About Us

Mariah Hovercraft was founded in Melbourne (Australia) in 1996 by Gary Ashton, a passionate and driven individual. He has since (with the assistance of a dedicated team) built and sold hovercraft worldwide, to many satisfied customers, both private and corporate. 

We have over 20 years experience making lightweight composite products for wide industrial uses with considerable time invested in R&D to make us leading experts in composite materials. All of our craft float while at rest on water due to the fibre-glass hull.

The process starts with gathering detailed specifications from you, the client, examining the feasibility and costs of the project, agreeing the price and tailoring our basic designs and components to meet those specifications – before manufacture commences.

​We believe in involving you every step of the way, keeping you informed with regular progress reports until delivery.

Our service does not end there: We also provide driver and maintenance training as well as after-sales on-going support.  

Background
Our company is proud to carry on the tradition of manufacturing hovercraft into the 21st century. After some 10 years of development this family-owned company has built on its reputation both locally and overseas. The company initially started building small hovercraft but found there was a need for increasingly larger craft. Through our dedicated team we were able to use the latest computer software to design & develop our range of hovercraft.

Materials
Our chosen core material is fibreglass-reinforced plastics, commonly known as FRP or GRP. The advances that have taken place in the last ten years in this area of construction are enormous. Kevlar, which came from the NASA program, has revolutionized our industry. This material is used to produce bulletproof vests and is widely used in the aircraft industry. We have also chosen to use a mixture of Kevlar and Carbon Fibre. This enables us to build extremely strong but lightweight structures.

Expertise
We have in-house capabilities: 3D CAD-modelling techniqueselectrical and hydraulic design expertise and mechanical engineering skills. Our design team has Finite Element Analysis capabilities which enable us to test new designs to destruction. This is very important when creating new crafts from scratch.

Fan Technology
Most builders of hovercraft rely on a third party to give them the necessary fan data. We have this information at hand. One of our team members has developed a program to optimise the fans to offer superior performance. We have been able to cross check this data with real time testing and it is through this R & D that we can offer the end user a 22nd Century craft that will out perform the current competitors in the market as most of them are building 25 year old designs. All of our crafts have much larger fan ducts than our competitors meaning our craft are faster and more powerful and they are able to achieve a standing-start to planing speed in a very short time. This is achieved through greater static thrust from the much larger propellers. And it also translates into reduced fuel consumption for the same cruise speed as our competitors.

Design & Manufacture
We have developed our own programs that enables us to input a given payload, and calculate the estimated craft thrust-to-weight ratios, resulting in an optimum performance for the new craft. Construction is the next step; our manufacturing facility is tightly and efficiently run and with the new resin-infusion technology, we can offer substantial cost-savings in building the craft. We strive to further improve hovercraft operations and reduce maintenance costs. We are always seeking lighter and more powerful engines; larger, quieter fans and more efficient fan technology to give us the edge on our competitors.

Associates
Over the past 4 years, we have struck an alliance with engineering consultancy Sinclair Knight Merz with expertise in defence and infrastructure projects. Together, we have tendered some large hovercrafts for not only our own Australian Defence Department but export markets as well. With their team of naval architects and CAD-modelling staff they have been able to prove and cross-check designs that we have developed, thereby providing Mariah Hovercraft with an even greater footprint in this specialist field.

Location
Our factory is near Frankston, Victoria. This is a small coastal town located on Port Phillip Bay which has access to Bass Strait. Large container ships traverse the bay to and from the cargo terminals at Port Melbourne. The maritime importance of the area is further enhanced by BAE Systems a contractor to the Royal Australian Navy manufacturing the latest frigates, destroyers and aircraft carriers in the Williamstown shipyard. The area offers ideal conditions for hovercraft trials such as large beaches and mud flats.

We are happy to accommodate almost any inquiry or application requirement and try to offer a cost effective solution.