Biz Extra

Jon Ford on the role of a broker and Natasha's appearance on TV's hit Take Me Out show...

By Staff Reporter [email protected]

Published: May 5, 2021 | Updated: 6th May 2021

Welcome to the May edition of Marine Matters from Coleman Marine Insurance, a Gallagher company.

This month we meet Jon Ford, a long-term friend and supporter of Coleman Marine Insurance, and a much-respected figure in the boating world.

Jon is Brokerage Sales Manager at Salterns Brokerage in Poole.

We also catch up with Private Client Yacht Account Handler, Natasha Ford (no relation!) and learn lots about her career.

She also surprises us with revelations of her appearance on Take Me Out and her trip to the Isle of Fernando’s!

If you would like to find out more information about our business and its services, please contact us on 01202 497410 or visit our website for more information by clicking here

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Jon Ford, Brokerage Sales Manager, Salterns Brokerage, Poole.

Tell us a little about yourself

I live in Poole with my family. I’m married to Hazel who’s a part time teacher and we have three children – Ollie 11, Thomas 8 and Hettie 5.

I was born and bred in Swanage and went to The Purbeck School in Wareham.

I’ve always been into my water sports…whether that be sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, life guarding, anything on the water really! My first experience of boating was with my dad and uncle sailing a 27-foot Snap Dragon yacht.

Upon leaving school I joined Solent University and studied a water-based leisure management degree at the Warsash Maritime Academy. I’ve always been interested in boats but couldn’t see how I could apply that passion to a career or how I could create a clear path into the industry.

How and when did you join the marine industry?

I joined the marine industry in 2004. It was after I took a trip to the Southampton Boat Show, armed with a CV and a smile, determined to secure a position!

I started my marine career with Sealine Sales and have since worked with some of the top brands in the sector, including Sunseeker, Princess, Argo Yachting and Dbeere Boats.

I now have 16 years experience selling boats – everything from a Boston Whaler starter boat to a 130ft super yacht, sail, power, new build projects and brokerage.

What I really enjoy is the diversity of the industry, the mix of people that you meet, the international element and travel and doing business with people from different cultures. It’s also so satisfying working with people who share a genuine passion of the marine world.

Tell us about Salterns Brokerage

I joined Salterns Brokerage in March 2021.

It’s brilliant to be back working in Poole, rediscovering the harbour and to be working with such a respected business and team in the marine sector.

The brokerage office within Salterns Marina has been open for over 15 years and there’s huge amount of experience within the team.

We’re here for our clients throughout the whole process – from free valuations and market appraisals to transferring boat ownership title deeds right through to aftersales servicing and boat care and maintenance.

We sell a diverse range of new and preowned boats and have exclusive UK dealerships with Sealegs and FUGU.

We are looking to add a larger yacht brand and other new boat brands, but these have yet to be decided. We’re also looking to introduce a new service of yacht chartering as we’re seeing more and more customers interested in experiencing the lifestyle just for one day or week.

What changes have you noticed recently in the marine sector

New technologies are constantly evolving which changes how we sell.

We now offer video reviews for all our listings with live 3D video tours.

I am very keen for Salterns Brokerage to stay on the forefront of these new technologies, we are just about to undertake a trial of an industry first – it is a transactional technology which speeds up and simplifies the buying and selling process for buyers and sellers.

Using your smart phone you will be able to arrange viewings, place offers, upload documents and even complete the sale or purchase.

The pandemic has made everyone a lot more comfortable online and has massively accelerated the interest and desire for people to do business using new technologies and online platforms.

I’ve personally sold six motors yachts in the last 12 months, where the buyer has not seen the motor yacht before the purchase completed. This would have been extremely unlikely before Covid.

It’s been a combination of the inability to travel, the urgency for people to get into the market, the ability to have questions answered on a video call and buyers realising that jumping on a plane to go and view a boat is not always necessary.

All that said, I hope and believe there will always be a time and space for face-to-face meetings and viewings, something we have all missed over the last 12 months.

What is the market like currently and how do you see the role of a broker?

There is currently a global shortage of boats of all sizes and demand is high.

Industry web portals are currently reporting that there has been up to 40% uplift in web traffic driven by new buyers and potential buyers to the market.

These ‘new to the market’ buyers’ need good solid advice and someone to help guide them through the process of buying and also how to care for your boat.

Being supported by the Salterns Group we can offer help and advice from mooring, servicing, maintenance, charter options and for the larger yachts, advice and recommendations for how to recruit a captain and crew.

As a broker I build relationships to allow me to best look after the interests of my clients and to help them enjoy their purchases and the ongoing journey. If we get that relationship right, buyers will return time and again in the future for help with their next purchase.

We’re always looking for new listings. At Salterns Brokerage we are very much seen as a trusted brokerage locally, as well as a gateway to European and Mediterranean boating. We have clients all over the world including Europe, Columbia and Australia. Just in April I was assisting an Egyptian client search for a 90-foot super yacht.

What do you see as the challenges of the next 6 months?

We are really looking forward to having a presence and stand at the Southampton Boat Show in September this year. It will be so good to be back amongst our industry friends and clients.

The challenge for us all in the boats sales industry is the lack of supply of new boats, pre-owned boats and berths. Combine this with higher demand across all areas of the business, as well as the EU/UK polarisation of the tax paid status on boats, and you have a general shortage across the market.

Thankfully, we have a great network of long-term clients that provide us with a steady stream of brokerage listings as well as some new boats due to arrive this season including Sea Legs and the fabulous Fugu 29!

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Name: Natasha Ford

Role: Private Client Yacht Account Handler at Coleman Marine Insurance (A Gallagher Company)

How long have you been in the business?

I have been working in the insurance industry for seven years.  My career began when I was offered a place on a Commercial Insurance Graduate Scheme. I worked across different package commercial insurances and began my studies towards the Advanced Diploma in Insurance which I completed in 2018.  After a year on the graduate scheme, the exciting opportunity arose to relocate to Poole and join the team at Coleman Marine Insurance and I have remained here since.

What’s your marine career background?

Before joining Coleman Marine Insurance, I didn’t have any experience within the marine industry but in the last six years I have learnt so much and it has been a fun journey. Upon joining Coleman’s, I spent the first six months working in the Marine Trade and Cargo Team and then moved to the Private Client Yacht Team where I have now been a dedicated team member for five and half years. We are a two-person team and arrange comprehensive programmes of insurance typically for superyachts or any yacht risk that has more complex requirements.

What’s the best thing about your job?

There are lots of great things about my job, but if I had to choose only one, then it would be working for Coleman Marine Insurance (A Gallagher Company).  The Poole office is an amazing team and the company has a great culture and really looks after their clients and employees alike.

Use three words to describe yourself

One that I am called by many people, so I guess I would have to use to describe myself is pedantic. I would also like to think that I am funny and motivated (unless you are talking about exercise).

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

The first job I remember wanting, was when I was about six, and I wanted to be a model purely because my Auntie was one. Then it went on to a primary school teacher amongst lots of other things.

Who do you most admire?

There isn’t just one person, but instead there are lots of qualities in people that I admire. For example, people that are very driven or talented. I am passionate about animals so I also admire people who are very charitable in this respect.

Tell us something about yourself that we don’t know

I managed to keep this a secret for many years after I started working at Coleman’s, until one day a colleague caught a repeat on TV and could not resist telling everyone. However, there are still lots of people that don’t know that I have been on Take Me Out and, for those of you that are familiar with the programme, I got to go to the Isle of Fernando’s!

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