Our MD, Emma Pullen, spoke last week at the launch of 'Women for Britain' - her is the transcript of her speech.

added by Emma on March 14, 2016 at 08:13

Emma spoke at the Launch of Women for Britain last week - alongside fellow businesswoman Paulette Furse, MP's and politcal fihures such as Priti Patel, Anne-Marie Trevalyn and Suzanne Evans.

Below is a transcript of her speech which was met by a standing ovation and a most complimentary article in the Daily Mail by Quentin Letts. The speech has since been reproduced in the Daily Express. Read on to understand why we at The British Hovercraft Company have given our support to a 'Brexit' so that we can better trade within a wider export market that EU laws currently make so difficult.

 

March 8th 2016.

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen, My Name is Emma Pullen, I'm a businesswoman operating a small manufacturing business in Kent and I want the UK to vote leave on June the 23rd.

Being asked to speak here today is no trial to me, as I'm passionately excited about this huge opportunity we have in Britain to take back control of our country, take our place on the world stage and build a bright future for British businesses to flourish outside of the EU.

So a little about me. I’m 36 years old, married with an 8 year-old daughter and live in the political hotspot of Thanet. I love my business and I find it utterly rewarding. I'm proud of what I do and I feel a huge responsibility knowing that 15 staff members are relying on me to find their wages each month. As a friend once said to me “Payday is a lot less exciting when you're the one doing the paying” but I wouldn't have it any other way – in fact after 5 years of working for myself, I think it's likely that I'm completely unemployable!

My business is a small manufacturing company, operating from a rented factory on a wartime industrial estate. Our draughty unit isn't a glamorous looking building, but it's big and it's cheap - and interesting things get built inside it!

80% of our production is export, but almost none of it goes to EU countries – partly because nobody seems to have any money but also because our product falls foul of an EU Directive. Whilst not actually banned, it makes selling and using them within the EU somewhat difficult and as a result, customers opt to spend their money elsewhere. 

So – what do we make in this big old factory that so offends the EU rule makers?

Well, the clue is that my factory is just a mile from the remains of the Pegwell Bay hoverport and my business is called The British Hovercraft Company!

Yes, I build hovercraft!

But not the cross channel hovercraft that once plied their trade to Calais. These are more modest craft used for recreational and commercial purposes such as survey work in tidal estuaries, super-cool tenders for luxury yachts and ice-rescue on frozen rivers.

It's certainly a niche market and a quintessentially British invention - it's creator a Norfolk broads boat builder called Sir Christopher Cockrell and I genuinely get a kick from the fact that in some small way we continue the tradition of this remarkable 1950's Boffin.  Our company name is one of the best decisions we ever made. I've been told by several foreign clients that the word British in the title says to them “Quality, Reliability and Trust' British engineering is admired around the world and that word – 'British' has played its part in establishing us as the world's leading small hovercraft company

By my company doesn't need the EU, in fact we would be much better off without it. For us to be free to fulfil our full potential, we need trade deals with countries that matter.  Wealthy countries, countries with growing economies, emerging nations & our friends in the commonwealth – we lose so many sales to these countries because the EU has failed to negotiate a suitable trade deal. Let me give you one recent example which is fresh in my mind from late last year.

An enquiry from a wealthy Brazilian businessman who wished to order 5 small hovercraft from us for a proposed driving activity centre in Sao Paulo. Purchase price, £50,000 – duty cost in Brazil £42,000. That’s an 80% duty! Needless to say, the deal didn't go ahead and there's been plenty of similar outcomes dealing with other non ‘EU approved’ nations.

Britain is not allowed to make it's own trade deals, and this prevents us from selling our products, bringing money into the UK, growing the business and employing more staff.

Ignore the scaremongering coming from the 'Remain' camp.  This is an incredible opportunity for UK business. One that we, of all nations can exploit to thrive in a fast-changing global marketplace. We can do this! We have the world's 5th largest economy, and we're the 11th biggest manufacturing nation on the planet. Britain supplies products & services that are in demand all around the world – we must make it cheaper and more straightforward for our trading partners to deal with us. 

But you know, there's other reasons aside from my business that move me to stand here today.

I've watched horrified at the mishandling of the Migrant crisis by the EU, seen the misery, economic damage & discord it has caused between the nations of Europe. I've watched it lead to the surge in support for far-right political parties in countries such as France, Greece and Finland.  I'll be honest – it scares me and I fear that the demands made of this country by the EU could eventually see similar parties gain momentum here in Britain.

It frustrates me to see the EU waste such vast sums of our money on ridiculous laws and directives, vanity projects and mind-boggling corruption. Every year we send billions of pounds to an organisation which hasn't been audited in over 20 years!  I'm absolutely at a loss to understand how the IN campaign can live with themselves in defending this. Let's save our money and spend it on hospitals, schools and the most vulnerable in society who have every right to expect help from their own country.  

The EU makes our laws, takes our money and does so with no accountability to the British Public. This is what we have our own MP's for - and if they get it wrong, we can kick them out after 4 years! We've done pretty well on our own since the Romans went home and we've written the democratic blueprint for much of the modern world. How dare Brussels steal that democracy away from us? British MEP's are powerless to influence the myriad of laws that issue forth from Brussels – they are defeated and outvoted over 86% of the time.

The Common Market was a great idea and if it had remained simply as a free market, I wouldn't be here today. But this power creep, this erosion of our democracy and sovereignty isn't what we signed up for.

Let me end by telling you why my heart as well as my head wants to leave the EU.

I'm extremely proud of my late father. He fought at Tobruk in 1941. He wasn't a hero, he was just a lad from Chatham who  knew what had to be done and got on with it in that stolid way his generation did. As a 20 year old Tommy, I doubt he ever even considered it, but he was fighting for #British Sovereignty and freedom. He suffered a lifetime of illness for that cause; many more paid the ultimate price on our behalf. I will never forget that and I see it as a dishonour to The Greatest Generation that everything they fought for is being eroded by our EU membership.

The British showed the world what we're made of in 1940, I believe that fire still beats in our hearts and I pray that June the 23rd will be the day when Britain once again becomes Great Britain!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hovercraft Engines - Briggs & Stratton Vanguard, Kohler, Subaru, Honda?

added by Emma on February 17, 2016 at 07:36

Briggs & Stratton Vanguard Engines are superb for our application! We've used well over 1500 of the 22,23,31,33 & (mostly) the 35bhp engines in both big and small block sizes. They're very reliable, air-cooled, economical, relatively light and well priced. Honestly cannot complain about them at all. We ndertake extensive modifications to them including full marinisation and removal of internal and external governor components. Video HERE if you're interested!

But of course, when we came across the Subaru range of commercial engines we were interested and decided to look into it, after all - Subaru's a pretty sexy name and I still miss my Impreza Sti which the wife forced me to sell (but that's another story!) so the idea of as Scooby powered hovercraft was irresistable.

In the end, we imported a 40bhp Subaru motor from the USA as they're not available in the UK. This was fitted to the first of the 'beasts' we supplied to The Clarkson, Hammond & May Live Show which Jeremy used to open the show in. We were certainly the first manufacturer to fit these engines, as we were the Big-Block Vanguard. We're always open to try new products! Since then, we've built another two which has been interesting but how does it perform?

Quite well actually. It's a bit lighter then the Vanguard 35bhp and slightly more powerful. maybe not quite as smooth in the mid-range and it does cost more of course, but overall the craft does gain a performance advantage - all things being equal. It feels slightly more maneovrable and in tests, seemed to be around two seconds quicker to 30 knots than the equivalent Vanguard and feels pretty lively. It doesn't of course, equal the performance of our 50bhp 'Rampage' version of the Vanguard which is a real step up in performance! The 28bhp fuel injected engine - which we'd hoped would be an alternative for the smaller 'Snapper' hovercraft... Hmmm, less ure as it's pretty big (as big as the 40bhp motor) due to the wide 'V' layourt of the twin cylinder engine. Fan data seems to suggest that it's not quite the full ticket in bhp terms either. We'll keep playing with it and report back in due course.

 

We've previously looked at the Kohler 40bhp motor which turned out to be less powerful than the 35bhp Vanguard, more expensive and heavier too. The Honda is a lovely engine but they don't make anything bigger than 25bhp. Kawasaki do a superb looking 37bhp engine - but it's only available as a vertical shaft, no use at all! And we steer away from water cooled engines for their weight, complexity and space requirements. Small hovercraft love air-cooled engines!

So - for now we're making the Subaru available as an upgrade option. It costs considerably more for us to buy, import and fit them, but it's genuinely a really nice engine with a great brand name. As standard, all British Hovercraft Company hovercraft will remain fitted with the frankly-still-awsome Briggs Vanguard engine.

 

 

 

 

Businesses, Charities & Rescue Organisations - book your demo on the "Why Not a Hovercraft?" Tour!

added by Emma on February 11, 2016 at 12:55

Used Coastal-Pro hovercraft for sale - be quick and save over £5,000 on new price - rare opportunity.

added by Emma on February 4, 2016 at 09:49

Buying a Hovercraft - Our 'Top-Ten' tips to avoid a costly mistake!

added by russ on February 3, 2016 at 11:15

Our Top Ten Tips for hovercraft buyers!

AND HOW TO AVOID THE RIPOFF MERCHANTS!

1.If you don’t know anything about them, do your research into hovercraft in general. Be sure about what they should be able to do, whether a hovercraft is what you want, how they work and join your local club. Hovercrafting is still a small (but growing) community and you can gather some very useful information and feedback.

2.Do not pay for a hovercraft if you can’t actually see a real one exists – especially do NOT pay a deposit on a hovercraft which is only available in CGI form!

3  Is the supplier a member of the HMA? Hovercraft Club? Chamber of Commerce? BMI?

4.See it in action, preferably drive it, and ask to see its capabilities – as described – demonstrated. Drive more than one model before making any decisions.

5.Ask to see videos of other – identical - craft in varied conditions (water, land, mud, one up/two up etc) and look online on Youtube specifically for the make you’re considering  – do you have plenty of confidence that WYSIWYG?

6.Does it come with a service manual, warranty, training and registration?

7.Does the manufacturer offer a Money Back Guarantee if the product doesn’t measure up to the  sales hype?

8.Does the manufacturer have agents and dealers? This is a good sign that they are established and serious.

9.Can you obtain references from dealers/customers?

10. Ask to see photos of the build as it happens, or visit the factory. Small hovercraft should be easily completed within 4-6 weeks – any longer should make you nervous if there's not a good reason!

Good luck with your purchase – just be careful with your money!

John Sturgeon, the moose-hunting hovercraft pilot - and UK Law!

added by russ on January 20, 2016 at 10:22

Over in America, specifically Alaska, a chap by the name of John Sturgeon is currently in the Supreme Court standing up for his right to use a small hovercraft to hunt moose in a national park. Back in 2007, John’s noisy old-fashioned and unreliable 1991 ‘Scat’ hovercraft broke down on his way to a moose hunting expedition. He was accosted by park rangers who told him he could not use his hovercraft in the national park and eventually had to remove it on a boat as, even when mended the Park Rangers would not allow him to drive the hovercraft out again! They were, according to John “real jerks!” But, it turned out they'd picked on the wrong man! To cut a long story short John has taken his case all the way to the Supreme Court. Now, whilst not pretending to understand American law it appears that John's case centres around federal law attempting to overrule state law and his right to navigate on rivers in national parks.

You can read more HERE

 

I'm watching this case with considerable interest and it would appear it has far-reaching consequences for hovercraft use in America. Here in the UK, over the years, there's been a few odd occasions where overzealous wardens have tried to prevent hovercraft owners exercising their right of navigation on tidal waters. This is usually done by stating that hovercraft cannot be used in the many environmentally protected areas around the coastline of the UK. In fact, pretty much every inch of UK coastline now has some type of environmental protection. Choose from SSSI, RAMSAR, SPA, AONB, LNR,NNR,MNR… To name but a few! The situation is confused further by the inevitable fact that there are protected areas designated by the EU present in the UK as well!

Of course protecting the environment is extremely important and in my experience the type of people who operate small hovercraft for recreational and pleasure purposes are not the type of people who set out to cause problems act irresponsibly or cause distress to animals, plants or Park Rangers. Occasionally however, you meet the type of warden who would prevent anybody from doing anything within "his area" and goes well beyond his given powers in trying to prevent anything he may perceive as threatening unwelcome or illegal. The most commonly cited reason for an objection to a hovercraft is that it may disturb birds feeding on the waterline. This is easily countered by observing an ‘offset’ of 100 m, something which we advise all our owners to do. But you can no more blame a hovercraft for scaring birds then you can blame a car for exceeding 70 miles an hour. Like all these things common sense needs to be applied on both sides.

Just to re-cap, hovercraft do not poison the water with exhaust fumes like boats do. They have no propeller water which means animal strikes are impossible and there is no underwater disturbance to damage the seabed or plant life. At anything over 8 knots, there is no wash meaning riverbanks are not washed away. They use a fraction of the amount of fuel of an equivalent sized boat which must be a good thing for both the owner and the environment! There’s no powered marine vessel which is more environmentally sound. Why then do they get such a bad rap? I believe it is because some hovercraft were/are noisy and this is a very obvious downside compared to the discrete poisoning of the water which boats are guilty of. Our own craft have slow fans, good exhausts, low powered engines and clever engineering which keeps noise down to very acceptable levels but to some their preconceptions will not be overcome.

Confronted by an intransigent council, warden or Harbour Master is there any defence? Well yes! Fortunately, getting on for 1000 years ago, King John signed the Magna Carta. This granted us all a right of navigation on tidal waters around the UK which persists today. You cannot use a bylaw to remove a common law right which brings us neatly onto Langstone Harbour which has a bylaw preventing the operation of hydrofoils, jet skis, skiing, seaplanes and hovercraft amongst other things. I often wonder if I should visit Langstone Harbour by hovercraft observing the speed limit and sticking to the Channel to see what would happen, as the Harbour Master has certainly prevented operation of hovercraft previously. This would make for a very interesting test case with the same far-reaching consequences that John Sturgeon’s case in the US may have across the pond. Whilst advocating responsible operation of hovercraft, and being somebody who would much rather avoid feeding the lawyers, in this case it is clear the Harbour Master has no intention of seeing reason. To prevent this type of behaviour in other locations it may be that some “direct action” may be required to prevent other authorities acting in a manner which they are unaware is illegal and beyond they given powers

However, we have never heard of any incidents where hovercraft have damaged the environment, owners have been charged or prosecuted or operators refused the right to launch (other than good old Langstone Harbour of course!) But sometimes a little education is necessary. Given the increasing numbers of small hovercraft regularly used every weekend throughout the country this is a testament to the responsible behaviour and low noise levels of modern hovercraft. One of the things I love about hovercraft is that they aren’t well-known or understood by the many and I enjoy educating people who go on to become lifelong hovercraft enthusiasts. However, I will fight to the very end to protect our rights and as I said above it would be better if situations such as that in the US were avoided. We work towards the day when there is  was an acceptance that hovercraft do not represent any type of a threat to the environment through which they travel.

 In the meantime good luck John, stick it to ‘em on behalf of the little guy!

HCGB - 50th Anniversary Crusing Festival July 2016

added by russ on January 11, 2016 at 07:23

This summer, from the 16th to the 25th of July, the Hovercraft Club pf Great Britain will be celebrating it's 50th anniversary with a program of cruising events held on the Swale and the Rivers Medway and Thames. Based at the Chatham Historic Dockyard, the event will start with simple local trips and get more challenging over the week culminating in a cruise through central London!

The plan is to make best use of the different times of the tides each day but will need some flexibilty depending on the weather and what attendees want to do. The theme of our 50th Anniversary is to celebrate many of the different things the HCGB has done over the years. Way back in 1974 there was a cruising week on the shores of Loch Lubnaig in Scotland. In the 1970s there was racing and cruising many times on the River Thames in Central London. The tidal estuary of the River Medway has been a regular weekend cruising outing since the 1980s and today hovercraft continue to explore it most weekends. You can drop in and out as much as you like over the course of the event and charges are minimal, simply to cover site fees.

There's a website now up with a provisional program - click HERE to visit the page, and by all means contact us here at The British Hovercraft Company as we're helping out with the organisation of some parts of the event. http://www.whc2016.com

My cruise through central London in a Marlin video HERE

Hovercraft must meet some minimum standards for the event such as buoyancy, noise and safety.

Hope to see you there!

 

The Hovercraft Code of Practice is now law! CoP24.

added by russ on December 9, 2015 at 12:08

Great news received from the MCA today. The Hovercraft Code of Practice is now formally adopted and has been given the catchy title of CoP23. To us it remains the 'hovercraft code.' You can download it from the MCA website HERE

This 100 page document has been prepared over three years between the British Hovercraft Company, Griffon Hoverwork, the Hovercraft Manufacturers Association, Lloyds, the MCA and other contributors such as The Hovercraft Museum and The Hovercraft Club of Great Britain.

It really does change everyhting, small hovercraft can now be coded for commercial operations using clear, industry lead standards and methods. The first part of the hovercraft code explains what catagories hovercraft go into for each role - be it commercial hovercraft, rescue hovercraft, recreational hovercraft craft or even racing and 'days out' stag and hen driving experiences! It's all in there and clarifies exactly how hovercraft operators can get their hovercraft coded for commercial operations.

So, after three years work, and dozens of meetings and hundreds of hours of work behind the scenes, today has seen all the hard work come good. It opens the way for small hovercraft to really show their potential and step up for intertidal work such as survey, crew transfer, sampling, security and anything else where fast, safe intertidal transport is required.

We do now provide this service - hovercraft hire - through our subsidiary Coastal Transit Services www.coastaltransit.services

If you have any questions on the code, please don't hesitate to contact us!

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-hovercraft-code-of-practice-cop-23

Hovercraft, The Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) & CE Marks

added by russ on November 3, 2015 at 10:25

We often get asked whether our hovercraft are 'CE' marked or not – the answer isn't quite straightforward, read on to find out.

Background

In the EU, marine vessels sold new by a manufacturer for recreational or pleasure purposes have to conform with Directive 94/25/EC, known as the Recreational Craft Directive, or RCD. This directive sets out the minimum technical and environmental standards for marine vehicles between 2.5m and 24m, ensuring they are 'suitable' for sale within the EU. The RCD was amended in 2003 by Directive 2003/44/EC which brought personal watercraft (ie Jet bikes/Jet skis) into the RCD. The directive also includes marine engines and some components. From January 2016, a new Directive, 2013/53/EU, replaces the current legislation but is basically the same and is aimed at reducing emissions.

 Exclusions

 Below is a list of vessels excluded from the RCD (taken from the RCD text.)

 craft intended solely for racing, including rowing racing boats and training rowing boats labelled as such by the manufacturer; or

 canoe and kayak, gondola or pedalo; or

 sailing surfboard; or

 powered surfboard or other similar powered craft

 original, and individual replica of a historical craft designed before 1950, built predominantly with the original materials and labelled as such by the manufacturer; or

 experimental craft, provided it is not subsequently placed on the Community market; or

 craft built for own use, provided it is not subsequently placed on the Community market during a period of five years; or

 craft specifically intended to be crewed and to carry passengers for commercial purposes, regardless of the number of passengers or

 submersible; or

 air cushion vehicle; or

 hydrofoil.

See it down there second from the bottom? Hovercraft are air-cushion vehicles (ACV.) So, in short – neither we, nor any other manufacturer can CE mark our hovercraft under the RCD, as ACV's are not eligible. Having checked the forthcoming legislation, we can confirm that they remain excluded from the new 2013/53/EU directive as well.

 Options

Two years back, BHC approached the European authorities and opened a dialogue aimed at either including ACV's or allowing us to voluntarily claim compliance and plate our craft accordingly. However, the ACV market is too small to interest Europe and we were refused. So, we looked into other directives, the only one of which seemed at all relevant was the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. Again, following extensive discussions, the answer was a 'no.'

We lobbied the EU to include ACV's in the new legislation due to the growing market – but as stated above, ACV's remain excluded.

 So where does that leave us?

A number of boat builders have told us that we're lucky that we do not have to comply with the RCD and the inevitable administration that goes with it. However, our ambition for the hovercraft industry is such that we're looking at the big picture and the long term growth of both the industry and our own business. We've certainly lost a few sales over the years due to the fact we cannot claim compliance with the RCD, but generally this has been due to the misunderstanding that the craft should be compliant.

However, with very few exceptions, and in all the main areas of safety, our craft do comply with the standards of the RCD. The only area we may struggle is with the stipulated noise levels, marginal on the Snapper & Marlin but the Coastal-Pro is comfortably within limits.

So what's that CE plate I see on the dashboard then? 

Although – as established – we cannot claim compliance with the RCD, ACV's do still need to comply with the standards of the Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive 2004/108/EC. This directive basically confirms that a product sold within the EU is not causing excessive electromagnetic interference, nor is effected by the same. So, back in 2013, we put our craft through the necessary tests and compiled a conformance file. Following a meeting with Kent Trading Standards, we started to affix a compliance plate to all our craft.

Are BHC craft built to a standard? 

Of course! Back in 2012, we approached the MCA to introduce a set of standards for small hovercraft. Initially rebuffed, we eventually got our way, and together with Griffon Hoverwork of Southampton, we established a manufacturers association and got the MCA to the table to start work on the 'Hovercraft Code of Practice.' Three years, many hours, miles and meetings later and the code is due to be introduced anytime soon (it's currently going through public consultation) and sets out standards for small craft up to 24m in length. It's our fervent hope that the legislation will be adopted by other countries in due course.

All our craft are built to the standards of the HcoP and marked accordingly alongside the conformity statement for 2004/108/EC and this – in truth – is a more relevant build standard than the generic RCD could hope to provide. 

Conclusion

Hopefully, this document will explain what is possible, why hovercraft cannot be CE Marked, what standards BHC craft meet and what we've done to establish the build quality of our products.To the best of our knowledge, BHC manufacture the only hovercraft that conform to any formal standards - at least nobody else claims compliance with the HcoP or 2004/108/EC. We were the company that started the ball rolling to introduce the HcoP, we've discussed voluntary inclusion into the RCD , explored options and as such, we believe our products conform with all existing legislation and exceed the industry standards of the HcoP. 

If you need to know more, do please call us.

Sample Plate

 

 

Full Spec Formula Two Racing hovercraft for sale!

added by russ on October 12, 2015 at 06:51

So basically, I've realised tearing round a field at 70mph in a Formula 2 is a young mans game!

So - in a departure from the products normally offered by The British Hovercraft Company, I'm going to sell my F2 Cobra Racing Hovercraft to somebody younger, fitter and slightly more insane than me. It's an awesome bit of kit, built to race in national, european and world championship hovercraft meetings. However, that not to say that it can't be used as a 'toy' for simply belting round grassy fields and ponds/lakes. What it's *NOT* is suitable for cruising in an uncontrolled environment such as rivers/the sea or salt water. This is a 'freshwater special' - not a recreational craft like a Marlin etc.

Hovercraft racing is fast and furious - this F2 is capable of competing right at the front of the grid and is not for the feint-hearted! The Cobra is a proven and competitive craft which has won the European championship in the hands of Frank Craemers.

It was built from a new BHC hull and raced once in 2014 - it's a GRP hull, reinforced with Kevlar floor and Nidaplast core, very strong but lightweight.

Lift engine is a hugely expensive Simonini Mini 2 Evo paramotor engine (over £3k new) producing 20bhp at 5500rpm. Brand new when fitted to the previous craft in 2013, less than 20 hours from new.  Electric start and spares.
Thrust engine is a top spec 2009 Rotax 453, 440cc producing 110bhp. Removed from snowmobile last year and just one meeting since then. Very good condition, good compression, new gaskets fitted before install.
9 Bladed Multiwing direct drive lift fan
6 Bladed 5z thrust fan in 12 bladed hub.

Skirt is brand new with spares included.  Some spares included.
Comes HCGB registered with log book.

Needs a little work to finish. Steering needs hooking up, rad needs plumbing in and thrust engine will need final alignment. If I get time toi finish it off, price will go up accordingly, so grab a bargain!

Rediculously fast toy, all the right bits ready to compete at the front of the Formula 2 grid at UK, European events and in next years world championships. Alternatively, great toy for playing in a field/pond/lake! NOT for use at sea, or in any 'uncontrolled' environment - this is a bespoke race craft, not a marine vehicle. It is not salt-water ready!

For more details contact me on 01304 619820 or mail russ@britishhovercraft.com

 

 

 

 

 


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