Launch, modelled from the early Pilot Boats at Queenscliff, responsible for safely guiding ships through the perilous Heads, to 50’ Launches capable of circumnavigation and outfitted with all the modern amenities such as wood fires, full galley set-ups and futuristic navigation software.

We pride ourselves on building boats capable of practical seafaring, and the foundation of our ethos travels back to the early tales of the Couta Boat. Working boats are reliable, having proved themselves in the hard years spent fishing and working local grounds. Our boat range reimagines traditional working boats and offers those dreaming of a seafaring lifestyle the ideal vessels for exploration.


Constant refinement

To date we have built over 130 boats and have dedicated a lifetime to developing a boat range suitable to any number of purposes. Whether it’s cruising down to Tasmania and exploring the Kent Group Islands, cray-potting, snorkelling, and sailing around Australia, taking a Clinker Dinghy for an afternoon cruise, or racing a Couta Boat off Sorrento, we are a one-stop-shop able to cater to any seafaring itch!

Speak to us about ordering your boat today!


Vision Statement






A well lived, uniquely Australian life!

We see boating and an affinity with the sea as an intrinsic aspect to the fabric of Australian lifestyle and envision a future where its joys and pleasures are widespread, ubiquitous, and sustainable.

Our new boat storage facility in Sorrento supports The Wooden Boatshop’s vision of boating made simple and easy. Over his lifetime Tim Phillips OAM has built a rich culture of boating on the Southern Mornington Peninsula, and we aim to continue to support its growth into the future.

Enhancing beauty & style in Sorrento

Our boat storage facility is an incredible structure, and a much-needed update to our site of 40 years. Critically acclaimed architect March Studio have envisaged a virtuosic building. The façade is made of Coreten steel, specifically designed to elevate the aesthetic and feel of our beautiful local coastline and its material elements.




A trajectory toward sustainability

In demonstrating our respect and awe for the environment, our focus on creating a sustainable business practice is well on its way. The Wooden Boatshop is now completely self-sufficient in its energy requirements.

A small business with big ambitions





Accomplished

Solar
︎    39kw solar system with 73 panels, each at 540W

︎    SOLAREDGE – an optimized inverter technology that analyses & maximises individual panel output & provides real-time data on energy collection

Draining & runoff
︎    Flood mitigation system & on-site soaker pit, meaning all runoff is filtered




Electric vehicles & charging
︎    Wiggins E-Bull electric fork, the first of its kind in Australia

︎    Jungheinrich electric fork

︎    5x EV Zappi charging stations that utilize excess solar only, meaning our fleet is charged 100%  by The Wooden Boatshop green power

︎    Provide customers & staff with free EV charging of company and privately-owned vehicles



Later Phases – TBC


Solar
  • Expand solar collection to all buildings – eventually 160-200k of onsite collection

  • Energy swap with our other sites through POWERLEDGER’S blockchain driven energy trading, ensuring we’re self sufficient for all energy across all sites

  • Electrification of all heating & hot water systems to run on solar
Electric vehicles & charging
  • Expand The Wooden Boatshop vehicle fleet to become c ompletely electric – partially accomplished with two vehicles purchased as of 2023

  • Increase EV charging capacity to 20+ vehicles

  • Electric work boats




Our Values





Striving for perfection

We are highly skilled speciality tradesmen passionate about crafting beautiful, one-of-a-kind boats. Every single aspect of our boat range is quality controlled from our factories in Sorrento and Queenscliff. Our boat range has emerged from a rigorous process of refinement, and through an artistic sensibility honed and polished through a lifetime commitment to wooden boat building.

100% Australian

Unlike the vast majority of contemporary boatbuilders, our boats are 100% Australian. They are built by locals who are expert in their knowledge and skill. When you purchase a boat from our range, you are assured to have the best in the world. We are unlike any other boatbuilders on the market. The boats we offer are efficient, practical, and safe, and are built by hand from beginning to end.  




Sustainability & commitment to materials 

We are committed to ensuring our business model utilises sustainable and ethically sourced timbers and does all that is possible to reduce its carbon footprint. We utilise Cedrela, a plantation grown timber endemic to Africa and whose fragrant aroma is resistant to insects and termites. Cedrela is a wonderful boatbuilding timber, due to its strength-to-weight capacity. It was first used by Joshua Slocum on his boat Liberdade, built in Brazil. Cedrela saws, sands, and bores well, is easy to glue and nail, produces an excellent finish and has a high impact resistance.

Likewise, we also use Iroko and Makore, both timbers are endemic to Africa, and commonly used for boatbuilding purposes. Iroko is known to be an extremely durable timber. American White Oak, an excellent all-round timber commonly used in high-grade furniture and boatbuilding, is utilised for steam bending and much of the finer details on our boats.

Our importer upholds the strictest standards of due diligence and ensures timber products are regulated and traced using licencing, records of audits, log delivery documentation and forest concession licences.

Built to last

The foundation of The Wooden Boatshop rests on that of the historic fishing vessel, the Couta Boat. We envision boats as being built to last well beyond the lifetime of those individuals who construct them. We apply our ethos of long-term thinking to the restoration of historic vessels, and are devoted to ensuring that the materials we so greatly value do not ever go to waste.




 
Achieving net zero

While we take great pleasure and enjoyment from the natural environment, we acknowledge Global Warming and Climate Change presents a litany of major threats toward future generations of seafarers and land-lovers alike. We pledge to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2030. This will be accomplished through a combination of solar energy and the transformation of our fleet of vehicles and forklifts to electric power. We plan to install car charging stations at The Wooden Boatshop premisis in Sorrento in the coming years.

A safer, cleaner environment for all!

Meet Our Team


We’re proud of our team, we’re specialists in what we do. We are committed to Australian manufacturing and the preservation of traditional boatbuilding skills. Our team is driven by passion and an overarching love for all things nautical. Our level of expertise and craftsmanship is rare. We build beautiful boats and our greatest wish is to share our love for the sea and its culture amongst our community.


When you support us, you support local families and Australian manufacturing.



TIM PHILLIPS OAM
Director


WAYNE
General Manager & Boatbuilder



SALLY
Finance Manager


WILL
Production Manager & Boatbuilder


SAM
Logistics Manager


EMMA
Marketing & Communications


TRACEY
Administrator


JANET
Administrator


BOB
Careers


JONO
Design


KYE
Naval Architect


BILL
Engineering



TROY
Engineering


TIM
Head Boatbuilder


JIMMY
Boatbuilder


JAMES
Boatbuilder


RODRIGO
Boatbuilder


RICK
Boatbuilder



ZAC
Boatbuilder & Furniture Maker


CHRIS
Boatbuilder


SURREY
Boatbuilder


LIAM
Boatbuilder



ASHER
Boatbuilder

ALAN
Boatwright



DAVE
Boatwright


FANG
Boatwright




ASH
Boatwright



LINDSAY
Carpenter & Painter


RICHARD
Painter


JAXON
Trade Assistant




CHRIS
Head Mechanic


ANDY
Mechanic


CLAY
Mechanic


GEOFF
Sailmaker