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Costs and bureaucracy deter Reed Boats

Worries have been expressed about the future of the hotel boat industry after hotel narrowboat business Reed Boats announced it will close at the end of this year.

Martin Reed, who operates the narrowboat pair Oak and Ash, says he will be ceasing operations once this year's cruising season is over. As an ordained Church of England minister, he says he is interested in returning to church work, and encroaching age has made him aware that hotel boating is not something he can continue with indefinitely.

However, sharper business concerns have made him unable to continue into next year, even if he wanted. 

“We are finding the constantly rising prices are making it very difficult to balance our books. Already the current increase in our charges this year is being eaten up by further price rises”, he said.

He also criticised the increasing bureaucracy of working on the waterways. “It seems like new regulations we have to comply with are appearing every week. This adds considerably to administration and to costs.”

With other hotel boats pairs also up for sale this year, Martin Reed says he is unlikely to find buyers for his business as a going concern at the right price. He is likely to register them at the end of the season as private boats unless he gets a realistic offer.

Unlike most hotelboat pairs, which are mostly converted working boats, Oak and Ash were built specifically for the hotelboat business. The pair were launched in 2004 by Braunston builder Dave Thomas.  

Martin Reed told the story of how he came to build and operate Oak and Ash in an article in Waterways World in July 2005. 

Tuesday 17 April  | Andrew Denny  | 12.51pm, Tuesday 17 April 2012

Comments

Only one hotel boat currently in operation is converted - Taurus from GU Crater. All the others are purpose built. The fact that hotel boats are changing owners is not a reflection on the state of the industry - it happens all the time, as running hotel boats is hard work and not something anyone can do for a long period. The industry is in a good state, and bookings are very healthy.

Robin Smithett  | 6.16PM, Friday 20 April

"Martin Reed, who operates the narrowboat pair Oak and Ash, says he will be ceasing operations once this year's cruising season is over. As an ordained Church of England minister, he says he is interested in returning to church work, and encroaching age has made him aware that hotel boating is not something he can continue with indefinitely."
No great loss to the waterways if all the reports of foul language & dangerous boating are to be believed, surprised they lasted so long !!

A. Overton  | 9.31PM, Thursday 4 October

i don't know the guy but the rev Reed has a terrible reputation and I beleive he is currenlty under investigation by Cart following an incident at hatton locks, perhpas more to do with his decision.

Jon A  | 2.45PM, Monday 8 October

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