x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

The Emirati boat built by a diver, for divers

The Samawy 44 is the first boat designed by avid diver Sultan bin Al Sheikh Mejren to go into production.

DUBAI // An Emirati whose 20-year love affair with the sea has drawn him into boatbuilding admits he drives his designers crazy because he is sure he knows best about what customers want.

“I consider myself not as a boatbuilder but as a boat user,” said Sultan bin Al Sheikh Mejren, a keen diver and the founder and chairman of Samawy Marine.

“I believe the experience you get can give you a good background for choosing what you want in building a boat. That’s why I fight with the engineers. I drive them crazy as I select what I want to make a boat practical and useful.

“When we go for a dive there’s a risk as the weather offshore can change any time and we need a safe boat to get us back home.”

Mr Mejren’s attraction to life above and below the waves sprang from growing up next to the sea, which led him into the maritime research field.

“I am a person who needs the marine life,” he said. “I grew up on the beach here in Dubai and that automatically makes you involved in the marine life. I set up the Samawy Expedition Team and we do documentary films, research and studies.”

Mr Mejren’s most significant discovery so far is a species of luminous blue algae that is found only around Socotra, a small archipelago south of the Arabian Peninsula.

The algae was named samawy after the Arabic term for sky blue. And when he decided to start making boats that was the name he chose for his company.

The Samawy 44, the first commercially available vessel from the venture, has been unveiled at the Dubai International Boat Show.

Mr Mejren gathered an international team of marine architects, engineers and other experts who spent the past three years working on the design.

“This is my first boat for production,” he said. “They made my private boats before but now they are building boats for sale.”

The Samawy 44 is designed for fishing, diving and day trips. It can travel at 42 knots and costs Dh1.2?million without engines, or Dh1.5m with.

The boat is being built in Thailand but Mr Mejren hopes his vessels will one day be made in the UAE.

“I aim to have two production lines, one to supply Asia and one in Dubai to supply Europe,” he said.

“That’s in my plan. I already have a property at Dubai Maritime City and this facility will be activated at the right time when opportunities are good in Europe.”

The boat show continues until tomorrow at the Dubai International Marine Club, Mina Seyahi. More than 750 companies from 46 countries are taking part, and the event is open to the public.

csimpson@thenational.ae