7 months ago

2020 September October Marina World

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  • Bellingham
  • Boating
  • Completed
  • Vessels
  • Marine
  • Drystack
  • Marinas
  • Boats
  • Berths
The magazine for the marina industry


DRYSTACK STORAGE Giant Wiggins forklifts serve the spacious 300-boat Trafalgar Drystack, the largest fully enclosed drystack in Europe. Bumper result for post-lockdown boating Thanks to some positive thinking and deft initiatives, Trafalgar Drystack – Europe’s largest, fully enclosed drystack – experienced a surge in business when lockdown was eased in England on 13th May. Located on Portsmouth Harbour, the drystack has six tiers of floor to ceiling boat racks for over 300 powerboats, motor boats and RIBs. The facility is the vision of managing director, Jonny Boys, who bought the old Vosper Thornycroft site in Portsmouth in 2008 and set about converting the huge boat shed and site into Trafalgar Wharf, a fantastic facility for leisure boaters. Just prior to lockdown, the drystack’s interior racking was expanded by 50% and it received a brand new roof. Drystack customers have unlimited, guaranteed launching as three huge Wiggins forklifts are on site to ensure constant service. Launch requests are made via an online app to ensure that boats are on the dockside and waiting for their owners within the hour. In mid-May, Trafalgar Drystack achieved a record number of boat launches as private boaters flocked to the water to resume outdoor activities. On Monday 25th May, one of the hottest Spring Bank holidays for many years, the drystack team handled 100 boat launch and retrieval requests. General manager, Colin Richardson, explained the process: “We’ve managed to achieve a three hour window, from receiving the customer’s boat launch request to actual launch time, even with the social distancing, additional boat hygiene and cleansing measures we’ve put in place,” he said. “This means our customers can go boating the same day, without needing to give 24 hours notice. To handle 100 launches a day, with this additional workload, was a fantastic achievement by our dedicated drystack team.” Records continued to be broken as the summer months progressed. Richardson confirmed 124 boat moves a day on 25th June and 133 on Sunday 12th July and summed up by saying “if we compare 1st June 2019 – 31st August 2019 to the same period in 2020 then we are up approximately 400 boat moves.” Trafalgar Drystack uses its forklifts to launch boats in an almost entirely mechanised process, lifting them from the vast, indoor boat racks and lowering them into the water, all ready to go. Additional cleansing measures are in place when the boats need fuelling and after tying them up, ready for their owners to arrive. All customers are issued with clear arrival guidelines, together with current advice from the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), local harbour safety guidelines and refresher videos about safe boating. One of the three Wiggins forklifts is held in reserve to guarantee an uninterrupted service should any mechanical issues arise. “Being able to launch continuously avoids any backlog and is greatly helping us reduce any risk that customers are kept hanging around together. They can go straight from their car to their boat on the pontoon at their appointed arrival time, and maintain a physical, social distance at all times,” Richardson confirmed. Despite the return to boating, Jonny Boys is more than aware of the industry challenges COVID-19 is causing, and in early June launched a monthlong scheme to help all boat brokers, dealers and manufacturers incentivise their boat sales. For this crucial time, he offered free drystack storage with unlimited launches and recoveries to anyone selling brand new RIBS and motor boats of 6-9m (20-29ft). In 20 years of selling boats, Boys thought he’d experienced every up and down the industry had to offer. Yet, despite government assistance, with loans and furlough schemes helping some businesses, the impact of the lockdown on many boat sellers meant immense pressure to sell boats during the four weeks of June simply to stay in business. “There’s been nothing like this lockdown for the marine industry, and we’ve noticed much more industry cooperation rather than competition,” Boys noted. “It’s time to get back on our feet – and do it together. We’re all trying to sell more boats, and now is the time for ‘we not I’. So, in a brainstorm moment, I asked what can we do to help everyone kick start boating and boat sales?” The June incentive offer led to the sale of nine new boats, thus helping boat sellers as well as securing nine new customers for Trafalgar Drystack. – September/October 2020 45

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