Pathfinder – Ex-Navy Man Embarks On Boat Building Business Venture

A Boat Building Academy graduate who served with the Royal Navy for 22 years has completely changed his life.

Mark Bestford is launching a mobile marine services company with a creative twist after retraining as a boat builder. The company, ‘Boatwork’, is based in Chesterfield, Derbyshire and offers mobile maintenance, boat management, repairs and support services for marines and private owners. Mark says: “You could say that ‘Boatwork’ brings the boatyard to you.”

Mark’s career in the Royal Navy was cut short when hearing loss meant that he had to leave the service. He went on to work as a yacht skipper, sailing instructor and private charter skipper, as well as managing a yacht charter base in the West Indies with his wife. But, wanting to live in England and do something more practical, Mark identified a course at the Boat Building Academy in Dorset as suitable training for the next step in his career.

He says “There are a large number of boat and yacht owners who do not have the time or facilities, or are physically unable to maintain their boats through the seasons. There is a real gap in the market for a flexible, mobile service in preventative maintenance work and haul-out assistance and winterisation.

“We can complete the whole process or just give a helping hand where needed. We can also help marine businesses by coming in at times of high demand or staff shortage, and in these difficult economic times it makes sense to take people on only as and when needed.”

While on the course at the Boat Building Academy Mark and his fellow students built eight boats in the last six months of the nine month course. Mark noticed that there was a fair amount of wood in the form of boat building and repair offcuts. He turned his mind to how these offcuts could be used for something more than firewood and ‘Boathearts’ were born.

Named ‘Boathearts’ because they represent a cross-section of the centre or heart of a boat, they can be used decoratively or as an unusual and rather beautiful alternative to the usual cups awarded as regatta trophies.

The British Legion is supporting Mark in his new venture and Mark and his wife are looking forward to settling down to their new careers.

For more information on the business visit their website

For more information about Mark’s training and what other graduates go on to do visit localhost/

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