Mark Riley was born to boat. Growing up around coastal rivers in NSW, since before he could walk, he was on or in the water.
In July 2023, Whitehaven appointed Marine Riley to represent them in New South Wales. Marine Riley, led by Dealer Principal Mark Riley, brings a wealth of experience gained from building, designing and sourcing luxury yachts for clients worldwide.
Here, Mark shares his background, boating experiences and approach to business, as well as his vision for the Whitehaven brand.
What appealed to you about working in the boating business – 20-something years ago?
From my earliest memories as a child, being on a boat was always my happy place. I have just always loved being on or in the water. Having a corporate background as a general manager for some large multinationals, I always enjoyed working with clients, but being in an office was never for me. When I discovered I could have two of my passions, boating and working directly with clients, combined I jumped at that opportunity.
As a family, my wife and three kids have done thousands of offshore miles together from Far North Queensland to Tasmania. We have snorkelled beautiful coral reefs together and enjoyed watching sunsets together in stunning anchorages. My wife is the most intelligent person I know and I am always asking her advice on things
What do you enjoy about it today?
I have more passion than ever for boating and working with clients to find or create something special for them. Some of my best friends were once clients. How lucky am I!
Over the years, where has your boating taken you for business and for pleasure?
I have been fortunate to travel the world while working in the boating industry. From Ukraine to most of Europe, throughout Asia and the Middle East. Of course, you can’t be in the industry without spending time in North America and our beautiful South Pacific. I ensure that I am always up to date with the latest designs and technology, so I travel to at least two overseas boat shows a year, normally Fort Lauderdale and Düsseldorf Boat Shows – both amazing and very different. In our work as buyers’ agents, travel is important for sourcing the best vessels for our clients.
Joining the Whitehaven family, what skills, expertise and insight do you bring?
Having been involved in the design, build, project management and sales of cruisers through to superyachts from around the globe, I have gained extensive experience in the industry.
The Whitehaven Team have huge passion for their brand, great design and engineering knowledge and an absolute focus on their clients.
I work with the team to offer my thoughts and support, but I am very focussed on not having Whitehaven the boating world’s best kept secret. With the experience I have gained, there is an absolute focus of ensuring Whitehaven clients get exactly what they want in their dream vessel. My background in creating and delivering memorable boating experiences and cruises for clients is also going to see some fantastic times ahead for current and future Whitehaven clients.
What are the attributes of Whitehaven that attracted you to the brand?
Three things: from the CEO to the team on the water, they are totally focussed on the customer and a great outcome for every client. Then there’s the quality first, second and third in every boat they build. And, very importantly, the team never rests and Bruce Scott, the owner, never stops thinking of how to improve the boats. Of course, we all share an absolute passion for all things boating, so it’s a great match.
What has been the feedback from your customers and colleagues about the Whitehaven brand and its unique place in the market?
Firstly, I have been congratulated by many clients for joining Whitehaven. Many have been watching this great brand grow and innovate and have been thinking of making the switch from brands they have been buying for years. Secondly, some of my clients have never been on a Whitehaven before and when I show them on board, they can’t believe the quality of fit and finish and the innovation in design.
My colleagues all admire the brand and their comments are that Whitehaven doesn’t follow everybody else, they just create their clients’ dream vessels, with the very best equipment and materials available. Everybody admires that Whitehavens are built to suit each individual client, so much more than just changes to colours and fabrics.
What are the new models on their way that are the next phase in the evolution of the brand?
A key reason I joined team was that appeal of the new designs being released over the next 18 months, from the new Harbour Classic 48 and 52, to the 6500 Sports Flybridge, the first of this new range. Then there’s the soon to be announced new series of Motor Yachts from 80 feet to 110 feet that’s totally mind blowing which will see a whole new group of clients attracted to the Whitehaven brand.
Whitehaven is certainly a brand to put on the top of your list if you are thinking about a new boat. When people get on board a Whitehaven, they see why it’s a thoroughly unique, bespoke proposition.