Profiles: Company profiles


Under Cover

Tony Jones visits Canvasman owners Chris and Fran Salisbury at their new warehouse just off the Leeds & Liverpool in Baildon, to find out what’s happening in the world of boat covers

“Some might say I was rather naive during the early years of the business,” says Chris Salisbury, managing director of Yorkshire-based boat-cover company Canvasman. “I remember sitting in a meeting at the bank when the company was just a few years old, and them telling me that there was no way I could build a successful business in such a niche market as narrowboats. Thankfully I was both fiercely determined and quite naive back then. I just thought ‘yeah, whatever’, and carried on regardless. I could see we were onto something, and besides, I love a challenge.” 

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12 Volt Planet

Totally wired

Online electrical component store 12 Volt Planet offers an integrated product and information service for trade and DIY customers. WN finds out more…

Created as a one-stop shop for off-grid wiring projects for both trade and DIY customers, 12 Volt Planet stocks a huge range of 12V and 24V electrical supplies for the boating, leisure and vehicle sectors. Operating entirely online, the company features an easy-to-use webshop plus a comprehensive Knowledge Centre providing hints and tips on all things electrical, and has developed a global presence since it was established eight years ago. 

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Broom Boats

Broad-ly speaking

Historic Broom Boats is taking a modern approach to boating on the Norfolk Broads. WN speaks to managing director Antony Howell about the company’s recent developments

Occupying an enviable position on the River Yare at Brundall, Broom Boats has been an established name on the southern Norfolk Broads for over 120 years. Formed in 1898, initially to build wooden cruisers for the global market, the business is now a luxury hire-fleet operator, mooring facility and marine repair centre headed up by a new director with a passion for the environment. 

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Sofabed Barn

Are you sitting comfortably?

Finding furniture to fit narrowboats can be a chore but Sofabed Barn makes easy work of it, providing sit-sleep solutions that combine comfort and style

Sofabed Barn is a family-run business based in Bradford, where its large selection of compact, easy-to-use sofabeds and chair-beds are handmade to order. The firm was established over 20 years ago and first entered the inland waterways sector at the 2012 Crick Boat Show.

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SML Marine Paints

New formula

Coatings specialist SML Marine Paints tells WN how its own-brand products were developed to meet the needs of the inland waterways market 

SML Marine Paints offers a broad range of paint-systems, primers, topcoats and varnishes for every type of inland waterways craft, available from its dedicated webpage, as well as decorative and protective coatings from its sister sites. 

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Leoch Battery UK

Coming into Power

WN profiles battery manufacturer Leoch, just over a year since it established its UK subsidiary

Founded in 1999, Leoch is one of the largest multi-range battery manufacturers in the world, supplying to more than 100 countries. The international company currently employs more than 12,000 people in factories in an area covering over one million square miles. It has 105 production lines and related testing equipment, plus three dedicated battery research and development centres where it is constantly pushing the boundaries of energy storage capabilities for a wide range of applications and looking for greener, more environmentally conscious battery solutions.

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Wessex Chemical Factors

Chemical Pros

WN talks product development, greening supply chains and responding to the pandemic with Wessex Chemical Factors’ general manager Hannah Borowski

Family-run company Wessex Chemical Factors has been developing cleaning and treatment solutions for industrial, commercial and domestic applications for over 35 years. The UK-manufactured products are distributed across the globe, and the company has a dedicated website for its marine range, which brings together items designed specifically for cleaning, treating and preserving all types of boats.

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Symphony Narrowboat Paint

A fresh coat

Symphony Coatings is relaunching its Narrowboat Paint range with an updated look and revamped colour chart. WN finds out more…

Symphony Narrowboat Paint is an established name in the inland waterways sector, supplying specialist paint products for commercial applications and retail sale. Its comprehensive range of boat-based paints is set to be relaunched this summer and will include extra colour options for the modern boater, along with new branding.

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Kings Lock Chandlery

Shop small, think big

Operating from tiny premises on the Trent & Mersey Canal, Kings Lock Chandlery is supplier to some of the biggest boat-builders in the country. WN talks to director Steve Wedgwood

Positioned on the Trent & Mersey close to the junction with the Shropshire Union’s Middlewich Branch, Kings Lock Chandlery occupies prime canalside real estate, serving passing retail customers and supplying boat-builders across the country. So why, then, does it occupy such a small shopfront? It’s a deliberate move, says owner and director Steve Wedgwood, who steadfastly believes “big doesn’t mean beautiful”.

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HMG Paints

A Helping Hand

As we continue in another national lockdown, WN profiles the narrowboat paint firm that’s turned its alcohol stocks to hand sanitiser to prevent shortages

Manchester-based company HMG Paints might not be well known to the average inland boater, but its products will be familiar under many other brands, such as Craftmaster.

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Engines Plus

Powering Through

WN talks to Engines Plus director Hedley Beavis about the evolution of his business and what the future holds for the sector

Based in Gloucester, Engines Plus has been supplying marine and industrial engines since 2009. Having started with just one marinised engine on its books, the company now supplies a wide range suitable for inland waterways use under the Canaline name, as well as from Solé Diesel and Hyundai Seasall. It also sells diesel and petrol engines, and generators for industrial use from Isuzu, Kioti, Kirloskar and Suburu, and prides itself on being able to provide packages suited to diverse applications across the country.

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E P Barrus

Shire Determination

E.P. Barrus has been supporting the marine sector for 100 years and inland waterways boaters since 1998 with quality engines that are built to last

Established in 1917, E.P. Barrus imports and supplies engines and engine-powered equipment for the marine, garden, industrial and vehicle industries. The company’s roots are in the distribution of precision hand and machine tools, but it quickly expanded into the marine sector in the 1920s following the racing successes of its US imported outboard engines. Over the last 100 years, Barrus has become the largest custom builder of marine and industrial engines in Europe.

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