Internationally successful dealership and brokerage boats.co.uk celebrates its 50th anniversary as a family business at this year’s Southampton Boat Show.
To mark the occasion, Princess Yachts’ founder David King met with boats.co.uk’s David Barke on the show pontoons, adjacent to a glittering line-up of Princess’ latest models. Barke, who started the family venture in 1969, just four years after King founded Princess Yachts, said: “Princess Yachts have been a key partner for our business since we rebranded as boats.co.uk, and it’s an honour to have David here today to help us mark our 50th year.
“As a family business we’ve had our ups and downs,” he continued, “but 50 years ago I could never have imagined the company would grow to what it is today. I’m delighted to say that, under the guidance of my four sons, boats.co.uk continues to go from strength to strength.”
David Barke started selling trailers in South Woodham Ferrers, Essex. He soon diversified to small speedboats and later moved premises, first to Maldon and then to Paglesham in 1986. While at Paglesham the business flourished, and David’s sons James, Nick and Guy all became involved. Following a rebrand to Essex Boatyards Ltd in 1999, the business moved again in 2005 to Essex Marina on Wallasea Island, with fourth son David Barke (Junior) joining the team. Now with a large marina and full facilities, the company grew rapidly, and rebranded to become boats.co.uk in 2014.
Boats.co.uk now distribute Princess Yachts for the East Coast and Poole, handle sales for Williams, Arvor, Parker Boats and Axopar, and have a thriving used boat resale business. They have four offices – their HQ in Essex and satellite offices in Poole, Cala d’Or and Dénia – and additionally offer yacht charter in Mallorca and St Lucia.
For more information, visit www.boats.co.uk