A BUSINESS based in Skipton that operates boat trips and narrow boat hire on the Leeds- Liverpool Canal has been put on the market.

Skipton Boat Trips is to be sold by its current owner Nick Osborn, who now plans to retire. The business operates two wide-beam trip boats, one of which currently runs several scheduled trips per day, while the other is used for private chartered tours.

The vessels can take 56 and 50 passengers respectively and are equipped with on-board galleys for catering, bars, toilets and heating.

Skipton Boat Trips also owns two smaller narrow boats which it hires out by the day to people who prefer to sail themselves rather than take a tour. All four boats have been freshly repainted for the 2018 season.

Skipton Boat Trips has operated since the 1970s and was first acquired by the Osborn family in the early 1990s, when it was bought by the parents of the current owner.

They sold the business in 2000 and, when it came back on the market two years later, Nick Osborn, who at the time lived in London, purchased it and relocated his family to Skipton.

He said: “It’s a great lifestyle business. An interest in boats would obviously be an advantage for a new owner, but the boats are maintained by the staff so no expertise in marine engineering is required!

“The business is already doing very well but it also has plenty of scope to grow. For example, while our website does well in the search rankings there is undoubtedly potential to add functionality to increase web-based bookings and reach more customers through online marketing.

“We have close connections with many of the major coach companies and already have 300 coach parties booked in for 2018.

“They are a great source of repeat business and turn up rain or shine, so they make a big contribution to our profits.”

The business currently operates with six seasonal staff and comes with secure moorings for all four boats. It operates from a booking office on the quayside, which is included in the sale on a 15-year lease. In its most recent financial year the firm made a gross profit of £172,000 on turnover of £244,000.

All enquiries should be directed to Blacks Business Brokers, quoting reference 4849.