Boatbuilder Aqua Narrowboats is to expand its operations into a new purpose-built factory. The company, currently based at Mercia Marina in Derbyshire, has been granted planning permission to build the 7,500sqft factory a short distance away in Foston.
The facility, which will include a 40 tonne crane and boat testing tank, will enable the business to increase production allowing two boats to be built simultaneously – both narrowboats and widebeam boats.
As part of the development a dedicated reception and showroom will also be built, providing space for boat build customers as well as customers of the Aqua Furnishings business.
This side of the business supplies and retails seating, blinds and soft furnishings for new and existing boat owners and has also seen steady growth since launching in early 2017.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for us and the whole team are keen to move in so that we can continue to be progressive and innovate the inland boating building industry,” said Aqua Narrowboats MD Justin Hudson-Oldroyd.
“We have enjoyed our time at Mercia Marina but we outgrew the premises a number of years ago and have been unable to expand at the site.”
The company is due to move into the new facility in September 2018.
The increase in production and growth means that Aqua Narrowboats will be recruiting additional skilled crafts people to keep up with demand.
In addition, says Mr Hudson-Oldroyd, the company will take on apprentices to increase young talent and skills that the boat building industry is currently lacking.
As part of the expansion the company will also relocate its luxury hire boats to Barton Turns Marina on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Staffordshire ready for the start of the 2018 season.
“We will still be providing the same high level of service we have always done but the marinas position, closer to the heart of the Midlands canal network, will enable our customers much quicker access to Fradley Junction whilst still retaining our position on the Leicester Ring,” added Mr Hudson-Oldroyd.
The company was established in 2004 and since then has seen steady growth.