Press Information

Get in touch with the Marketing Team: Jane Hudson-Oldroyd or Laura Harris Tel 01283 701041 – Email

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Issued: 2nd January 2018

Exciting times are ahead for Derbyshire based boat builder Aqua Narrowboats who have gained planning permission to build a 7500sqft purpose built factory in Foston, Derbyshire. The facility, which will include a 40 tonne crane and boat testing tank, will enable the business to increase production to allow them to build two new boats at a time, which will include both narrowboats and widebeam boats.

The company, who have been based at Mercia Marina for 9 years, have seen steady growth since establishing in 2004.

As part of the development a dedicated reception and showroom will be built. This will provide much needed space for their boat build customers as well as customers of their newly launched Aqua Furnishings business. This side of the business supplies and retails seating, blinds and soft furnishings for new and existing boat owners, and has also seen steady growth since launching in early 2017.

The increase in production and growth means that Aqua Narrowboats will be recruiting additional skilled craft people to keep up with demand.  They will also be taking on new Apprentices to increase young talent and skills that the boat building industry is currently lacking.

As part of the expansion the company will also be relocating their luxury hire boats to Barton Turns Marina, on the Trent & Mersey Canal in Staffordshire. This move will allow hirers quicker access onto the main canal network at Fradley Junction, gaining them an additional days cruising on a holiday.

Justin Hudson-Oldroyd, Managing Director said
“This is a fantastic opportunity for us, and the whole team are keen to move in so that we can continue to be progressive and innovate the inland boating building industry.

We have enjoyed our time at Mercia Marina but we out grew the premises a number of years ago and have been unable to expand at the site.

Our new development which we move into in September 2018, will provide us with much needed space allowing us to increase production and productivity.

The factory will also provide a showroom and reception allowing us to create a better experience for both our Boat Build and Aqua Furnishings customers, something that we have aspired to for a number of years.

We are also thrilled to be moving the luxury hire fleet to Barton Turns Marina, another prestigious Marina with the same feel as Mercia. We will still be providing the same high level of service we have always done but the marinas position, closer to the heart of the canal network, will enable our customers much quicker access to Fradley Junction whilst still retaining our position on the Leicester Ring.”

Editors Notes


Aqua Narrowboats was established in 2004 with one hire boat fitted out by Justin and Jane Hudson-Oldroyd. The boat operated from Kings Bromley Marina and proved very popular. Another self-built boat was added in 2006 and the business continued to expand.

In 2008 a 10 year lease was obtained for the workshop at the newly built Mercia Marina and the hire boats were moved  down from Kings Bromley.  A Carpenter and Marine Engineer were taken on to expand the business into bespoke boat building and marine repairs.  Throughout the recession the business has seen steady growth and now employs a total of 13 staff.


Plans for the development can be found on the South Derbyshire Planning Portal – direct link to documents can be found here

There are currently no plans to start building steel boat shells – these will continue to be outsourced from reputable shell builders.

Marine Engineering Work will cease at the end of 2017, other than work already booked in.

The Factory will be occupied from late September 2018 and the premises at Mercia Marina vacated in October 2018. The hire boats will be moved across to Barton Turns in January 2018 ready for the start of the season in March.

The new development will be freehold and owned entirely by Aqua Narrowboats.

 Issued: 5th July 2017

Aqua Furnishings was successfully launched at Crick Boat Show 2017 and proved very popular with the canal boat community. The company has been established by boat builder Aqua Narrowboats who have developed years of narrowboat interior experience and supply contacts. They have developed a range of smart solutions for small spaces such as roman and venetian blinds that are flush to the walls, all in a range of over 120 fabrics. Customers can then match stunning porthole cushion liners and scatter cushions with the same fabrics. Furthermore galley inventory can also be matched to create a truly stunning interior style and design.

Narrowboat furniture is always difficult to find due to the limited space in a canal boat. However, Aqua Furnishings have found 3 luxury reclining chairs, petite enough to fit in your canal boat whilst still offering reclining and swivel features. These items of furniture proved most popular at the show, many customers trying out the new chairs and feedback was very positive.

The furniture store aims to be a one stop shop for people buying a new or used boat. It aims to help boaters turn their dream boat into a stylish and beautiful interior space. We have established links with boat builders, marinas and brokerages, so Aqua furnishings can deliver to marinas across the midlands or to your boat builder. You can even book a visit with a sales consultant who will visit you at your boat and show you the range of fabrics and products we have to offer and help you measure.

To find out more Tel 01283 701041, or email or visit

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