Author: Kerrie Forster

Norman Finlay MBE. “The Grandfather of the Workboat Industry”

It is with deepest sadness we mourn the passing of the Workboat Association’s Life President: Norman Finlay MBE. Wednesday 5th August 2020, University Hospital Southampton, age 84.

Following a career at sea and then as Superintendent of a dredger fleet, Mr Finlay became involved with workboats early in his career, and went on to become one of the main driving forces behind the establishment and development of the UK Workboat sector of the Merchant Navy in the 1970s, playing his part in the rapid development of the industry and in the technical advancements made.

He continued to work in the industry ever since, running his own Surveying business he became President of the SCMS and through this network became the key player in the development of the original Workboat Code with the MCA (then the MSA) in the early 1990s and the revisions ever since. This project became the forming of the Workboat Association in 1994, of which Mr Finlay took the role as Secretary until 2011, then Life President.

In 2013 Mr Finlay was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award (pictured) at the Seawork Mercator Media Awards, followed suitably by the award of a MBE by her Majesty the Queen in 2018 for his services to the sector.

Norman Finlay receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award,
Seawork Mercator Media Awards 2013

Words by Kerrie Forster, CEO The Workboat Association.

My own connection with Norman came soon before the time he received his Lifetime Achievement Award at Seawork 2013, Norman was still actively surveying vessels all over the world at this point. He was tasked to visit a couple of vessels that my company owned in North Wales, the then Manager of our company was having serious problems getting authorisation for a visitor to access the site to see the vessels (even if it was on official duty). After arriving at the Port Norman calmly said “Leave it to me, I’ve been in this business a long time”, he drove away. 10 minutes later he was spotted walking in full PPE and with a Harbour Master’s escort across the other side of the Port towards the vessels: “first job done” he said as he smiled back and waved, ready to board the vessels.

Since playing a more active role in the Association, first as a Committee member, then as CEO, my relationship with Norman quickly grew into one of a mentor towards his under-grad. Norman wasn’t a person to waste time, car journeys or time spent in his home-office were made up reliving important historical lessons connected to the Offshore Contracting Industry, facts about why certain processes have to happen in particular ways, providing me with personal contacts and backgrounds to expand my network and of course a lot of dreaming about the good ol’days. This education has been very important to me.

Norman moved from Belfast to the River Mersey in his youth, his family back home also in the maritime industry at the famous Harland and Wolf Shipyard. When I informed him at the start of this year that the Association had sponsored an area of woodland [Storeton Woods, Bebington] close to the River Mersey, he paused, his tone lifted and he quickly started recalling lots of memories of spending his leisure time in and around the woods.

At Seawork last year myself and Norman hosted a “Workboat Industry FAQ” session with some Apprentices currently studying for a career on Workboats. He told them the story of how for many years he had managed the operation of a small workboat, permanently chained to a small pontoon, which he used in dredging projects to move the cutting heads around sites [as seen on a large painting in his office]. When the time came to take the workboat out of the water for survey, Norman explained “after 24hours of blood, sweat and tears trying to remove the chains and associated connections, it became obvious this was going to be a one-way process!”. A member of Damen Shipyards said to him “With some trialling, we might be able to fit some drive-legs directly onto the pontoon if you think it could be worth the investment?”, “Well” Norman said “soon after it was launched it was fitted with a small shelter, mainly to protect the controls; right there we had the World’s first Multicat”.

One of the Apprentices said to me after the event “Thank you so much for talking to me, I cannot believe I actually met the man who invented the Multicat!!”

 I am sure Norman would have been more modest!

To those that worked with him, Norman Finlay was a true Professional. To anybody who knew Norman, he was an honest Gentleman.

We offer our greatest sympathies to his Wife and Children; Allison, Fiona and Heather. All of whom have become a part of the Association and its members lives over the last 25 years.

Norman, as we watch you depart port for the last time, we lower our flags to half-mast in memory of a man that has supported so many of us to become who we are today. You’re leadership, encouragement and passion has been the driver that has set the foundations for our industry.

Fair winds and following sea’s.

Launch of: Carriage of Dangerous Goods on Workboats GPG

The carriage of Dangerous Goods on Workboats Good Practice Guide is printed and ready for distribution.

Those interested in purchasing copies of the guide can contact the Workboat Association now via:
(Hard copies available only)

“The carriage of Dangerous Goods on Workboats Good Practice Guide has been developed between the Industry and Regulators, providing a zero to hero knowledge on both the regulations and best practice associated with the transport of Dangerous Goods by sea on board Workboats.”

“Written with Seafarers, the vessel Management, stakeholders and end-Clients all in mind, this guide is set to be an unmissable tool from the education and training of those wishing to operate, work with or contract Workboats of any nature”

Kerrie Forster, Workboat Association CEO.

Costs per copy:

Members: £ 10 (plus postage)

Non-members: £ 12.50 (plus postage)

Orders of 20 copies or more receive 25% discount

BREXIT – Update Page (*new info)

A page dedicated to Brexit updates and official promulgation


Update #1

Update #2

July 2020 – The UK’s Points-Based Immigration System: Further Details

Update #3

August 2020 – Three steps to prepare for the end of the transition period (Advice for business)


Updates will be added sequentiallyIf you are aware of important and relevant information concerning Britain’s withdrawal from the EU that is not featured on this page please contact the WA via the contact page

Member Profile: David McGregor, Maritime Craft Services (Clyde) Ltd

Maritime Craft Services were one of the founding members of the Workboat Association in 1994, the following year David McGregor joined their team. Now Operations Director, David tells us more about MCS and how the company has developed in the last 25 years.


“I have seen a number of improvements, advancements and changes in our industry over the years, we have enlightened the naysayers and skeptics and shown ourselves to be the professional, well represented body of good people we always knew we were, the sector contributes significantly to our economy, offering quality jobs, export trade and excellent career opportunities for both young people and those (like me) who join as secondary careers. I hope that never changes.”

Can you introduce us to Maritime Craft Services and the main sectors you are working in?

When I started working for MCS in 1995 as Operations Manager; the company owned and operated a fleet of workboats, multipurpose tugs and Multi-Cats, our core business back then was dredging support and marine construction with the occasional coastal towing job and MOD support. 

Since that time MCS have expanded almost continuously over the preceding years and in 2011 we entered into a new industry, the renewable energy sector, with the purchase of our first CTVs – of which we now own 11!

What countries are you largely active in?

The company has operated internationally since the outset, mainly in Europe, and in 2005 expanded operations into the Middle East when the first of our vessels headed for Dubai to start work on The World and Palm projects. We embraced and overcame the challenges presented in this region and as a result we have expanded and thrived in a highly competitive market place.

The countries into which we have sailed our vessels to support our long-established (and many new) clients are too numerous to list, but we have ‘flown the flag’ as far afield as Australia, Mauritius and Bangladesh. It’s a well-worn cliché but I can honestly say that there has never been a dull moment at MCS!

Can you give us an introduction to your career?

In my journey to our industry I passed through various others, such as petrochemical, shipbuilding, nuclear and aerospace. Since joining MCS and the workboat industry in general, my knowledge of all the technical systems found on board our ships has broadened extensively beyond my original electrical discipline, which I have found extremely interesting.

Does the company have any exciting projects currently underway?

For the past few years MCS have focused on the development of SWATH vessels which has been a new and exciting ‘learning curve’ for us all. We have also continued to develop and expand our traditional fleet in line with industry demands and requirements, this has seen vessels growing ever larger and far more sophisticated than they ever were back in the days of Morse controls, DIY showers for the crew and dodgy ship-to-shore communications!

What are the main concerns currently at MCS?

Our industry, as well as most others, has been adversely affected by the present world pandemic, the consequences of which will be felt for many years to come, this should concern us all, along with recent information that continued free movement of our vessels within Europe will not form part of any Brexit negotiations again has us concerned.

Another major issue is the HMRC Capital Allowance Case and their pursuit to change our steel hull vessels from short life assets to long life assets. This issue is not going away, and it’s going to be a major issue for the industry as more and more companies are being investigated.  Now is the time for the Workboat Association to lobby together and fight this in unity before it’s too late for all.

Although MCS have long championed the Workboat Association (since it’s outset) with Dirk being a founder member, myself as a committee member in the late nineties (now returned to post again) and Yvonne having sat a long period through the millennia , we feel the need to support our Association has never been greater than now in these uncertain times.

Meet the Apprentice: Graham Williams – Boskalis

A new feature to the Newsletter, ‘Meet the Apprentice’ will take a closer look at some of our industry’s apprentices and track their progress.


We start the new feature with an introduction to the latest Apprentice enrolled on the Workboat Crewmember Apprenticeship – Graham Williams from Boskalis.

  • Name: Graham Williams
  • Gender: Male
  • Age: 36
  • Company: Boskalis
  • Interests outside of work: Mountain Biking, Snowboarding, Hiking and Outdoor Adventures 

“Graham Williams is not only the first to be feature in this new editorial but is also the first Workboat Crewmember Apprentice for association member – SeaRegs Training. He is also one of the first students to be selected to test the new Electronic Training Record Books- eTRB! Graham is trialing the system which has been developed between the Workboat Association, Merchant Navy Training Board and its software developer ‘Swifttrack’ (This month’s sponsor). Graham and his training lead ‘Simon Jinks’ (SeaRegs) are putting the eTRB through it’s operational usage trials – a task that is drafting the early stepping stones for UK Merchant Navy eTRB’s.”

At what stage of your Apprenticeship are you?

I am right at the start of my Apprenticeship, I started it 4 weeks ago with my employer Boskalis based in Falmouth and with the training provided by SeaRegs Training in Plymouth.

What made you interested in a career on board Workboats?

Well, I have actually been around the maritime industry for a while: I worked for Sunseeker as a deck fitter, I have crewed on passenger ferries and I also completed my Boat Master’s a few years ago – but it lapsed as I was then working in marinas.

I have been looking to make a career working on board vessels rather than just having ‘a job that involved boats’ for a while. The opportunity presented itself with Boskalis and it was the opportunity I had been looking for, so I jumped at it.

What has been your favourite part of the job so far?

I’ve only early day’s – but so far, the most exhilarating has been conducting helicopter drills with the Royal Navy, they are very interesting. Also, we have played part in some Royal Navy drills where we have worked alongside a large Navy vessel at sea, that was really fun.

What is your least favourite part of the job so far?

I am sure that I have not yet discovered every area of my duties, but if I had to pick something, well’ no one likes cleaning really do they?! …though it’s part of the job, so you just get stuck in and do it. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

In 5 years I hope to have obtained a lot more qualifications to my name that will support my seafaring, I would like to be well-settled at work and actively engaging in my career. Me and my fiancée would like to be settled and possibly have a family soon, though always leaving enough room for our adventures!

COVID-19 Information for the Workboat Industry

Guidance and Best Practice from Industry and Regulators

“Please note that as of 15.07.2020 the bi-weekly meeting will stop routine organisation, though should there be need to re-hold a meeting or if the current situation or controls change; a meeting will be re-scheduled”

Listed here you will find a number of Recommendations, Guidance, Best Practice and Governmental Advice linked to the Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic. It should be remembered that it is imperative to follow the local Governments advice at all times and any information contained within this document is subject to change as the research surrounding the virus develops.

(This is a weekly living document and previous versions are removed for document control purposes, new features are highlighted in the separated box below named: New*)

If you are aware of any information that you believe should be captured within this update, please contact us here

New* :


HRH Princess Anne: Personal video of support to Seafarers

MCA: MIN 622 (M+F) Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Use of alternative measures for the completion of surveys on internationally trading UK registered ships.

MCA: MIN 623 (M+F) Coronavirus (COVID-19) – MCA approach to a phased return to survey and certification activity

MCA: MIN 624 (M) The Extended Support for Maritime Training (SMarT)
Fund During the COVID-19 Period – Extension

MCA: MIN 632 (M) COVID- 19 Extension of Seafarer Employment Agreements – SEAs


International Organisations:


International Maritime Organization

International Labour Organization

World Health Organization (WHO)

European Commission

  • The Green Lane Guidelines for border management measures to protect health and ensure the availability of goods and essential services

European Union

DenmarkCurrent information from the Danish authorities about COVID-19

From the UK Government:


UK Government business support webinars;
Government departments are hosting a series of webinars to help businesses understand the support available:


  • MIN 611 (M+F) Guidance and information to follow in the event of COVID-19 outbreak impacting UK seafarer services
  • MIN 612 (M+F) Corona virus (COVID-19) – MCA approach to survey and certification of UK vessels – Amendment 2
  • MIN 613 (M) Navigation – vessel traffic services COVID-19 impact and safety measures
  • MIN 614 (M+F) Corona virus (COVID-19) – UK Ship Register approach to registration services for UK Vessels
  • MIN 615 (M) The Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) Fund During the COVID-19 Period
  • MGN618 COVID 19 the reporting of occupational diseases
  • MIN 620 (M) Update on online oral exams and future issue of Notice of Eligibilities during the COVID-19 lockdown period

GOV.UK Webpage: Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer transport guidance for operators

  • Foreign travel advice Advice about travelling abroad, including the latest information on coronavirus, safety and security, entry requirements and travel warnings.

HM Treasury

HM Revenue and Customs

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Dept. for Health and Social Care

Public Health England

Department for Transport

  • Information on ‘Key Workers’ This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating (see Transport)

Department for International Trade

“We advise you should now:

1. Visit the Business Support website for more information about these and additional measures and support available to your business. This website will continue to be updated with the latest information.

2. Pay particular attention to the
guidance for employees, employers and businesses which is being updated regularly with the latest advice.

3. Read the guidance for
UK businesses trading internationally

4. Take
steps to protect yourself and others.”

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

A £10 million financial assistance for Fishing and Aquaculture businesses



From Industry:



Free Industry Webinar;

Marine Society: Online education in a post-Coronavirus maritime world1st June @ 11:00 UK

Workboat Association


Maritime UK

UK Chamber of Shipping

Society of Marine Industries

Institute for Apprenticeships

British Marine


ORE Catapult

International Chamber of Shipping

Maritime Skills Alliance

Seafarers UK

SSI Energy

Safety 4 Sea

Chirp Maritime Reports:

Seafarer Help

  • Seafarer Helpline Free, confidential, multilingual helpline for seafarers and their families available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

Ship Owners Club



One Ocean

Wilhelmsen Ships Agents


Squire Patton Boggs

Maritime Safety Forum

Maritime Journal

Energy Institute

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention



  • Interview Experience of international travel from Workboat Crew at Acta Marine during the COVID-19 lockdown
  • Interview Workboat Magazine, Operator Golding Barge Line USA
  • Toolbox talk video: Information video, virus transfer awareness (press the video to play)
  • Information video: Information video, on board catering, cleaning and hygiene practices (press the video to play)

Industry Group achieves breakthrough as Governments around the world pledge action to support crew changes during the COVID-19 pandemic

12.07.2020 – London


The Industry Group comprising IADC, IAGC, IMCA, IOGP, ISOA and the Workboat Association (details below) applauds the breakthrough at an international maritime virtual summit hosted by the UK Government on 9 July where 12 other governments also pledged their support for actions needed to ensure the welfare of the world’s seafarers during the Covid-19 pandemic, including making sure that crew changes can take place in a safe and timely manner.

The government representatives at the summit expressed support for recommendations made by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) developed in consultation with industry groups, which encourage all IMO Member States to support crew changes by implementing measures to facilitate movement of key personnel notwithstanding the tightened border restrictions imposed due to the pandemic.

The Industry Group recognises the initiative the UK Government has shown and thanks the UK and the other 12 governments for the support demonstrated by their joint statement, and also recognises the support given by the international agencies involved.  The Group hopes that this will now encourage other governments to support this cause and help overcome the issues which continue to impact crew changes causing concern for all seafarers and offshore energy workers globally.

The Group expressly recognises the role of the UK Transport Minister and both the current and previous Shipping Ministers for their role in helping to raise the profile of this situation.

Supporting governments include:

  • United Kingdom
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Indonesia
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Philippines
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States of America

The group looks forward to these commitments being translated into action where it is needed.

However, concern remains that there are continuing difficulties in other key countries which did not participate in the summit, and the group calls upon the international community to ensure that seafarers and offshore energy sector personnel receive proper and appropriate treatment as key workers, including access to medical treatment ashore where necessary, in all countries, as recommended by the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in IMO Circular Letter 4204/Add.23.

The full International Maritime Summits statement can be read here

About the Industry Group

The Industry Group comprises international associations whose member companies are engaged in essential elements of the global offshore energy sector; whose personnel perform a wide variety of specialised roles which are all critical to the daily functioning of maintaining global energy supplies.

About IADC –The International Association of Drilling Contractors

Established in 1940, IADC operates on 6 continents, and its members are acknowledged leaders in onshore and offshore drilling operations around the world. IADC is globally recognized for its work in providing: accreditation programs for a competent global upstream energy workforce, technical publications serving industry and regulatory authorities, international conferences, and collaborative government-industry advocacy work. IADC’s collective efforts contribute to operational proficiencies that underpin the world’s upstream energy industry while sustaining high standards of safety, environmental stewardship and operational efficiency.

About IAGC – International Association of Geophysical Contractors

The IAGC is the global trade association for the geophysical and exploration industry, the cornerstone of the energy industry. Our membership includes onshore and offshore survey operators and acquisition companies, data and processing providers, exploration and production companies, equipment and software manufacturers, industry suppliers, and service providers. The IAGC supports and fosters science- and risk-based regulations consistent with existing practices that are proven to be environmentally responsible, effective and operationally feasible. ​

About IMCA – The International Marine Contractors Associations

IMCA represents the vast majority of offshore marine contractors and the associated supply chain in the world, with members from over 60 countries. It publishes an extensive technical library of guidance documents on operational good practice, safety promotional materials, timely information notes and safety flashes. Its members benefit from a technical structure comprising four main divisions covering Offshore Diving, Marine (including an Offshore Renewable Energy Committee), Remote Systems & ROVs, and Offshore Surveying.

About IOGP – The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers

The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) is the voice of the global upstream industry. Oil and gas continue to provide a significant proportion of the world’s energy to meet growing demands for heat, light and transport. Our Members produce 40% of the world’s oil and gas. They operate in all producing regions: the Americas, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, the Caspian, Asia and Australia. We serve industry regulators as a global partner for improving safety, environmental and social performance. We also act as a uniquely upstream forum in which our Members identify and share knowledge and good practices to achieve improvements in health, safety, the environment, security and social responsibility.

About ISOA – The international Support Vessel Owners’ Association

ISOA is the international trade association for owners/operators of support vessels in the offshore energy sector, including Platform Supply Vessels (PSV) and Anchor Handling Tug Supply Vessels (AHTS), as well as other vessel types.

ISOA’s objective is to promote best practice within its sector of the industry, with particular focus on safety, application of consistent and practical standards – whether through regulation or industry promoted schemes, together with the welfare and training of seafarers who are employed in the sector. ISOA provides a forum where its members can discuss these common interests.

About the Workboat Association (WA)

The Workboat Association formed in 1994 to facilitate an industry input into the formulation of the UK ‘Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s’ Workboat Code of Practice. Today the WAprovides to a growing industry of workboat Owners, Operators, Stakeholders, and independent Professionals from within the UK and spread across the globe.

Remaining a not-for-profit, membership funded/ owned association, the WA’s scope offers towards those Operating or Supporting Workboats in the UK, to UK regulations, or those simply aiming to benchmark their own standards of practice against a well adopted, respected and understood standard – as the WA promote.

Maritime Safety Week 2020 – Emergency Preparedness Challenge

6th – 10th July 2020

See daily scenarios updated at the bottom of page

This year the Workboat Association is hosting an ‘Emergency Preparedness Challenge’, every day during the week we will be choosing an Emergency Drill Scenario based on 5 of the ISM Code’s ‘7 elements to be included in an Emergency Response Plan; Potential emergency situations should be identified in the plans, including, but not limited to, the
following main groups of emergency:
        .1 Fire
        .2 Damage to the ship
        .3 Pollution
        .4 Unlawful acts threatening the safety of the ship and the security of its passengers and crew
        .5 Personnel accidents
        .6 Cargo related accidents
        .7 Emergency assistance to other ships

We invite all members and friends to join us in the challenge and we look forward to seeing your photos and videos of your drills (whether it is on board or ashore). You can either post them on our dedicated LinkedIn posts or send them via:

Each morning we will describe the day’s emergency response scenario via email and LinkedIn.

Letter from Kelly Tolhurst, UK Maritime Minister: Maritime Safety Week ’20 

Best regards, we look forward to hearing from you soon!

Kerrie Forster
Chief Executive Officer
The Workboat Association



Monday’s Emergency Scenario:

1: Fire

“You can smell smoke coming from one of the vessel’s main engines, the top of the engine covering is very hot to touch, the fire alarm quickly activates making you aware that there is indeed a fire…”

Tuesday’s Emergency Scenario:

5. Personal Injury

“The Master of the vessel loses balance but manages to catch their fall, in doing so they believe they have broken their wrist and they are in great agony…”

Wednesday’s Emergency Scenario:

3. Pollution

“You arrive at your vessel ready to start the day’s operations, you notice there is a lot of oil in the water surrounding your boat and your neighbours – but where has it come from?…”

Thursday’s Emergency Scenario:

.7 Emergency assistance to other ships

“Whilst steaming back to your berth you see a small speed boat with 2 adults and 2 children on board waving at you to get attention, after maneuvering closer to the vessel – the family inform you that their engine has stopped working and they are quickly drifting out to sea…”

Friday’s Emergency Scenario:

.2 Damage to the ship

“When coming alongside a larger vessel at anchor in the estuary; your vessel makes sharp contact with a solid protrusion from the larger vessels hull, a dent and a hole has been made to your vessel just above the water line…”

Member Profile: Kenneth Coughlan and Steven Myers, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy

SGRE have been recently awarded Affiliate Membership of the Workboat Association for dedication and services to the Association. Two of the SGRE team ‘Kenneth Coughlan and Steven Myers’ who have been working closely with the WA over a number of years tell us more about the their team and SGRE.


Identifying and addressing areas for development and engagement, as well as supporting the wider SGRE Service business in delivering safe and effective logistic solutions.  In simple terms you can think of us as an internal consultancy to the SGRE Service business“.

  • Who are Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and the Maritime and Aviation Solutions team?

Siemens Gamesa are a global technological leader in the design, manufacture, installation and maintenance of wind turbines.  The Maritime and Aviation Solutions team work within the Service business unit supporting all things vessel and helicopter related.

  • Who are the main points of contact for the Workboat Association?

Depending on the topic you may talk to a few of us in the Maritime and Aviation Solutions team.  For example, Hugo Cook and Zak Brockman support primarily on operational and safety topics, around our experiences in offshore operations and relating to best practice in the industry.  However, if it’s a more technical discussion on future propulsion or vessel design you’re likely to be talking to Kenneth Coughlan as one of our resident Naval Architects.

  • What are the team’s backgrounds before SGRE?

As a team we’re diverse, not least because we sit in many countries, be it the UK, Spain, Germany, Denmark and now even Taiwan too.  We have people from many backgrounds; naturally some of us come from working offshore, either within the wind industry or from wider afield; others are more technical in their experience having studied and worked in the engineering side of the industry; some of the team are more project management focussed.  The blend of experience makes us a formidable team in terms of identifying and addressing areas for development and engagement, as well as supporting the wider SGRE Service business in delivering safe and effective logistic solutions.  In simple terms you can think of us as an internal consultancy to the SGRE Service business.

  • What does SGRE’s relationship with the Workboat Association provide?

In general, our relationship with the marine industry, our suppliers and partners, is critical to both our growth and how we succeed; as a business and as an industry.  Whether it be discussing, developing and adopting the latest best practice or discussing the market and technological developments, the Workboat Association is seen as a key partner in this process.

  • What is in the pipeline for SGRE?

Development and leadership.  As a wider business our product portfolio is developing at the fore-end of the market in terms of the turbine design, the service packages we provide and the markets we work within.  Our logistic solutions are vital to support this, we strive to lead the industry in safe operations and the emergence of new technology in the support of future logistics.  Each project brings with it a specific set of requirements and expectations, whether near or far-shore, and it is up to us to ensure we have the right logistic mix to fit the need; whether that be something from the existing market, such as a CTV or SOV, or something altogether new and exciting.  This is another reason for our contact with, and support of, the Workboat Association – which is why it is so important to us.

  • What hobbies do you have when you aren’t busy working?

With a diverse workforce comes a diverse set of hobbies; whether surfing on Tynemouth beach or tinkering with an old outboard motor, or even stealing some time from the busy work/life balance to play video games! We’ll let you try to guess whose hobby is whose!

Member Profile: Chris Jakeman, B. Marshall Marine

Chris Jakeman, Managing Director of ‘B. Marshall Marine’ one of the Association latest members gives us an insight into the background of the company.

An introduction to Chris Jakeman

I grew up in County Durham, followed an Apprenticeship as a Multi-Skilled Maintenance Technician and have always has a passion for Engineering from a young age. I worked in the manufacturing sector for many years before having anything to do with boats. This included Machine building, chemical products, ice cream manufacture and finally 8 years at Tetley tea finishing as Manufacturing Engineering manager.

Who are B. Marshall Marine?

B Marshall Marine was formed in December 2010 to design & build the Dive Support Vessel; Curtis Marshall. Tony Curtis approached Barry Marshall with the idea of the the vessel that included an integrated chamber, this was good timing for Barry Marshall – he had recently built the ‘Marshall Art’ a steel hull Motor Yacht. The Marshall Art was built in-house with assistance from myself on the electrical and mechanical side, which is where I first came involved with the company. Following completion of the Curtis Marshall in 2015 we decided to Operate the vessel for SADS diving, unfortunately we didn’t seem to have enough work for it. After a quiet first year and with much persistence, the Curtis Marshall has gone from strength to strength and has completed many various diving, survey & ROV projects.

What have been some of the highlights for B. Marshall Marine from the last few years?

1) Our first Survey Project working with AquaGeo and SAND Geophysics, we modified the Curtis Marshall to incorporate 8 metre towing booms to support a shipwreck hunting project for a wealthy client.

2) Our first Oil & Gas project with Bibby Offshore working on the Hejre jacket, 143 miles from the Danish coast. This led to another project in 2020 with the now ‘Rever Offshore’ decommissioning the ‘LOGGS Complex’ oil rig. 

3) I also really enjoyed the Rooswijk project, working with ‘MSDS Marine’ and ‘Dutch Heritage’ on an Archaeological diving project for a 17th Century shipwreck on the Goodwin sands. This led to another project direct with Dutch Heritage in 2019. The ‘Koperplatenwrak’ shipwreck from 1512 is the oldest wreck discovered, it involved salvaging 8 tonnes of copper plate and various items of significant historical interest.

You are currently training some seafarers using the Workboat Apprenticeship, what is your experience with this?

So far very good, we’ve taken on two apprentices through 54 North Maritime training with the support from the Worshipful company of shipwrights. They’ve had all of the basic training to enable them to go to sea and would have had more if wasn’t for that pesky Covid. The two lads are learning the ropes and will hopefully be two full time employees in just over a years time.

How did you enter the Maritime Industry (and Workboats) personally?

As previously described, I assisted Barry Marshall with the build of the ‘Marshall Art’ from 2005 to 2010 on a personal basis working every Saturday where possible. This meant reading many books and regulations in order to apply my engineering knowledge to the boat building environment, something that I got very interested in. This led to the four year project of building the ‘Curtis Marshall’, part time occupation for the first 3 years and finally I decided to jump ship from Tetley tea and joined B. Marshall Marine full time for the final year to finish the Curtis Marshall ready for its launch in April 2015.

What are your interests outside of work?

I don’t have a huge amount of time for many hobbies at the moment as we’ve formed another company ‘Marshall Jakeman Marine Ltd’ to convert & run the Marshall Art as a Survey boat. When I do have chance to rest, I enjoy spending time with my Wife and four Children. The Youngest is only 18 months so he keeps us on our toes! I enjoy personal fitness, CrossFit is my main passion apart from boats. I get good working out, competing and staying fit & healthy. Occasionally I still find time to play the Guitar and sing too.