Boat tours of the Skegness coast hoped to begin in July

The Wash Monster and its crew could begin tours of the Skegness coast from this July.
The Wash Monster and its crew could begin tours of the Skegness coast from this July.

Shoreline boat tours offering panoramic views of the Skegness coastline could begin boarding as early as this July.

Coun Carl Macey, who originally raised the idea with Skegness Town Council last month, is delighted it has progressed so quickly.

“I think it’s excellent news to have it up and running as soon as July,” he said.

“This will be something that we’ve not had in this town for many, many years - I can’t wait to get out on it myself.”

Unfortunately, the original aspiration to operate tours linking Skegness and Hunstanton across the Wash has been put on hold until next season while financial issues and sponsorship opportunities are looked into,

However Coun Macey believes the smaller, more localised tours, potentially involving visits to the offshore wind farms, will still add a great boost to the resort’s visitor offer.

“It’s all very positive, everything is now moving into place, we hope to have a service operating this summer and next year we will look towards Hunstanton,” he said.

Hunstanton based tour operator William Searle hopes to operate the new service using his amphibious vessel, the Wash Monster, in time for the school summer holidays.

“We are putting together what’s required to get the Wash Monster in action straight away so it can run trips with up to 12 passengers from mid-July,” he said.

Mr Searle also believes there will be scope to run occasional ‘corporate’ tours across the Wash, while the issues required to make it a regular occurrence are considered.

The vessel is an ex-military craft built in 1967 to land American troops during the Vietnam War, which has since been painted with ferocious teeth and flashing eyes to resemble a killer whale.

Based on its popularity in Hunstanton, Mr Searle believes it will be a roaring success in Skegness - a more visited destination than the Norfolk resort.

“The demand should be massive,” he said.

“It’s a unique vessel, although we will need to purchase another, currently it’s the only one of its kind that can go from land straight out to sea - it’s incredibly popular with the tourists.”

Professor Richard Davis OBE, who was included in the Queen’s 2011 Birthday Honours List, for services to science, is just one of Searles’ many fans.

He described his excursion as a ‘great attraction to all the kids and adults’ packed with ‘interesting and historical facts presented in such a way that all young and old enjoy’.

Tickets for the 20 minute coastal jaunts are estimated to cost around £5 for children and £10 for adults. Lengthier wind farm tours are expected to cost approximately twice that.

In comparison, the initial plans for the cross Wash journeys would have been £50 per person, which was off-putting to many potential passengers.

However Mr Searle believes that with sponsorship the journey cost could be reduced to between £25 or £35. And the vessel he plans to use would be able to complete a crossing in under on hour enabling three or four daily trips to operate.

He is also looking into the possibility of operating one way boat trips, returning by coach.