Islands’ Newest Boating Company Launches

FIrethorn

FIrethorn

The islands’ newest boating company is up and running.

Tresco Boat Services started operations last week. They’re using the Firethorn, and the two jet boats, Hurricane and Cyclone, purchased from Bryher Boats earlier this year.

Manager Dean Whillis says there’s been some confusion over the purchase. Owner Tresco Estate just bought the vessels and not the whole company. Kathy Stedeford, who is retiring, will retain the Bryher Boats name.

Some of the old staff have joined the new venture, including Ginny Hulands in the Bryher office and skipper Neil Hanson.

When up to full strength, the team will include Joe Greenlaw and St Mary’s men, Rick Pender and Joe Thomas.

Dean says his focus will be to maintain the level of customer service built up by the Stedefords over the past thirty-odd years.

But he says they’re looking at how they can reduce their carbon footprint.

They want to operate more services between the off-islands but decrease the amount of ‘dead-legging’ that occurs, where a boat goes out full and comes back empty, before doing this in reverse when it picks the passengers up again.

He’s been talking to John Peacock from St Agnes about sharing their services, so one boat can pick-up and drop-off passengers at both sides.

Offering more options for travel between St Mary’s, Bryher and Tresco would need the agreement of the Boatmen’s Association says Dean, but he feels the new Islands’ Partnership is a good forum in which to have those discussions.

Another area where the companies could work together is online booking.

Dean says John Peacock has developed a great system, which allows people to share special, privately-booked boats.

But he says the service on Tresco is more complicated because many visitors use an all-inclusive boating ticket while they’re here.

He says it’s too late to set something up for this season, but will look to have something ready for the 2015 season.

Dean says they want to continue operating a mainland service too, when it’s needed.

Last weekend they had a ‘baptism of fire’ when they were inundated with calls from people stranded by the fog.



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