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Orkney boatyard to expand and create jobs

Published: 06/12/2023

A £236,000 project that will create five new jobs in Orkney has secured up to £82,600 investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Burray Boatyard Ltd combines traditional craftsmanship with the latest methods of technology to provide boat repairs, maintenance and refits, while also providing services for small wind turbines.

The firm is based in Burray, one of Orkney's linked south isles. An expansion project will enable the business to double its capacity, creating five new highly skilled jobs and increasing turnover.

Until now, ambitious growth plans have been constrained by a lack of space to expand manufacturing and other operations to meet a strong market demand for the business's services. 

This project includes the construction of a shed, a new boat trolley, a new winch and an extension to the slipway to support the increased capacity provided by the second shed. The work is to be carried out in-house by Burray Boatyard’s own skilled team. 

Once the development is complete, the additional shed will provide capacity for bigger boats and allow work to be carried out on two boats at the same time. Additional space will also give the business a new opportunity to manufacture bespoke boats up to 25m, fully kitted out to customer requirements.

The firm was established by Sid Milton in 2015 and now employs eight skilled people. It has a strong local market base which includes the major sea farm operators and the harbour authority. 

Maureen Shearer, senior development manager in HIE’s Orkney area team, said: “There are many social and economic benefits to this project. It will create a new manufacturing facility for Burray Boatyard, allowing it to continue to grow, which helps create and retain valuable local employment.

“The marine sector is an important part of Orkney’s economy with a range of commercial and non-commercial activities across the islands. The emerging offshore wind sector is also likely to provide further opportunities for the business so we’re really pleased to provide support to help them grow and create new jobs in Burray.”

Sid said: “We are grateful for HIE’s support and assistance, which has helped accelerate our  development programme and allows us to grow our business further in Orkney.

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