Swathe Services is at the forefront of new developments in autonomous systems
1 | Feb | 2018
Swathe Services provides highly qualified survey personnel and equipment to marine engineers, contractors and surveyors around the world.
Established in 2004, the company is now based at Hayle Marine Renewables Business Park, part of the Cornwall Marine Enterprise Zone.
Offering a skilled team of survey personnel and state of the art survey equipment, the company can provide a complete ‘turn-key’ solution to its customers’ marine survey requirements. Swathe Services also offer sales and rental for some of the top survey equipment manufacturers across the globe.
The company has supported hydrographic surveys for a range of different clients, spanning the marine renewables industry, port authorities, government bodies, dredging companies, fisheries and operating in extreme environments such as the waters of the Canadian Arctic.
With a core team of five, the company is supported by highly qualified freelancers as required for specific projects.
At the forefront
New technology is now opening new opportunities for the business, as founder and Managing Director, James Williams explains:
“The future is about autonomous systems. Working in shallow or hazardous sea conditions has always been a challenge in our industry. But now, with the advent of autonomous survey vessels, it’s transforming the way this work is done. Swathe Services is at the forefront of these new developments.
“We have already designed and supplied autonomous vessels through our sister company Unmanned Survey Solutions and plan to significantly expand the range of equipment that we offer. We are now the UK and Ireland representative for Planck Aerosystems, a US company which has a next-generation system for launching and recovering airborne survey drones from vessels. This ground-breaking air and sea survey technology has massive potential right across the marine industry and is also attracting keen interest from maritime enforcement agencies.”
James is delighted that he made the decision to relocate to Hayle in Cornwall.
Expanding the business
He says: “Our business location works perfectly for us. Being in the Cornwall Marine Enterprise Zone means that we save money on business rates and we have been able to reinvest the saving in the business, which has been a huge benefit.
“We have exciting plans to grow the business and the industrial units at Hayle Renewables Business Park are ideal, as they give us plenty of scope to expand our operations at a reasonable cost, rather than having to move location. For example, there is a mezzanine floor which we can develop when the time comes that we need extra office space. We have enough growing room in our current location to last us at least ten years. We also have large vehicles to transport survey equipment around and there is plenty of space to park these at Hayle, which helps in the smooth running of our operation.
“Working in a marine environment and being surrounded by like-minded people at the Marine Enterprise Zone is another real plus point. You can network with some very talented and experienced people and enjoy an inspiring exchange of ideas. In fact, some important new business leads have come to us directly from our local marine contacts here at Hayle.
Embracing autonomous technology
“The quality of local skills in Cornwall is another important factor. In our particular field, there are a lot of students who come to the area to train in hydrographic surveying – for instance at Plymouth University, which is where I also qualified. When they graduate, many of them choose to stay in the South West area, so we can access the skills and expertise we need.
“The other big attraction for me is the quality of life in Cornwall - somewhere I had always wanted to live and work. A bonus is that Cornwall is also a big draw for many of our customers. We are happy to travel anywhere in the country to demonstrate our equipment, but some customers prefer to come to Cornwall to see us. So that’s another great help in building customer relationships.”
James concludes: “Our business is growing fast as we embrace the latest autonomous technology and we could not be in a better place than the Cornwall Marine Enterprise Zone to take advantage of its full potential.”
Photo credit: Swathe Services