Sailing experts look to expand business with Keys To Success

DECADES of sailing experience is paying dividends for entrepreneur John Southcott.

The Hartlepool businessman who helps provide safety boats for the maritime industry is doing so well, he could take on more staff in the next year.

John Southcott.

John Southcott.

Now John, 59, and his son Gareth, 30, are also hoping their fast-flourishing business is good enough to win the Keys To Success competition.

The duo from town join an ever-increasing list of top-class firms which entered the competition run by the Hartlepool Mail in association with UK Steel Enterprise.

One of them will win the fantastic prize of office accommodation free for a year within the Hub Two building of Hartlepool Innovation Centre, on the Queens Meadow Business Park.

John and Gareth run the four-year-old firm North East Safety Boats. It provides rigid inflatable and inflatable boats for work in industries where a safety boat needs to be close by, such as work on bridges or wind farms.

North East Safety Boats began with one boat and now have five, all coded to industry standard.

It has supplied vessels for offshore work from Grimsby to the Clyde, as well as inshore work on canals and rivers from Birmingham to the Scottish Borders.

John said: “Hartlepool has a great maritime tradition, and North East Safety Boats wishes to add to that tradition by offering local people, national experience, and training to meet the requirements of the modern marine industry. The company is lookingt to offer employment and training to a possible further six individuals, and we are keen to link in, if possible, with local apprentice schemes to offer practical experience for those who wish to gain new skills.”

But despite its success, North East Safety Boats would benefit from having its own office.

John added: “With the uplift in work, and our desire to expand, we would find the use of office premises of immeasurable benefit to the company.

“We want to provide an environment that meets the clients needs for confidentiality, professionalism, and confidence in our product.”

For more details about Keys to Success, visit

Anyone wanting to put forward their business should send an entry to