Saltwater Stone Remembers Boating Business as it Bids Farewell to the Marine Industry
Following Boating Business’ announcement to close at the end of July 2023 after 40 years, Saltwater Stone looks back at how the marine industry has changed and transformed over its own 32 years in the industry.
For more than three decades, Saltwater Stone has been involved in helping marine brands build in an ever-evolving marine landscape. Originally established in 1991 by Clive and Georgina Bartlett under the name BMC PR, the agency has transformed into one of the marine industry’s most prominent public relations and marketing agencies.
During its early days, Saltwater Stone’s clientele included names like the Tarquin Boat Company, International Paint, and marine electronics brand Cetrek. The agency quickly grew its reputation, attracting leading marine companies who sought their expertise in managing public and media relations.
Over the course of its 32-year journey, Saltwater Stone has witnessed substantial changes both within the industry and in its own operations. Georgina Bartlett, one of the founders and the Managing Director, reflects on the agency’s humble beginnings without internet access, relying solely on phone, fax, and post for communication. Despite the challenges of those times, the team made the best of the available resources. The shift to digital communication significantly changed the communication landscape, making it easier and quicker in dealing with the media.
Throughout a its years in business, Saltwater Stone has had the privilege of sharing client news with Boating Business and other media outlets of some of the marine industry’s most prestigious brands, forming close and enduring relationships with marine journalists and editors worldwide. It has organised numerous high-profile yacht launches, invited the media to significant industry events, including alongside royalty for client factory openings.
In 2016, the agency underwent a transformative shift, expanding its scope to become a full-service PR, media buying, marketing, and design agency. It rebranded as Saltwater Stone and unveiled its now widely recognized logo, the Limosa bird.
Among its distinguished clientele, both past and present, are renowned names such as International Paint, Avon Inflatables, Simrad, Fairline Yachts, Bank of Scotland Marine Finance, Camper & Nicholson, RNLI, the UK Hydrographic Office, MDL, Raymarine, Discovery Yachts, Opal Marine, Azko Noble, Dometic, Peters & May, and Marlink.
Similar to many businesses in the marine industry, Saltwater has faced its share of challenges, including the financial crash of 2008, which had a detrimental impact on many of its clients. As a result, the agency experienced a significant, but temporary, drop in business as the industry grappled with the fallout. Georgina Bartlett reflects on this period and acknowledges the need for industry-wide adjustments to cope with the situation.
More recently, the Covid pandemic presented another obstacle, requiring Saltwater Stone to swiftly adapt its approach to staff, work, and communication, to uphold the high level of service expected by its clients. Despite these hurdles, the agency demonstrated resilience by embracing adaptability, which has contributed to its longevity.
A Complete Marketing Partner
Today Saltwater Stone is a complete marketing partner working with clients across a wide spectrum of specialist maritime areas including aquaculture; commercial fisheries; cruise & passenger; marine research; naval & defence; offshore oil & gas; powerboats; renewables; shipping; sports fishing; subsea; workboats; sports boats & RIBs; leisure yachts and superyachts.
Farewell to Boating Business
As Saltwater reflects on its journey, there is a strong sense of pride in the accomplishments achieved. However, the agency remains fully aware that the industry will inevitably present ongoing challenges. It is with a touch of sadness that it bids farewell to longstanding media partners who decide to move on from the industry. Thank you to all the team at Boating Business for the collaboration over the decades.