Category: Member Profile

Member Profile: Neil Brockman – Cormorant Cruises

Neil informs us about his career and his new business as owner of Cormorant Cruises, based in Cornwall.

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What is your background?

I grew up within a family committed to the RNLI in a small town in Cornwall, when I was old enough I followed my family’s footsteps and became a volunteer myself. At the age of 26 I became the fulltime Coxswain of our local lifeboat having previously spent some time as the Skipper of a fishing trawler. After 30 years’ service in the RNLI I made a move into the Workboat sector as a Master to have a change and embrace a new sector within the maritime industry.

What services do you currently offer?

I am a freelance Workboat Master and Fishing vessel Skipper, I also have a small commercial workboat of my own in my hometown of Mousehole in Cornwall which I operate in Summer as a local tour vessel including sights and stories on local wildlife, geology and history for both residents and holiday makers.

What has been the main driver for you to join the Workboat Association?

I have many friends who are members of the WA and I am fully supportive of industry collaborating to join efforts together, especially when it comes to training and safety. As I haven’t owned my company/vessel for long I find it is extremely valuable to have the support of others with experience around me.

Can you name a few highlights from your career?

In 2007 the RNLI took me to Shanghai with two other Coxswains to train employees of the Chinese Government on operating, handling and maintaining high-speed rescue craft; as they redeveloped their own Marine Rescue service. I spent over a month there, learning lots myself about the local culture and a different perspective on small vessel operations, I met some really great people – it’s a time I will never forget.

What are the current projects/vessels you are working on?

Now my own vessel is laid-up for winter, when I return home she will be taken out of the water where she will stay until next season. Currently I am working in the Netherlands for Acta Marine on board a vessel working on the Fryslân Wind Farm construction project. I enjoy the flexibility of my work and the changes in scenery and work scopes.

Do you have any advice to other self-employed workboat Masters or single vessel owners?

My father always told me “Look after your boat, [whoever’s boat you are working on] and your boat will look after you”. Keep enthused about training on board, I have first-hand witnessed many times the outcomes of when emergency preparedness is not taken seriously; You have to expect the unexpected when working at sea.

How has your background in the RNLI affected your work today?

Working for the RNLI gave me a professional and serious understanding about the risks of working and enjoying recreation at sea. You cannot be complacent as conditions and situations vary everyday and they can also change with the ‘click of a switch’. Although my ties with the RNLI are no longer operationally active, I remain dutiful to the cause and hold the highest respect for all those volunteering their time and risking their lives in the effort to save others. I, to this day believe that all mariners could learn a great deal from the eyes of someone who has served in a Marine Rescue Service, of which the RNLI is one of the best.

Member Profile: Ernst-Jan Kouveld, ORCA Crew Services

Ernst-Jan, Area Manager at South-Netherlands based Crew Services provider (and sponsors of the Workboat Association’s 25th Anniversary Drinks Reception) – ORCA Crew Services – tells us a little more about the ORCA team, their offering and objectives in this month’s Member Profile.

(Pictured here on the left with two of his colleagues. Attendees of the 2020 AGM may well recognise Rob Vermeulen, centre)

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What is the history of ORCA Crew Services BV.?

ORCA Crew Services BV was founded in September 2017 by a group of like-minded professionals with large experience in Maritime and Offshore recruitment services.

With 3 x branch offices and several dedicated agencies ORCA can provide bespoke turnkey recruitment solutions to their clients worldwide.

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When did you join the company?

I personally joined ORCA on January 1st 2018, recently after the company was established and have enjoyed everyday since – we have a great team and I really like the interaction with our clients.

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What is your background?

It has been varied, but always in Maritime Industry Services, for over 15 years now. I have experience as a Ships Agent, working for Shipowners and Ship Management Companies and of course; Crewing Agencies.

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What services do ORCA currently offer and what is your specialism?

We provide a range of Crewing related services to our customers, these include (but are not limited to);

  • Crew Management / Organisation
  • Recruitment, placement and research
  • Payroll Solutions
  • Ship Delivery Solutions
  • Permanent and temporary Staffing
  • Training Solutions
  • Logistical Services

I am the Manager of the Netherlands so I have a good oversight of many of these services in my sector, key to my role would be client engagement and working to provide them with high quality and professional solutions.

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What are the objectives of ORCA?

ORCA’s objectives quite simply are; maintaining the high-level of services we deliver to our clients and gaining market share with innovative solutions.

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Has there been any significant highlights since the conception of ORCA Crew Services?

A major milestone has been the signing of some large framework agreements within the more well-known Offshore Wind Contractors, we are glad to supply the entire project spread from Hopper dredgers to Multicats and from Offshore Construction Vessels to Crew Transfer Vessels.

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What was the main driver for ORCA to join the Workboat Association in 2019?

Amongst our clients many are Workboat Association members, so it is always beneficial hearing the challenges and best practices they are experiencing in the market. By being a member it is actually mutually-beneficial, we learn at the same time as our clients so we can continue to remain current with expectations and best practice whilst also giving back to the industry with help from our membership and sponsorship of the Association.

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What are the greatest crewing challenges that you experience in the Workboat industry currently?

At moment, despite any ‘normally’ perceived challenges (which we are experienced to manage and advise on), it has to be “How the COVID-19 crisis restricts travelling” especially from and to the Middle East in order to carry out crew changes, we see Shipping Companies unable to relieve crew on board >6 months.

How do you think Brexit may affect your business?

It is our motto to turn challenges into opportunities, we have a broad range of payroll facilities – we anticipate that their will be hurdles regarding the forthcoming Brexit but due to our wide offering we believe we are suited to be able to offer continuity with little disruption.

We do realize that obvious routine will become more bureaucratic once the Brexit enters into effect but until the final exit negotiations are complete it is not fully known the exact details that will affect UK Crewing, we continue to keep a close eye on this and we are ready to assist once the decision is made.

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Member Profile: Stuart Finlayson – Outreach Offshore

Stuart is the General Manager of new members: Outreach Offshore Ltd. In this month’s article he informs us about the company, its offering and some quick win ways to increase workboat lifting equipment safety.

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“Joining the Workboat Association is an exciting move for Outreach Offshore – we would like to share our experience within the workboat sector for health and safety improvements.”

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What is the history of Outreach Offshore Ltd.?


Outreach Offshore Limited, formally a division of Outreach Ltd is renowned as a leading supplier of hydraulic handling, lifting and access equipment within the wind, oil and gas, shipbuilding, aquaculture and marine industries. Products sold by Outreach Offshore Limited are universally recognised as being of the highest quality. Each product is carefully matched to the intended application and fully engineered. This ensures compliance with all relevant codes and standards. This also ensures the result contributes to maximum benefits to the client, whilst managing a budget.


When did you join the company?

I joined the company 5 years ago when it was part of Outreach Ltd. At the time, the main goal was to build and enhance the Outreach offshore division of the company. After the business was demerged I became the lead of the newly formed Outreach Offshore business. The focus of this new business venture was to service the specialist sectors in marine, oil and gas, wind energy and shipbuilding.


What is your background?

I’ve had many roles within the oil & gas, wind energy and shipbuilding industries over the past 39 years, with experience in multiple complex projects. I have always aimed to provide the best solution for clients while maintaining excellent quality – I have made a good career based on developing active customer relationships supported by our extensive technical knowledge, we are fully equipped to assist in all aspects of your [lifting] equipment needs for your project.


What services do you currently offer?

Outreach Offshore Limited supply and install bespoke hydraulic lifting solutions including R.O.V LARS systems, control cabins, specialist tether winches alongside handling and access equipment for offshore and onshore activities. This includes marine cranes manufactured by the PALFINGER Group.

Ancillary activities include importation, installation, load testing, repair, servicing, commissioning, demonstration, operator training, production, and testing. Alongside this extensive list, we also provide engineering design services to meet the needs of any project.

Outreach Offshore Limited is committed to providing the correct support and services for your project. We like to take a proactive approach with our products in which we will examine, maintain and provide crane parts packages or just parts support post-purchase. This is included with our comprehensive support and service packages.


What are the objectives of Outreach Offshore?

Outreach Offshore’s primary objectives are to provide our clients with lifting solutions that meet their standards and provide reliability in service by supplying quality equipment that is reliable and fits the needs of our client’s operational capability. However, conversely, we also understand that in the current economic climate we find ourselves in means that budgets are very important in the overall success of a project. This is why we use our extensive knowledge and understanding of the marine sector to engage with our clients to enable the most cost-effective and compatible solution which can also be delivered in a suitable time-frame to keep up with project deadlines.


What has been the main driver for you to join the Workboat Association?

To gain opportunity within the industry that enables us to showcase our capabilities. We offer world-class service and products that are specifically manufactured for this key sector. As the main Palfinger dealer in the UK, we feel that these products will fit well within the industry due to the fact that they are engineered to a very high quality and standard whilst providing lightweight, structural capabilities. The workboat sector would benefit from this continued innovation as well as their stringent safety standards. Similarly, Outreach Offshore would like to share our experience within the workboat sector for health and safety improvements.


Could you give us some quick-win advice to those responsible for cranes on Workboats?


Good technical support is essential to enable the correct choice of crane specific to each workboats capability. Choosing the correct crane duty and operational capability is fundamental to vessel safety and stability. This includes taking into consideration, significant wave height (Hs), over boarding requirements, power requirements and corrosion protection which is all based on the conditions in which the crane will be subject to daily.

Secondly, it is vital that the crane operators are fully trained by an accredited provider to ensure health and safety awareness while operating equipment is fully understood. This ensures peace of mind that the health and safety and well-being are managed while operating a complex piece of equipment. Each piece of equipment has differing skills needs to maintain and operate it, Outreach Offshore offer ALLMI accredited training courses specifically tailored to suit each customer’s requirements.

Lastly, it is greatly important that maintenance requirements are met on-time and correctly to ensure that cranes remain in good condition, this provides to ensure longevity, minimise risk and increase reliability. To promote this always use a reputable company to supply technical service and parts backup, this is vital to minimise downtime of machinery and keep systems running.


Do you have any unique offerings for the Workboat Industry?

Outreach Offshore Limited has extensive knowledge in sectors that are directly serviced by the workboat industry. This knowledge and experience of environmental requirements allow us to provide the best solutions possible for our workboat clientele.

Alongside this, over the past year Outreach Offshore Limited has been developing our unique Mini eLARS System. Small ROVs are increasingly being used within the workboat industry for inspection/intervention, seabed mapping and maintenance work. From this, we have identified a health and safety requirement to aid with the deployment and retrieval of these small ROV vehicles. We have spent over a year developing a solution made to safely launch and recover vehicles in a controlled condition, removing manual handling risks to the operator through innovation. This system is fully electric, which negates the requirement for hydraulic control and again matches environmental needs to remove the potential for oil spillages into the sea. The system integrates our MK8 tether winch which is 90% made of polypropylene.

Joining the Workboat Association is an exciting move for Outreach Offshore, as we aim to contribute with our knowledge and experience of supplying an engineered lifting solution that matches each individual task. We see the workboat association as an ideal platform to showcase our world-class equipment but also further develop our ability to provide our products and services into an evolving and diverse sector that we see through health and safety needs as standards develop.

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.

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“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.

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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!

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.

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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.

Member Profile: Ruari McLachlan, McLachlan Marine

Ruari takes us into the world of McLachlan Marine, a Workboat Operator based in Aberdeen, Scotland.

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Who is McLachlan Marine, How did it start and when?

I grew up at Stonehaven Harbour, Aberdeenshire and have always had a passion for the sea. Following a mixed background with boats and volunteering for the RNLI, I pursued my commercial endorsements and entered the Workboat industry prior to starting the business in 2011.

The companies first boat was the Lady Gail II “a small sea angling business” know as Castle Charter & Marine Services in Stonehaven, I used my commercial experience to diversify into the Workboat industry via supporting Survey works, and since then we have expanded year on year and now operate and offer many diverse contracts. 

Due to our independent capabilities, innovation, and flexibility, along with the excellent customer service we have succeeded with rapid growth.

What is your operational expertise?

Our main experience is Seabed Surveys, Safety boats, Marine civils support and Crew Transfers on local windfarms, I am proud to remain closely involved in the day to day operations of the fleet and can often be found on board getting hands-on in projects of all sizes!

A main pillar of our experience is undoubtedly our local knowledge and focus, we are proud to support the Aberdeen Harbour Expansion Project (that we have worked on since its inception) and our local windfarms.

What is your position in the company and how does a day in your life look?

I am the MD of the Company and every day is different, mainly fun… we play with boats!

We have a fantastic infrastructure here in NE Scotland, McLachlan Marine a large 1/2 acre site where our main office, workshops and storage are situated (between Aberdeen & Montrose Ports). We also have operations offices at all the local major harbours, plus a great operations & office team supporting our vessels, without their support we would not have achieved so much.

How many vessels do you operate and what types?

Our customers refer to our fleet as a “marine multitool” we have a boat for nearly every job!

McLachlan Marine currently operates a growing fleet of 9 Workboats, we have;

  • 3x Cabin Rib Safety boats
  • 2x Survey/CTV Catamarans
  • 2x Windfarm CTV’s
  • 2x Multipurpose Workboats.

How many employees do you have and where are they based?

In the peak we can have up to 30 staff working across the operations.

Most of fleet is based in the NE of Scotland in Aberdeen, but regularly we travel to support East Coast projects. For example; our 26m Ocean Titan just returned from Eyemouth after supporting a UXO campaign providing a stable platform for the Dive spread, ROV operations and Survey works all from the same vessel for the NnG Windfarm.

Have you been affected by the recent COVID-19 crisis and how have you overcome such challenges?

It’s a very challenging market just now, many projects in Scotland are currently on hold or have been postponed in to the 2021 season due to the current Scottish government guidelines.

We have our core team still working, carrying out maintenance to the fleet and supporting those local projects that are still operating for essential works.

To control the spread of the virus and protect our passengers and crew we have implemented new COVID-19 controls across our business. Our methodology, aims and continued work in this area has been well received by both our own workforce and our clients. 

What do you see as the 9 – 12 month challenges faced by the COVID-19 crisis for McLachlan Marine?

We are seeing more demand for our larger vessels (to allow increased social distancing on board) where a smaller vessel would often normally be used.

The past few months have been a challenge and to be open; it has impacted the business both commercially and operationally. As the next few weeks progress and presumably the restrictions are eased, we retain an optimistic approach with the hope of seeing more projects coming back on line.

Do you have any highlight stories from the McLachlan Marine history books?

In the last 6 months McLachlan Marine has invested in an additional two vessels.

Firstly: The previously mentioned 26m Survey / CTV catamaran for offshore survey work and crew transfers, now called “Ocean Titan” purchased from the well known Dutch workboat company Acta Marine.

And our second addition: The “Ocean Supporter”, a 19m Multipurpose Workboat from Meercat workboats, which strengthens our marine civils support operations.

These two purchases have both been a whole lot of fun, but have also required a lot of hard work form the whole team, to whom I’m very grateful. I am very proud of both vessels.

“I would like to use this opportunity to wish all WA members and our friends the best of health and a successful 2020 season, we will see you all soon.”

Ruari and team

Member Profile: Noor Kimit, Seaworthy Consulting

Find out about Noor and her reasons for starting Seaworthy Consulting

(Noor, pictured left with her colleague Nnekha, celebrating Seaworthy’s second birthday)

Who are Seaworthy Consulting?

Seaworthy Consulting is a recruitment agency providing crewing solutions, set up 2017 by myself following 8 years’ experience in Marine Recruitment sector.  

Knowing some Seafarers well – I could see how there was a gap in the market open for a consultancy business that would match clients’ crewing needs with the right Seafarer’s skills and competencies for a finder’s fee rather than through a payroll system.

My concept differs from many expectations, my ethos is not to take any money off the Seafarers day rate, but to charge only the client for my service as a freelancer’s fee.

This is a transparent, honest and radical way of working, meaning we get the best candidates approaching us as they are aware we will never miss-inform them about their day rates. It also means the vessel owners will not have to deal with day rate disputes on board, leading to vessel owners regularly receiving new crew to train and install competence to – due to crew not returning.

What maritime sectors do you work in?

Seaworthy Consulting provide crew and technical staff to the Workboat and Offshore Sector.

What does a day in your life look like?

I usually have a list of tasks to do, set-out during the day before. My day involves a lot of multi- tasking between live vacancies, speaking to client and candidates and making sure we are providing solutions to problems that may arise. Any non-designated time is spent qualifying and getting to know the crew that we are sending out.

Have you always had an interest in boats?

Not at a young age, I come from a family of Goldsmiths going back four generations. Being situated in Manchester, apart from Canal Barges, I am not really surrounded by boats – in fact, I graduated with a degree in Embroidery!

In a twist of fate my plan to work in the Fashion sector in London did not materialise, I applied for HR/Recruitment jobs locally to fund me staying in London, with the long-term ambition being get my dream job there as a Couture Embroidery designer. I landed a job recruiting within the maritime sector, and since then I have never looked back!

What is the highlight of your work for you?

My highlight is to resolve issues for clients at short notice, I have helped save many vessels from going off hire by providing relief crew on the weekends/ evenings or last minute requirements, my reward is knowing I have relieved stress and pressure from my clients and their crew.

Another enjoyable part of my work is supporting and placing [where practicable] graduate OOWs, seeing them in some cases become Master or even Managing Director.

It is also great to receive feedback from both clients and candidates that Seaworthy Consulting is trusted and respected for the professional service we offer.

Do you face any challenges?

Every day is a challenge, the maritime industry is very receptive to the global situation. We are constantly having to adapt to new conditions; including politics, war, medical pandemics, certificate regulation changes or acceptances, travel restrictions, Visas. But from these experiences we have learned how to adapt fast! We have great connections in the industry to help us with up to date and clear advice – like the Workboat Association for example.

What are your interests outside of the office?

I am an Ambassador for The Princess Trust, I raise awareness for this great charity which is helping many young individuals every day to develop their skills or business. Speaking personally, I was not diagnosed with dyslexia until my late teens, I try to share my experiences with others and provide them with confidence and inspiration to keep trying, eventually (I hope) to succeed in their own endeavours.

The rest of my time is spent with my family, I still enjoy my embroidery projects, which are now my hobby.

If you had ‘one wish’ to make a change in the Workboat Industry, what would it be?

I would like to see the Workboat industry become wider recognised and respected as an integral part of the overall maritime community, they are the key-stones of nearly every other marine sector.

I guess I would wish that the regulations and policies continue to be actively developed and where necessary added, to protect the Workboat industry and allow for it to work more efficiently and effectively connected with the larger tonnage sectors regarding training, safety, expectations and regulations.

Member Profile: John Spencer, GPS Marine Contractors

This month John explains the background of GPS Marine Contractors, tells us more about himself and highlights some of the challenges that GPS are focused to overcome.

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Who are GPS Marine Contractors and what is your role in the company?

GPS Marine Contractors is the operator of the most tugs and the largest fleet of barges (in terms of tonnage) on the Thames. GPS Marine carries approx. 750,000 to !m tonnes of cargo on the Thames annually under long term contracts. GPS Marine also contracts to provide marine logistics and barge transport services in support of major contracts, these can more than double the annual tonnages carried on the Thames. GPS Marine also carries our dredging and marine civil engineering contracts and provides support to dredging and marine civils contracts throughout the UK and the coastal states of mainland Europe.

My role in the company is the strategic development of the business. On the Thames this is by promoting and developing the benefits to be gained from modal shift to water transport, such as reduced emissions, improved air quality reduced traffic congestion, reduced road wear and fewer construction related road traffic accidents. Further afield my aim is to enable to business to meet the challenges created by Brexit and the green revolution in shipping. I am also tasked with developing our marine civils operations such that it can undertake larger contracts and work further afield. In addition I am responsible for the full implementation of documented and audited safety management systems throughout the entire business.

What are the ambitions for GPS?

GPS Marine Contractors aims to provide water fed construction materials transport hubs in West, Central and East London and in Essex / Kent. GPS Marine also aims to develop outside the Thames by adding value to its current offering. To do this the business will invest to ensure that it is more than a workboat hire organisation such that it can provide packages of craft and contract in its own right predominantly using its own equipment to reduce associated risk.

What markets and where do you currently operate?

GPS Marine operates in freight transport by barge, marine civils, dredging and bunkering on the Thames. We also deliver bunkers on the Thames and operate in the European charter market for tugs, multicats, hopper and pontoon barges.

What did your career look like before today?

I started as a marine engineer, working on marine civils plant, tugs and coasters. I then went to see in our own coastal fleet and as tug master on the Thames before coming ashore and starting to get involved in management. My whole life has been centred around small ships, tugs and craft engaged in dredging and marine civils.

What does a day in your life look like?

These days I spend my life behind a desk. I am no longer involved in day to day operations, crewing or the technical management of the fleet. Safety and the commercial aspects of running and developing the business are at the centre of just about every day. What hasn’t changed over the years is that mine is still the “phone of last resort”. Somebody has to do it and I can’t let that role go – my phone is on and next to me 24/7/365.

What are the current challenges you face at GPS?

Our biggest challenges today are:

  1. To ensure that a positive safety culture exists throughout our business
  2. To persuade local government that transporting goods by water is a sustainable, modern and environmentally sound proposition
  3. To locate and open wharves for freight
  4. To improve the environmental impact of our activities
  5. To manage the effects of Brexit [and COVID-19] in the best way we can

What is your motivator at work?

My motivator is just to try to be the best at what we do. That isn’t just about making the most money, it’s about doing what we do right. Keeping the kit right, providing good jobs, making the employees part of the enterprise. It’s about looking to make the most of the opportunities and the challenges that lie ahead, every day, week, month and year.