THE owners of an Argyll boatyard who are celebrating ten years at the helm are aiming to boost trade and make the yard more versatile after installing a second slipway.
Crinan Boatyard near Lochgilphead will be able to handle an increased number of vessels out of the water with the project, which has been partly funded by £55,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and £135,000 from the Scottish Government under the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) Regulations.
The company provides maintenance and repair services to leisure and cruising vessels and to commercial markets, including fishing, fish-farming and public sector vessels such as those owned by Argyll & Bute Council.
John Dunlop, managing director, said: “Since we purchased the boatyard in 1999, we have worked hard to make this a sustainable, growing business utilising the traditional skills available and developing modern practices. The construction of the additional slipway will help us meet the changing needs of our customers more effectively in the years to come. It is also fitting that we should be undertaking such an exciting project in the same year as celebrating ten years of owning the yard.”
HIE has been working with Crinan Boatyard during these years and has seen them establish an excellent reputation in the industry for workmanship. Colin McLean, development manager with HIE, says the current management has been innovative in its approach and has overseen a number of projects to improve the yard.
He commented: “The boatyard has consistently worked to improve its facilities and ways of working. They have developed innovative slipping facilities and have carried out a complete redesign of the boatyard. This has enabled them to get more and larger vessels into the yard and to bring together the team of skilled craftsmen, to work on projects more effectively and in better conditions.”
An in-depth study carried out in 2008 had identified the absence of slipping facilities as the most significant barrier to the growth of the business. Completion of the new slipway means that the boatyard is well placed to take advantage of the upturn in sailing activity in the west of Scotland by improving the services offered. It will also reduce down-time for local fishing boats which could have faced a lengthy journey for repairs outwith the area.
Colin McLean, concluded: “This is an excellent example of the kind of innovative business that HIE works with. This project will not only benefit the boatyard’s existing customers but will also mean they can attract new ones. This is an ambitious business, as shown by their investment in the yard over a number of years. We are delighted to be able to support their efforts to strengthen and grow.”
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