Lionel Sands was literally born into the marine industry and has made a huge contribution since. Long-time boat builder and marine dealer Lionel Sands was inducted into the New Zealand Boat Show Hall of Fame last Saturday during the show's Boat of the Show awards evening.

As master of ceremonies Geoff Bryan noted as Sands was inducted, it is hard to imagine anyone more suited to a career in the New Zealand marine industry.

Sands was literally born into the industry, appearing in this world in his father's Cawley St premises, where Seacraft and Miller Moyes stood for over 60 years. (Even his grandfather was a boatbuilder, building wooden dories in Dover).

Under the guidance of his legendary father, "Sandy", apprentice boatbuilder Lionel built his first boat, a 12ft Seacraft clinker dinghy.

He worked in all facets of the business before gradually taking over from his father, becoming an accomplished boatbuilder, designer and salesman for the company's quality range of boats.

Sands oversaw the purchase of the Haines Hunter franchise in the 1980s and the later acquisition of the brand. Over the following years, he quickly built Haines Hunter into one of New Zealand's top GRP boat brands, a position it still holds today.

One of his most successful designs was the Haines Hunter SS700.

In 1993 and '94, Sands again followed in his father's footsteps and became president of the NZ Boating Industry Association, now New Zealand Marine.