12:52 12 September 2022
A new found love for boating during the pandemic has helped a family boat building business enjoy a sales boom.
In just two and a half weeks, Haines Marine sold three boats worth a total of £1million in retail value.
The business, which is located in the village of Catfield in east Norfolk, has seen a surge in demand for boats since the start of the Covid lockdowns.
“During the pandemic, people weren’t traveling, so they used the money they would have spent on vacation to invest in boats,” said Justin Haines, director of Haines Marine.
“People then fell in love with boating and started to improve their boats.”
Mr. Haines attributes the growing popularity of boating to the fact that it allows people to spend more time with their families.
“We had three boats under construction and all the customers were talking about using it with their families,” he added.
“The fine British weather we have had has also had a positive effect on British tourism.
“We could have better summers, which leads to more people vacationing here.
“The real encouraging thing is the growth of new markets.
“We have seen an increase in the number of customers on the south coast, as well as in the Norfolk Broads.
“We have also seen growth in Germany and the Netherlands in recent months.”
Mr Haines said the surge in sales during the pandemic had continued since Brexit.
“Whatever your thoughts on Brexit, we’ve seen it have a positive impact on UK sales,” he said.
The company was founded in 1980 by Bob and Mary Haines and today employs 20 employees – 13 employees and 7 contractors.
It builds and markets a range of river and offshore boats.
Its eight models have all been popular this year, which Haines says is unusual, as normally only two or three boat types are in high demand.
“It was really unexpected but it shows the strength of the market,” he added.
“Twin-engine boats still sell, despite the fuel consumption to operate.
“Single-engine boats also continued to sell.
“Next year we will also start selling electric boats.”
Despite the success, Haines says the business has been hurt by rising energy costs and inflation.
“We contracted for our energy, but the cost of materials has gone up – some things have more than doubled in price.
“Wages are also increasing – we have to support the team who are seeing their own costs increase.
“We are well placed to absorb it.
“We have a reputation that is really strong.
“Companies have all worked together so that we can all survive the current situation.”
Haines Marine is set to showcase its boats at one of the country’s biggest boating festivals on Friday when it attends the Southampton Boat Show.