by Jeni Bone
Brothers, Carl and Grant Amor founded Aqualuma Underwater Lighting when they couldn’t find suitable lights for their own boats. Four years on, their brand is the source of innovative LED lighting for boats all over the world.
Aqualuma has competitors, but none with the innovative LED lighting the company specialises in.
'Basically, we just didn’t find anything on the market that we liked,' says Carl, whose background includes car restoration and boat maintenance.
'We wanted lights for our own boat and looked all around the world to find what was out there.'
Manufacturers of LED lighting and cameras, four years on, the company increasing its turnover 70% per annum.
According to Carl Amor, there are plenty of lighting brands on the market, but none with the unique offering of Aqualuma.
'Our lights are composed of a one piece injection molded polycarbonate housing – the same material used to make bulletproof glass – which doesn’t corrode, has no lenses to leak and is serviceable from inside the boat.
'It uses an LED-powered light engine that draws 0.4 of an amp, which is not much power at all and generates almost no heat.'
The light face can even withstand being struck repeatedly with a heavy hammer without damage to the casing or LEDs, says the company, and are pressure tested to provide water tightness down to 1,300ft.
The company has patent applications in 127 countries, which Amor concedes does not stop people from copying, 'but we have done a great job with our branding over the years', he says.
Along with advertising in many of the reputable trade magazines around the world, Aqualuma has a presence at local and international trade shows including traveling to Miami, METS, MATS, Ibex, Fort Lauderdale, as well as relying on distributors in markets abroad to attend smaller shows. In all, the brand is represented in 11 countries.
Aqualuma is used by international manufacturers and companies spanning the gamut of the marine industry, including Azimut, Riviera, Maritimo, Azzura, Sunseeker, Alaska Motor yachts, Pirate Sportfish, Cabo, Blackwatch, Hatteras, Baja, Princess, Talon, Lloyds Ships and Viking – among many others.
An Aqualuma lineup always looks sensational.
Aqualuma remains untouched by the skills shortage, its six employees all that is required to manufacture 400-500 lights each month.
As for competition, Amor says that four years ago there weren’t many competitors, but now 'there are around 30 underwater light brands around the world, some LED already, but a lot of them are moving towards it'.
'It’s the way of the future and we’re proud to say, we’re one of the innovators.'
The rising Australian dollar hasn’t affected the company greatly, aside from its US distributor.
'The rest of the world buys in Australian dollars,' he adds. The product line ranges in price from the smallest lights at $700 a pair up to underwater light camera at $1650 each.
A passionately Australian company, Aqualuma would not consider manufacturing offshore. 'As long as we’re working for it, we’re not likely to give it to anybody else.'
The company recently moved from premises at the Gold Coast City Marina to a new state-of-the-art facility in Helensvale, just inland, in order to meet an increased demand for its products from distributors, as well as boatbuilder and OEM customers.
Of the 5,700sq ft available in the new building, the company says that it is devoting 4,000sq ft to warehousing and operations to accommodate its 'exponentially increasing' business.
'We’re dramatically increasing our production in our new location and are thrilled to be able to keep pace with the escalating call for our lights all over the world,' Amor says.
Also in the pipeline, automated assembly machines within the next 12 months and two new products in the LED range for boats and personal watercraft which launched in February.
More at www.aqualuma.com