WELCOME ABOARD THE SCILLONIA
The glorious Isles of Scilly is the subtropical tip of the UK and travel between its many islands is done by boatshare
When a boat hire company on the Isles of Scilly ceased trading five years ago, two people were keen to take on the business. Richard Drew, who had moved from Devon to the islands to work for the original company in 2006, and Scillonian Chris Jenkins realised that they could pool their talents and resources and make it a successful business again, and so Scillonia Boatshare was born
Several properties on the islands, especially on Tresco, are rented out as timeshare holiday homes, with people coming to them during the same week every year. Some of these people like to have their own method of transport: when you have limited time, waiting for a boat to take you to other islands can be time consuming, so the chance of having your own timeshare boat for your timeshare week to take you wherever and whenever you fancy is both convenient and enjoyable. By creating Scillonia Boatshare, Chris and Richard have taken over the original timeshare boat hire work, cornering the market and growing from just three boats in 2008/9 to eight boats today.
“Our clients can buy five- or 10-year shares in a boat,” explains Chris. “The cost includes a dedicated handover with a choice or mooring – we have 36 moorings on Tresco and 6 on Bryher to choose from – we make sure the boats are always filled with petrol, include all the essentials such as lifejackets and safety equipment, and luxuries like a picnic basket, water skis or fishing rod, and we are on call 24/7 in case there are problems or our customers just want some advice. We can be anywhere in 20 minutes. If they bought their own boat from the mainland, it would cost a lot just for mooring, insurance and maintenance, and we take all that worry off their hands.”
Scillonia Boatshare offers a one-year taster share, when clients can decide if the deal is for them or not. Unsurprisingly, most decide that it is well worth it! Full training is given and their own boat, a Powercat 525, which is suitable for Scillonian waters and carries seven people, is ready and waiting for them to arrive.
Apart from Scillonia Boatshare, Richard and Chris run their own individual businesses. Richard and his family live on Bryher, where they are managers of Bryher Boatyard. Chris lives on St Mary’s where his business, South’ard Engineering, specialises in outboard motors maintenance and repair. Chris is also assistant mechanic and volunteer crew member for St Mary’s lifeboat, and is an enthusiastic gig rower. However, despite building up this new business together, Richard and Chris are not in each other’s pockets all the time.
“We live on different islands, we have our own particular work – Chris works on the engines and I work on the hulls,” laughs Richard, “And we mainly work different seasons – I’m busy in the summer and Chris during the winter. It’s a perfect scenario!” And their clients obviously think so too. As word has spread, so has the client-base and this year all eight boats are fully booked for the summer months. Scillonia Boatshare is a success story.