The Argyll and Bute Gift Card can be spent with over 80 businesses across Argyll and Bute, including Wreckspeditions.
Jason Coles is the director/skipper at Wreckspeditions.
“I met my partner, Claire, whilst working on a boat on the West Coast of Scotland. Claire taught me how to dive in the open water. And, as I’d always worked on boats, we came up with the idea of starting up a diving company together. We started off in Hertfordshire, quickly making the move up to the Clyde, offering scuba diving charters. The area here is ideal for diving with 100s of shipwrecks that we have access to, which are covered with some incredibly vibrant and colourful marine life.
“One day, a local family asked us to take them out on the boat. We looked into it, and saw it as a good opportunity to diversify, starting the powerboat tours in 2019, one year after starting the business. It took off in an incredible fashion. We mainly take one family group out on the water at a time, so it’s like an exclusive private charter, and we’ll go and see the Sugar Boat, the only semi submerged shipwreck of its type in Scotland, also lighthouses and castles. If we’re lucky, we’ll get to see lots of wildlife too, like porpoises, seals, birds of prey and on rare occasions even the odd whale.
“2019 was a great year for the business, but then the pandemic landed. Like many activity and tourism focused businesses, we’ve had a lot thrown at us and had to cut back and scale back our plans. Claire works full time, so we were fortunate that we had that income coming in. We started offering online training courses, like the marine VHF radio course. Our ethos at Wreckspeditions is about helping people to reconnect with the water. They often want to get onto the water, but feel that they can’t, we want to give them that confidence and skill to get out on the water safely.
“I heard about the Argyll and Bute Gift Card through our local council and was happy to sign Wreckspeditions up. It’s a brilliant idea. I like the fact that with this gift card, you spend it like a debit card with the balance automatically deducted and the remainder left on the card ready to spend elsewhere, so you don’t lose out on getting change. I also like the fact that all different types of businesses accept the Argyll and Bute Gift Card, with one gift card you can really get a feel for what the area can offer. Or you could give the card to someone that doesn’t live here, and they can use it to explore Argyll and Bute.
“The great thing about the new Argyll and Bute Gift Card is that it helps us to become more sustainable as a region. Independent businesses here maybe don’t shout about themselves as much as the big chains, but when you look at what’s on offer right here in Argyll and Bute, you realise that you don’t need to go anywhere else.
“Staycations really kicked off in 2021, I think I worked 116 days in a row, I was beat but it was incredible! People would turn up for their powerboat tour and start off saying that they were meant to be in the Algarve and my response was always why do you need to go abroad when you have the stunning Scottish west coast to explore. Our message was always that the adventures don’t have to stop, just one hour from Glasgow and we have all of this beauty here on our doorstep, the chance to get back to nature and have a proper adventure.
“After being stuck at home, or in the city, people are so keen to do new things and explore. The idea of getting out on a powerboat tour as a family is really appealing to them, and it really means the world to us too. It fills me with pride to know that people are coming to Argyll and Bute and realising how fabulous it is. And when they come back from their powerboat tour and they tell us that it was the highlight of their holiday, and something they’ll always remember, it’s the best feedback you can get. As small businesses, we can all work together to promote the local area, not only our own businesses but others too, collaborating to put Argyll and Bute on the map, and being a part of the Argyll and Bute Gift Card is one way we can do that.”