Bay of Plenty start-up Balex Marine has begun rolling out its award-winning Automatic Boat Launcher ABL2500 (ABL) to retail customers.

Veteran Mount Maunganui boatie Peter Bell became the first retail customer to launch using his new ABL at Pilot Bay last week.

The company has drawn strong support from Enterprise Angels' members and other investors for the hydraulically powered ABL.

The system is installed on trailers and lets users launch and retrieve their boat without getting their feet wet, using a remote control to start, stop or pause the process.

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Mr Bell, 76, a keen fisherman and boatie, said he was delighted with the ABL.

"I'm getting a bit older and it was getting a bit harder to get the boat in and out, so I thought I'd try one," he said.

"It's going to make it that much easier to get the boat on and off the ramp."

Balex delayed its original pre-Christmas retail release date in order to incorporate an additional hydraulic lift to the device.

The lift engages the hull and lifts the boat up, drives it forward then settles it back on to the roller cradle.

"It's made it even more user-friendly," said Balex sales director Paul Yarrall. "It enables the ABL to accommodate a wider range of boats and trailers, and delivers better performance."

Balex has spent 12 months building up its global supply chain, and a reseller network that includes DMW and Voyager Trailers, and national retail chain Boating and Outdoors.

Trev Terry Marine supplied the ABL for the DMW trailer for Mr Bell's new Stabicraft 2400 Supercab.

Trev Terry Marine owner Brock Terry said his company wanted to make boating as easy as possible. "And it's not just older people - we've pre-sold two to younger guys who just want to have all the best equipment."

Boating and Outdoors director John Bolitho said the chain already had many pre-orders.

Balex managing director Paul Symes said Mr Bell's installation signalled the company gaining momentum.

"The sale to Peter is a massive milestone in terms of highlighting that we have brought together our production supply chain and retail reseller channel."