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Entrepeneur sees a market in boat cleaner

PUBLISHED: 06:10 03 February 2010 | UPDATED: 11:09 07 July 2010

An industrial chemist is hoping to tap into what he believes is a multi-million pound market in boat cleaning products created by the recession.

Jim Herculson, a former Commodore of Brancaster Sailing Club, believes more people want to clean their leisure boats and launches themselves as the recession has tightened purse strings.

An industrial chemist is hoping to tap into what he believes is a multi-million pound market in boat cleaning products created by the recession.

Jim Herculson, a former Commodore of Brancaster Sailing Club, believes more people want to clean their leisure boats and launches themselves as the recession has tightened purse strings.

He has launched Norwich-based Ensearch, a company offering environmentally friendly fibreglass and painted boat cleaning products, manufactured in Manchester, which he hopes will soon be selling in Florida and Canada as well as in the UK.

He said there are about 250,000 boats in the market place for the Ensearch cleaner in the UK and he hopes turnover for the firm will be £1.5m to £2m in two to three years tapping into that market.

In the four months after launching the new cleaners at a chandler on the north Norfolk coast and on stands at the Southampton Boat Show in September, sales increased by 350pc, said Mr Herculson, 63, from Brancaster.

On Thursday he signed up another stockist, taking the total to 14 stores in Norfolk, Suffolk, Southampton and Portsmouth and he has a distributor in Florida testing the cleaner in the hope of selling it to an estimated 1m boats based there.

Ensearch products are also due to be sold through one of the biggest mail order chandlers in the UK, Burnham on Crouch-based Mailspeed, said Mr Herculson, and he hopes to also launch a boat finishing product.

“During the recession people were spending several hundred pounds to have their boat cleaned when you could do it yourself for £40 to £50,” he said.

“It became obvious people could do it themselves.”

It is not such a big leap for Mr Herculson, whose family think is obsessive about boat cleaning.

In 1998, while he was working as a consultant for the resin and chemicals industry, he launched GR Proclean, also selling boat cleaning products but to professional cleaners.

It was turned into a franchise and has now become a website, Cleanthatboat.com, through which agents sell the products wholesale.

He had worked in resins and chemicals from the mid-1970s, working on industrial hygienic floors and coatings and chemicals.

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