25 Nov 2015
By NautiBuoy Marine Ltd

A fledgling Devon firm has won an international award after successfully exporting its unique multi-functional floating platforms to Southern Europe.

Dartington based NautiBuoy Marine won the Deck Hardware category of DAME – the leading design competition for new marine equipment and accessories. The three-strong NautiBuoy team beat a number of large, established firms to clinch the prize.

The four year old firm is successfully marketing its platforms to yacht owners, after conducting simulations at Plymouth University.

The University’s COAST laboratory provides physical model testing with combined waves and current generation. Used by businesses and academics, the facility recreates ocean conditions, including short and long-crested waves and allows researchers to study sediment dynamics, tidal effects and wind and wave interaction.

The tests demonstrated the platform was stable and performed well. Having spent the summer marketing their products in France, Italy and Spain they are now planning their marketing activities for summer 2016.

Business owners Nina Anderson and Clay Builder were introduced to the facility by the Marine Innovation Centre (MARIC), which was set up with support from the European Regional Development Fund. MARIC works with inventors, entrepreneurs, new and existing marine businesses, giving them access to expertise, facilities, networks and funding. MARIC aims to make the South West’s marine and maritime businesses globally competitive.

Clay Builder said:

“The testing at Plymouth University exceeded our expectations and was a fantastic investment. It would have taken us months to carry out this testing in the ocean, so it has saved us time and money and we’ve been able to get our products out there much more quickly.

“Whenever I describe our platforms to a potential customer, the testing at Plymouth University is one of the first things I mention. It reassures people to know that it’s been tested in a scientific environment. Our marketing is dependent on the product being stable and durable, so it’s been invaluable.”
Clay and Nina came up with the idea of a stable leisure platform when they were working together on a motor yacht in the Mediterranean. Nina’s experience as a Chief Stewardess and Clay’s role as an Officer meant they recognised the need for a multi-functional inflatable platform that yachts could always have easy access to and easily stow on board. Available in four sizes, the platforms can be used for guests to relax, or as a space for crew members to work.

NautiBuoy Marine is one of a growing number of South West marine businesses to benefit from working with MARIC through GAIN (the Growth, Acceleration and Investment Network), which connects Plymouth University with businesses.

Head of GAIN Adrian Dawson said:

“This really innovative firm has achieved a huge amount in just four years. It is great to know that the advice from our Marine Innovation Centre, and the subsequent testing in our unique laboratories, enabled NautiBuoy Marine to get its product to market more quickly.”
Clay Builder will give a presentation on NautiBuoy Marine to Plymouth University’s Navigation and Maritime Science students on 2 December.

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