Boom in boat maintenance
A taste of the summer sun and looming new year holidays are bringing a bustle of business to Picton and Waikawa boatbuilders as the industry enters its annual peak period.
Sounds Marine office manager Beth Steward said the business was "frantically busy" doing all sorts of work to get customers' boats ready.
The company also operated a sign-writing business and staff were busy fixing up graphics and changing boat names.
Steward said they were seeing a "good mix" of customers, with many coming from Nelson, Wellington and Christchurch.
"There's always a boom this time of year - a lot of people plan ahead but others just get in when they think Christmas is here.
"Normally, it's quiet after Christmas because most people are back to work but we've got bookings right through into the new year. It's definitely better than last year."
Staff worked overtime during the past three weeks and would continue until Christmas, she said.
Ian Franklin Boatbuilders owner Ian Franklin said the business was "ticking along nicely" as customers had all sorts of general maintenance work done on their boats, including paintwork touch-ups and anti-fouling.
"It'll continue like this for the next few months and we'll be open right through.
"We'll get a bit of time off once they've had theirs" he said.
High demand was expected in the summer months as people had the holiday time and, hopefully, the good weather to get out on the water. The number of Marlborough and visitor customer numbers was almost an even split, he said.
A spokeswoman from Marine Engineering said their business was bustling too, with "hundreds of jobs to do".
"It seems to be extremely busy this time of year - we've got nice weather and a lot of customers from Christchurch coming through. The majority of our customers tend to come from Canterbury."
Coastguard Marlborough president Dick Chapman sounded a note of caution.
He said people needed to make sure they had lifejackets, knew the weather forecast and told someone of their planned trips before leaving the harbour.
The speed limit is three knots in marinas and five knots when within 200 metres of the shore.
Coastguard Marlborough will be ready for any call-outs all summer and will carry out boat surveys in Picton, Waikawa and Havelock next month to remind people about safety on the water.
The Marlborough Express