Could this be your adventure? We've been contemplating new adventures and have decided to retire this year and sell the business and / or boat. Tim's been driving jet boats around Ramsey for 40 years and Beth for 30 so it’s not exactly early retirement. The business would suit someone wanting to downsize and do something they love but still earn a living or someone looking for a solid business with demonstrable scope for growth. This is a lifestyle business but one you can earn a realistic living from.
Ribworkers are fantastic fun, ridiculously tough, designed for serious seas. These boats speak for themselves: once you've got used to them you'll never want to work anything else. We're still enjoying getting covered in salt water but we're ready to hand over the business as early or as late as a buyer wishes this season (2018) or in time for the 2019 season or we're open to selling the boat separately from September 2018. While we're happy to provide as much support as a new owner needs for a year or so as they make the business their own, we want to move on with other projects.
The key question for anyone considering taking the business on is 'Would it work for you, with your skills and interests and the lifestyle you want to achieve?'. If you'd like to discuss the possibilities please call us on 01348 837764 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The business - jet boat wildlife adventure tours
RIB tours are very popular - perhaps too much so - the market is saturated in some areas but Sheawater's hull and jet combination provides a unique selling point, working safely in shallow water, spinning on her axis, full control of forward and reverse thrust enabling power-braking and precision manoeuvring at both low and high revs even in strong tides. It's great fun for passengers, very useful for film and safety boat charters, a literal life-saver in certain situations. The boat's unique abilities (in the UK passenger market) enable us to offer a genuinely unique experience in the popular UK powerboat market whilst giving us the additional option of commercial work - one boat does everything we need and want to do.
St Davids is a well established boat and adventure tourism destination. Shearwater gives us a unique market position as the only boat capable of the 'Wet and Wild', an adventure activity and wildlife trip in one: wildlife watching, rock-hugging cave exploration and fun with power-braking and jet boat spins. Ramsey Island is an exceptional environment, with a number of sizeable caves and varied wildlife and just a 5 minute hop from St Justinian; offshore we have Grassholm, the Smalls and the Celtic Deep for cetacean watching.
Is running a jet boat business in Pembrokeshire as much fun as it looks?
We've often joked that we could make a great television programme about the reality of running a jet boat company 🙂 . I suspect that if we advertised for a group of people to come and try running the business for a while we'd be swamped!
We've run Venture Jet as an outdoor adventure activity as much as a wildlife tour, primarily doing passenger trips and film and scientific charter to suit our lifestyle but there's plenty of scope to develop to suit your own interests: commercial charter, safety cover and dive charter (no propellers so huge safety and operational advantages). In recent years we've shortened our season from Easter to end October to May to early September to enable us to do other things but we have passenger demand from Easter to October half term.
We've been driving jet boats for 40 and 30 years respectively and this is our 15th season running Venture Jet so you'll probably have worked out that it's something we rather enjoy 🙂 . Running a small business inevitably has its challenges but they are far outweighed by the freedom of running your own business. 'The buck stops here' means we can do our best at every point in the business to make things right for people.
We set up the business to be very flexible and chose not to have a public office in St Davids, the only boat company to have been able to operate successfully without one. We'll be happy to discuss all aspects of the business with an eventual buyer and to provide training manuals, risk assessments, contacts etc. The business is set up ready to go so you can focus on the best bit - the boat trips.
Or Shearwater's unique 'Wet and Wild' manoeuvres and workboat versatility could be adapted to any market where you want to give yourself an edge, to be more than 'just another RIB tour'.
The boat - Ocean Dynamics Ribworker jet boat
Shearwater is a 9 metre aluminium Ocean Dynamics Ribworker with a 274 Hamilton jet drive with hydraulic controls and a 440hp Yanmar 6LY2A-STP inboard with just 2 seasons' hours on the clock. She's 3.45m wide with 600mm tubes, giving an unusual amount of deck working and storage space, open transom so fast self-draining and easy access from the water for divers. The integrated bow platform adds additional strength to the main mooring samson, which is welded to the hull; this 'pushee bow' enables precision pushing of platforms etc and can be used for boarding. The large aluminium storage box is bolted to aluminium strips welded to the deck and can be removed for additional deck space, to bolt on equipment eg a winch, extra seats or wheelchairs. An easy access liferaft cradle sits behind the A frame. The stern platform has 2 integrated towing and stern anchor mooring samsons.
The hull is heavy gauge marine aluminium, is divided into separate compartments for further safety (in tests when one part of the hull has been flooded with water the boat still floats). The hull is further protected by collision bulkheads. It is designed for strength, speed and manoeuvrability, its shallow dreadrise angle enabling optimal planing and minimum draft, allowing us to operate safely in very shallow water (approx 18 inches).
The tubes are heavy duty Hypalon and divided into 7 compartments, each separated by an industrial strength baffle to ensure maximum strength. The deck is above water level and unlike many RIBs the tubes play no part in keeping the boat afloat in normal working conditions, although they offer massive additional buoyancy and shock absorption in rough seas.
The boat is surveyed and certified annually externally by Burness Corlett -Three Quays. Shearwater is dual coded, fully coded as a passenger boat for up to 12 passengers and 2 crew but also under the more stringent Workboat code for up to 1000 kg cargo. The Workboat coding is essential for anything other than passenger work eg film charter. Shearwater is very good at towing, phenomenal at precision manoeuvring and pushing and of course simply carrying a lot of stuff! She's also an ideal dive and rescue boat, with an unusual amount of deck and storage space, no propellers so much safer around people in the water.
We wanted a Ribworker for manoeuvrability, versatility and longevity. Shearwater is a good Ribworker, very nimble and responsive and extremely economical on fuel (red diesel).
Aluminium is tremendously versatile, as seen in Atlantic Eagle's change to Brandaris II, from open RIB (see below left) like Shearwater to a RIB with winch and wheelhouse (see below right).
How much does an Ocean Dynamics Jet Boat cost? This is a tricky one because each boat is designed and produced individually. They're not often made for individual sale these days - they tend to be made for large organisations like the armed forces.
New Ocean Dynamics jet RIBs of Shearwater’s size and class are around £200,000 depending on their spec. It's very rare to find them second-hand but the manufacturer tells us that if you can they're around £75,000-£100,000. Shearwater’s cousins working with the MOD approach an eye boggling £500,000 due to their technical spec – lots of very expensive toys.
Aluminium is expensive, as are jets but the upside is these boats have exceptional longevity – their working life far outlasts that of their humans. Generally a boat business has to factor in replacing their RIBs every few years, Ocean Dynamics boats just keep working. With proper maintenance no-one knows how long they’ll keep working because the first, Atlantic Eagle (now Brandaris II), still shows no need to retire – she’s 35 years old, which is insane for a RIB working in tough sea conditions all her life.
Shearwater's shiny new engine was put in at the end of the 2015 season and with just two seasons' hours on the clock she's just getting nicely run in and you shouldn't be needing to replace that any time soon. She was pretty quick with the first engine but with the new one and a change in jet intake grill she's going better than ever. She's always been extremely economical on fuel for her size and the new engine and intake grill have improved that further. She also has a useful set of spares so that you can change things before they need it.
We're in no rush to part with the business or the boat but we're open to reasonable offers and can be flexible - we know what it is to plan a business. We'll be happy to negotiate a price and time frame to suit both parties depending on what the buyer needs in terms of equipment and spares, training and ongoing support (if any) and the timing of when they need the business / boat.
We have more information here but for more details please call us on 01348 837764 or email us at email@example.com.
If you know someone looking for a marine business adventure please pass this on 🙂 .