Hooked on boats

A six-month contract to build trout boats for a commercial fishing company proved to be the beginning of a dream come true for John Margetts, owner of Hooker Boats, a local boat manufacturer based in Woree.

John, who worked as a boatbuilder on the Gold Coast for 10 years before moving to Cairns in 1995, was working with former pub baron Tom Hedley when he was approached to build the boats. A year later he bought the business and turned it into the success it is today.

“I’ve loved boats since I was a young boy,” John said. “I always wanted my own boat-building business, and Hooker Boats was the first.”

He and his wife Carol started the business in 1998, and in 2016 Hooker Boats relocated to their purpose-built building based in Woree Business Centre with a team of 14 specialised staff and dealerships along the east coast.

Having the new building has given their customers much more opportunities to check on their boats progress regularly, and it speeds up time from ordering to delivery.

He has built over 970 recreational and commercial boats, primarily used in northern fishing waters. 

He has seen many changes in the boat-building industry, from construction and technology to materials and designs.

“My passion is design and, even after 20 years there is always something new to learn,” he said. “I love incorporating latest trends in our boats, and our new premises allows us the space to innovate with three custom workspaces for design, construction and finishing.”

Hooker Boats can be seen throughout Australia, the Torres Straits. PNG, Singapore and India.
John loves seeing the boats being enjoyed.

“Many of our customers come and check on their boats’ progress, and it is fantastic to see their enthusiasm and excitement,” he said. “It is especially great when we get to see the boats in action on the water.”

Hooked on boats
John Margetts
Hooker Boats
Words By Janie Barton • Photo By Catherine Coombs

39 Ponzo Street, Woree
Ph: 4033 1582