Burke Marine was started back in 1971 by Martin Burke on the shores of Sydney Harbour. He combined his boating experience with a knowledge of textile manufacturing to create the family-run company. Now over 40 years old, the company is known for their sailing products around the country with their reputation spreading overseas. We spoke to Burke Marine owner Ant Elliot about the Australian brand.
What are the brand values of Burke?
An extensive range of quality, affordable, safe and reliable products covering a wide range of sailors needs.
What differentiates Burke from its competitors in both clothing and safety gear?
We offer a wide range of clothing and footwear covering offshore, coastal, cruising and dinghy sailing at very affordable prices. We have an extensive range of inflatable PFDs from entry level to offshore racing, PFDs for kids to adults sizing from 3XS TO 2XL. An extensive range of safety equipment from safety lines to life buoys and our “Seabrake”drouges. We also offer a range of accessories including bags, gloves, trapeze harnesses and dog PFDs.
How has the market for Burke changed since it began more than 40 years ago?
40 years ago everything was made in Sydney and there was less competition. Burke has stayed true to its values of quality, affordability and meeting sailors needs not only in wet weather gear, but safety and accessories and footwear. It is a trusted brand in the market in Australia today just as it has been for the last 40 Years.
If there’s a product you’re best known for, what is it and why is it so successful?
We have such an extensive range covering all aspects it’s hard to say what we are best known for.
If you went into any yacht club change room across the country you would be sure to see a Burke Yachtsman bag, if you were to watch kids sailing for the first time they would have a pair of our wetsuit boots on and if you jumped on a yacht you would be sure to find a Burke inflatable PFD, a horseshoe lifebuoy and possibly a retriever float and a throw bag.
What can we expect from Burke in the next 12 months, new products?
We are working on new fabrics and technology across our wet weather and PFD ranges working with some of the leading manufacturers around the world. We are introducing some new deck shoes which have just hit the market and are at a great price point. We are also talking to sailors and getting a better understanding of what they need and what they believe is a fair and reasonable price.
Burke is primarily available through retail stores rather than online, why is that?
We feel very strongly in supporting our retailers and believe that our products need to be seen and touched and that our retailers have the expertise to be able to educate their customers on what is best for their needs. We have an online presence show casing all of our products and then driving customers to all of our retailers across the country.
What are the challenges and opportunities for the Australian sailing industry?
Like any industry the challenges and opportunities can be seen as the same thing. Keep innovating and producing products that your consumer wants and trusts at the best value. You need to deliver want they want and not lose their trust. Safety and quality go hand in hand.
Beyond sailing, what other sports use Burke gear?
Once again as our range is so comprehensive, covering so many aspects of boating and outdoor activities we see a lot of our product on recreational boaties whether they are cruising on Sydney Harbour or fishing in Port Philip Bay.
Kayaking and stand up paddle boarding are also picking up on our extensive range of PFDs. Our wet weather gear
and waterproof bags are also popular with surf lifesaving clubs.
As Burke has a global market, what regions are most important to you and why?
This is on our to do list. We have spent the last twelve months getting a better understanding of the Australian market place and we still have a long way to go here. Watch this space for overseas opportunities.
For more information and a look at their range head to www.burkemarine.com.au.