Gosport’s physical position at the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour coupled with its 24 miles of waterfront and deep water access to the Solent makes it an ideal location for marine related businesses and leisure activities. Its close proximity to Portsmouth Naval Base also means that there are long established links to the Royal Navy and significant MoD and private sector defence related operations in Gosport too.
As a result it is home to a significant number of marine related businesses made up of local, regional, national and multinational firms, with the latter including UK HQs. There are also a large number of engineering and manufacturing SMEs that service marine supply chains, as well as other sectors such as aerospace and automotive.
The marine related businesses based in Gosport include:
- Crewsaver – a manufacturer of lifejackets and other safety equipment. Now part of the multinational Survitec Group, it was a supplier for sailing, triathlon and canoeing marker buoys to the London 2012 Olympics and supplies lifejackets for the Alex Thomson Racing Team on Hugo Boss and the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Team that won the 2014/15 Volvo Ocean Race. It is also Artemis Racing’s Offical Safety Supplier for the 35th America’s Cup.
- Fluid Fabrications – undertakes stainless steel fabrication for the marine industry, including superyachts and secured Bridging the Gap grant funding worth tens of thousands of pounds to spin out sister company Fluid Profiling. Its ‘state of the art’ waterjet cutting shop is now being used by not just marine sector companies but also those from aerospace, automotive and other precision engineering sectors.
- Harding – Norwegian owned global market leader in marine life saving systems and offers the largest worldwide service network in the industry, with its UK base in Gosport.
- Kemp Sails – a family run sail making company selected as one of the three marine industry champions for the government backed ‘Make it in Great Britain’ campaign.
- Marina Projects – a specialist marina consultancy with clients worldwide and an office in Hong Kong to support its Asia Pacific operations.
- North Sails – the world’s leader in making sails for one-design and Olympic classes and it also manufactures more cruising sails than any sailmaker in the world. Its sails are used by Volvo Ocean Race teams and America’s Cup defenders and challengers. It has operations in 29 countries with its UK HQ in Gosport
- QinetiQ – a world leading defence technology and security company based at Haslar Marine Technology Park. Its facilities in Gosport include Europe’s largest ocean basin, the size of 16 Olympic swimming pools, where scale models of the new UK aircraft carriers Queen Elizabeth II and Prince of Wales have undergone trials to ensure their stability and handling.
- Selden Masts – is the UK production operation of the Seldén Group – the world’s leading manufacturer of masts, spars and rigging systems in carbon and aluminium for dinghies, keelboats and yachts.
The Marine Profile for South Hampshire and the Isle of Wight provides more information on the Solent region’s marine sector capabilities and the Transforming Solent Marine and Maritime Supplement outlines how the Solent region can continue to be a “globally recognised marine and maritime centre of excellence.”
In response to the large concentration of leisure marine firms, particularly those relating to recreational and small vessels, based on the Gosport peninsula a business-led membership based network has been established to support and promote their presence.
Gosport Marine Scene is a not-for-profit organisation that stages regular networking events and delivers initiatives relating to its priorities of:
- stimulating business to business trade, particularly within the Gosport cluster and consumer to business trade i.e. resident and visitor sailors using local companies, facilities, services and amenities
- promoting marine related careers and employment to Gosport residents, especially young people
- giving residents a taste of the waterside of Gosport i.e. its sailing and watersports leisure offer
Initiatives being delivered include:
- regular networking events for marine businesses, plus their supply chains and key stakeholders for the sector
- a directory of marine services businesses operating in Gosport via its website.
- representing the local marine sector at the annual Gosport Business and Employment Fair and school STEM Fairs
- delivering the Gosport Marine Futures programme (which Gosport Borough Council part sponsors) to introduce local 14-17 year olds to sailing and marine related careers
- staging the Gosport Marine Festival (previously known as Go Watersport) to provide taster sailing experiences and demonstration sailing by experts
- staging the Gosport Boat Jumble for new and second hand marine parts at Haslar Marina
- introducing Ben Ainslie Racing to the significant local supply chain opportunities in Gosport
It also provides an ideal opportunity for any marine company locating to Gosport to get an introduction to the local marine cluster and its supporting facilities and services.
Gosport’s marine infrastructure and facilities
The supporting infrastructure and facilities that are available to existing marine related businesses and encourage others to locate to Gosport include the R&D facilities and premises options at Haslar Marine Technology Park; boat lifting facilities at Endeavour Quay; diving facilities at Blockhouse; and slipways such as the one at Daedalus.
This 200ha ex-military site is located at Lee-on-the-Solent and includes an operational airfield. The Enterprise Zone, covering 82ha, focuses on advanced manufacturing within the marine, aerospace and aviation sectors and offers significant financial incentives to occupiers, including grants up to £500,000 and business rates discounts potentially worth up to £275,000.
The Waterfront development area at the south of the site has a marine slipway and its waterside location overlooking Southampton Water and the Isle of Wight makes this part of the Enterprise Zone attractive to marine businesses.
Haslar Marine Technology Park
This key research and development employment site located on the Haslar Peninsula was formerly owned by the Ministry of Defence and consists of a number of high tech and specialist engineering businesses. A variety of accommodation is available to rent ranging from large open plan offices to rooms suitable for one-person plus R&D, manufacturing and warehouse space all contained within a secure site.
Qinetiq, the main occupier of the site, is a science and technology company formed from the major part of DERA, the Government’s elite defence research and development organisation. Its state of the art Maritime Test Facilities include Europe’s largest Ocean Basin (122m x 61m x 5.5m), which can be used to test the manoeuvrability of submarines and a towing tank (270m x 12 x 5.5m) that can evaluate the hydrodynamic performance of ships.
The former Camper Nicolson specialist facilities offer Gosport’s largest boatyard capacity providing comprehensive new build, refit, storage, maintenance and repair facilities and services for sailing yachts and power craft up to 40 metres LOA or 180 tonnes. The facilities include:
- 3 large fully serviced boat sheds totalling 2,000 sqm undercover and 3,000 sqm of secure outside storage space
- 180 tonne boat hoist
- Deep water access at all stages of the tide.
- travel lift and mast crane
- workshop and office premises for lease
There are three marinas in Gosport offering over 1,400 berths and sustaining micro-clusters in boat building/repair, race teams and organisers and support services:
This infrastructure and facilities has also attracted a number of high profile race teams and organisers, including:
For details of local businesses supporting the marine leisure sector see Gosport Marine Scene’s Marine Services Directory.
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