AQUA IS BASED at Mercia Marina in Derbyshire and boat building is just part of the business. They run a successful hire fleet which operated at more than 90 percent occupancy during last season. All of the hire boats are built by Aqua and they’re all sponsored. The owner pays for the build, takes a proportion of the rental income for two or three years and then has the boat for themselves. The company also does a lot of maintenance and servicing work on boats and has Mercia’s dry dock on site. Three or four new boats are built each year, which always includes one new hire boat.
Aqua has expanded significantly since Justin Hudson-Oldroyd built the very first hire boat himself. He now employs two engineers, three joiners and two people (including his wife, Jane) in the office. There’s also a team of part-time staff who turn around the hire boats. More developments are on the cards in the shape of an extension to the office to give a proper reception for hire customers, and a meeting room for boat-building clients.