Biz Extra

RYA instructor & freelance boat skipper Steve Jones reflects on 40 happy years in the marine sector...

By Staff Reporter [email protected]

Published: May 15, 2023 | Updated: 17th May 2023

In this month’s Gallagher ‘Marine Matters’ we meet and chat with respected local RYA instructor and freelance boat skipper, Steve Jones of Steve Jones Marine Services.

Steve has been a customer of Gallagher Marine Insurers for the last 13 years.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background

I’m originally from North Wales but moved to Poole in 1979 at age of 15 when my family relocated with dad’s job. I attended Henry Harbin School, which is now known as Poole High School. It was the move to Poole that ignited my interest in marine when dad bought a small boat.

After school I went into engineering for a year but it was not for me. I wanted to be outdoors more and so secured a job in a local boat yard called Rotork Boat Park. It was the first dry stack boat yard in the UK and I learned all different aspects of the boat yard, from moving boats, craning and blocking off. When I finally left after 20 years I’d worked my way up to boat yard manager and the business had been renamed Poole Boat Park.

I subsequently worked in boat sales for Marine Sales UK, based in Salterns Marina. I stayed for 18 months but then enjoyed several years working as a skipper on a motor yacht in the Caribbean, returning home in 2007. I’ve worked freelance ever since. I live in Poole.

What do you do?

I am a freelance skipper, and take people out on charters, I also do boat deliveries, offer tuition to clients who are new to the world of boating or looking to take further courses and also people taking delivery of their new boat. I really love what I do, it’s a real mixed bag! All of my work is gained by word of mouth, I don’t have the need to advertise anywhere and just use my trade contacts. I work with brokers in Poole and Southampton and local boat builders. I’m lucky to have lots of variety with my clients and a lot of my work is repeat business.

I’ve had some notable clients, including various celebrities. It’s incredibly rewarding and enjoyable teaching people the ropes and new skills and helping them with their boating aspirations.

I don’t have my own boat – I would never get the opportunity to use it if I did.

Describe an average week?

I never have an average week, it’s always very varied! Last week I went to Jersey on Tuesday to deliver a boat to the Jersey Boat Show and on Thursday I delivered a new boat to its new owner in Guernsey. This week I took a family on a day charter to the Isle of Wight on Monday, visiting Yarmouth. Yesterday I travelled to Jersey to collect a boat to deliver back to Poole. Next week I will be in Loch Lomond for tuition with a new Fairline owner.

Where have you travelled with work?

I’ve worked in the Caribbean, all over the Mediterranean, as far as Israel and also in Myanmar where I was skippering for a Burmese owner with his new boat during the South East Asia Games.

Recent deliveries include Poole to Inverkip in Scotland. Britain has an amazing coastline. The whole west coast of England and Scotland is a totally stunning place to go boating.

In 40 years of marine life, I have been lucky to visit so many great places, meet and work with some wonderful people. I’ve been lucky!

How did the pandemic impact on your work?

Lockdown was good for me as I was still able to work and relocated boats for owners who had planned moves, but were unable to due to restrictions to move their own boats. Once lockdowns ended, lots of people were buying boats, the market went a little bonkers, for everything recreational. There’s definitely been a change since the pandemic, many more people taking up boating as a hobby, partaking of courses and chartering boats to have a great day out.

  •  Anyone interested in contacting Steve, can email [email protected] or telephone 07710 109351

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