Boat business goes ‘green’ as it booms

A thriving boat business on the holiday island of Anglesey has gone ‘green’ by using waste oil to warm its workers.

In winter engineers at Dulas Boat and Caravan near Amlwch keep out the cold and save the planet with heating generated by the waste oil drained from the powerful outboard engines they service.

It’s just the latest innovation from the company which saw being landlocked almost five miles from the sea as no barrier to success in the highly competitive marine industry.

Now their impressive range of watercraft from seagoing kayaks to gleaming, state of the art motor cruisers with all the equipment to back them up from wetsuits to paddles.

The acquisition of a waste oil burning heater was helped by the Welsh Government’s Regional Centre Service which provides free advice and support to businesses.

According to the company, the free advice and support they’ve received from the Regional Centre Service has been crucial in helping them to double their turnover in recent years.

Dulas’s Business Support Manager is Richard Fraser-Williams, a sailor himself from childhood.

He has been impressed with the way father and son Alaw and Alwyn Rowlands have navigated their company through often choppy commercial waters.

He said: “I have dealt with Alwyn via various contracts over the last 10 years, and as well as buying bits for my boats from him I have referred him within the business support network for everything from workforce development, leadership and management programmes, through various IT advice programmes, to our Regional Environmental Management Advisor, Ffion Jones, for the waste oil burner, and all points in between.”

“Alwyn is always ready to try something and learn from it, and their success in business is borne out by the fact that they’ve doubled their turnover in recent years. We’re glad to have played a part in that through our advice and support.”

It’s a service that Dulas have drawn heavily on in recent years though the company dates back to 1972 when Alaw Rowlands bought the roadside petrol station on Amlwch Road at City Dulas in the north-east of Anglesey, near Moelfre.

Since then he and son Alwyn have developed a business that will get you out and about on the water on anything from a £349 kayak to a £95,000 motor cruiser – and just about everything else in between from fishing boats to inflatables.

Alwyn, 50, now runs the operation, which employs a total of seven, in partnership with his father. His working life started at Anglesey Aluminium where he was for 14 years though much of his spare time was spent in the family business.

He said: “I came here full time from 1982 because I wanted something different, I wanted to do something that I was responsible for rather than working for someone else until they gave me a gold clock.

“The boat business really took off when someone gave us five outboard motors on a sale or return basis and we shifted them in no time and we’ve just gone on from there.

“It has grown organically and as we have grown we have expanded the premises bit by bit.”

Shelves of nautical equipment line the sides of the two parallel rooms that are the main retail area before gleaming motorboats, sturdy kayaks and compact inflatables take up the remaining space in what is an Aladdin’s cave of boating.

His office is lined with the certificates of competence in dealing with the big names of boats and outboard motors, Yamaha, Evinrude, Orkney, Bayliner and Yamarin.

Alwyn takes the life on the ocean wave deadly seriously. He is a long time member of the Moelfre lifeboat crew and is very conscious of his responsibilities to his customers.

“You owe it to them to make sure they are safe when they buy from you,” he said: “And that applies whether it’s a little kayak or a big 33 foot Bayliner.”

Dulas’s customer list is also impressive with the company supplying boats and servicing for the Environment Agency, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, the Ministry of Defence and the RNLI as well as the Isle of Anglesey and Conwy County Councils.

But over 50 per cent of the business is with private customers, with people who just want to get out and about on the waters around Anglesey and he’s prepared to sell the delights of the open sea wherever he can – Dulas are annual exhibitors at the London Boat Show.

He said: “There has definitely been a big increase in the number of people out on the water, people often have more leisure time and before the recession more income and even now there is still huge interest in enjoying the sea around Anglesey.

“People may not be buying themselves the big new boats but they are buying little boats and kayaks and they are buying new engines and that’s very much the pattern we saw in the last recession in 1992.”

 “You can’t afford to try the old hard sell tactics, you need to show people the dream, life’s too short to be obsessed by work.”

 “It is very competitive but where we score is in the fact that we know what we’re talking about, we understand what we’re selling and we know how they work because we service them and provide that after-sales service as well.”

For more on Dulas Boats and caravans go to and for more on the service provided by the Welsh Government’s Regional Centre Service go to or

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