About Us

Buying or selling a boat ? Mike Gaffikin Marine at Empire Marina Bobbin Head is a division of Empire Marina Bobbin Head, giving us unique access to the resources of the whole marina to deliver a seamless experience for buyers and sellers alike. Located just 35 mins north from Sydney CBD and in the heart of the prestigious North Shore and North West Sydney suburbs, our dedicated boat sales showcase for vessels makes viewing a pleasure for prospective buyers and sellers. We use modern and effective sales and marketing strategies combined with the extensive experience and network of all of our team to maximise vessel exposure and buyer enquiry and delivering on the sales process from enquiry to settlement keeping you informed every step of the way. Mike Gaffikin our Dealer Principal has been selling boat for over 50 years now and not only has a wealth of experience but also a very long database of boat owners he has worked with over that time. When buying, especially if you are new to boating, his wealth of experience can give you technical advice, maintenance advice and of course negotiate appropriately between vendors and purchasers to achieve an outcome that works for both parties.

Presentation is Key At Empire Boat Sales we make selling your boat as easy as possible for you. We have a dedicated sales area for displaying boats and we have team members available 7 days a week to show you boats – we do recommend you call ahead to arrange a time, as it can get busy and a boat may be out being enjoyed by the vendor. As an experienced team we can guide you on price, repairs required to maximise your sale outcome whilst being sensible on what really will make a difference and what would be investment lost. We can arrange any services you need at our full service marina and even arrange a captain to bring the boat to this marina, or you can use your own contractors. We will be present for the survey and as we are part of the marina , we can prioritise the lift for survey thus speeding up the due diligence period. We are passionate about boats, we are passionate about service, we are committed to achieving the best result for you. We look forward to being of service to you soon.

Mike Gaffikin – Dealer Principal
A little history on Mike…..

I spent my youth in the UK, and lived in a seaside town of Bournemouth, that’s where I got my passion for boating and fishing. Leaving school at 15 I did many varied jobs, mainly hospitality.

When I turned 21, I took up a vocational course specialising in diesels engines. On completing of the 6 months full time course, I gained an Engineers Certificate and I was employed as a Mobile Mechanic travelling to building sites repairing bulldozers and erecting tower cranes   

In 1967 and 23 years old, I decided to emigrate to Australia, and joined up with my old UK flat mate who also came to Australia, who was building one of the first fibre glass yachts in Australia, a Nicholson 32.  

A few weeks after arriving in Sydney, I was successful in gaining the position as an Outboard and Chainsaw Mechanic with McCulloch Outboards based at Cedric Williams Boashed in Bayview. To be honest, I had never seen an outboard before let alone worked on one. However, as a result of my mechanical background, I soon got the hang of things and learnt on the run (No TAFE courses for Outboards in those days).

Within a few months I was promoted to workshop foreman, I thought how amazing is this country. 

That is when I formed my longtime relationship with Bill Barry-Cotter, who had also served his shipwright apprenticeship at Cedric Williams, and had recently formed Marine Cruisers, building fiberglass cruisers in Narrabeen.  

In 1970, I was appointed Sales Manager at Cedric Williams selling Savage Cruisers which were the premier brand at that time, no imports in those days.

In 1973, Bill then approached me to market his newly developed  Mariner 25’ Pacer,  a revamped 25ft Caporn.  Bill delivered me a new 25ft Mariner on consignment retailing at $14,300.00. Bill said run some adds in the SMH and see if you can get some interest. In all my years of boating, I have never experienced such immediate response and in no time had 6 new boats on order and heaps of prospects.     We sold over a hundred boats in that period.

Moving on, in 1979 I was approached by Ross Marshall who was developing the new Marina at Akuna Bay named Clippers Anchorage. My stay at Akuna Bay was very brief as there was an anti-Marina campaign against the Marina Development at Akuna Bay.

In 1980, I formed Mike Gaffikin Marine and approached Bill Barry Cotter and moved into Bill’s new boat building factory “Mariner Cruisers” in Mona Vale, things took off at a rapid pace  upgrading our existing Mariner owners to the new 31ft and 34ft Mariners. We delivered 100 New Boats over the following years.  

In 1982, Mariner Cruisers was purchased by public Company Enacon, although the no compete clause in the contract was very loose, Bill wasted no time developing the new Riviera Range of Boats when he relocated to QLD.

I ceased my relationship with Mariner Cruisers, and became a share holder in Princess St Marina, Newport and set up the NSW dealership for Riviera from 1982 until 1992 selling over 250 new Riviera’s.

Then we had Keating’s recession, and went from selling 50 new Riviera’s in 89/90 down to 2 boats the following year.

This wiped out a lot of dealers. With an interest rates of 19% the boat market was one of the first industries to suffer.

In 1994, the boat market was starting to recover and I took over the Brokerage operation at Akuna Bay, now under the d’Albora Marina Badge. After 25 years at Akuna Bay selling Johnson Motoryachts, Maritimo Cruisers and other brands.  Over the last 50 years I have sold over 3,000 Boats.

In 2018, I was offered the opportunity by Darren and Nicky Vaux to relocate and manage the boat brokerage at Empire Marina, Bobbin Head.

After reaching a milestone of over 50 years in the Marine business, I have been fortunate to have met some very interesting people and made many long lasting friendships.  

I trust my passion will remain and my goals is to make it 60 years.

If you are in the market to purchase a boat or wish to sell your existing boat I am always happy to assist with a no obligation valuation.

Whether you are buying or selling, our aim is always for it to be as smooth, easy, informed and successful as possible. We look forward to being of service to you soon. Call 02 9457 9011 for more details or email sales@empiremarinas.com.au View our Privacy Policy