Salcombe is one of South Devon’s most popular holiday destinations, and little wonder with its beautiful beaches, clean seas and all-round relaxed and welcoming vibe. For anyone who enjoys boating, sailing or any water activities, Salcombe is an absolute dream, with the estuary providing abundant wildlife and all kinds of coves and inlets to explore.
For anyone thinking of dipping their toe in the world of boating when they visit Salcombe then the company to visit is Sea N Shore. Established in 2007 by lifelong aquatic fanatic Ali Turner-Jones, the company has an unrivalled reputation for providing excellence when it comes to Salcombe boat trips of all hues – from fun days out wakeboarding to serious RYA approved powerboat and sailing courses.
Ali spoke to us about her life on the ocean and why Salcombe boat trips are so popular.
Why did you start Sea N Shore?
“I’ve always been into water skiing and diving, ever since I was about 12 years old. Years ago I moved down to Devon and did a degree in business information management technology. I had to do a year’s work placement and I worked for South Hams council in the IT department and often got sent down to Salcombe. I used to love seeing the harbour and harbour office and when I finished I got a job there. I soon realised that there were lots of things that needed doing. Nobody was teaching VHF radio courses or first aid for example so I started doing that and then began branching out, teaching power boating to the yacht club members. I’d get calls asking to lead kayaking and water skiing and I would just say “yes” and figure out a way to do it. Then with everything else and having a family things were getting too diverse so I pared it down to the boating and associated activities.”
What services do you offer?
“We do the RYA Powerboat 1 and 2 courses as well as their Intermediate and Advanced powerboat driver certificates. Those are our most popular courses but we also do many others such as RYA First Aid, VHF radio licence, Day Skipper and Coastal Skipper theory. On the leisure side we do RIB coasteering, banana boat riding, water skiing, wakeboarding, RIB rides and estuary wildlife tours as well as land or sea based treasure hunts in Salcombe.”
What is coasteering?
“Basically you pull on a wetsuit and buoyancy aids, helmet and boots then have a fully safety briefing with instructors and skippers. You’ll be driven in a RIB through Salcombe estuary then out to location and be led by instructors for a spot of rock climbing, swimming, jumping, cave exploring, getting washed in and out of gullies and the most popular bit is meeting the challenge of the big jump at the end! Then it’s a short swim back to the RIB to refuel on the limitless supply of chocolate we always have on board.”
If someone wanted to dip their toe into the world of boating when they visit Salcombe, how would you recommend they start?
“Definitely have a RIB ride out to see the stunning coastline, the seals, dolphins, sunfish, basking sharks, jelly fish and sea birds. You’ll stay mostly dry and get a feel for the sea. Then most people decide to do their RYA Powerboat 2 course, where they learn to safely drive a RIB.”
I see you also cater for children with some courses aimed specifically for them. Does this present a special challenge?
“Not really. Kids love to be on the water, and we always want them to feel safe and have fun. I’ve got two kids of my own. The youngest has been coasteering since he was five. Safety is always first. We put safety before the customer in fact. A typical family day would be to hire a RIB for half a day and go out into a safe bay with a banana boat, water skis and wakeboards and play games for three or four hours all with qualified instructors. We also have a series of hand gestures so kids can indicate quickly if they feel worried or scared and we can slow things down.”
Do people need to book a place on one of your Salcombe boat trips in advance?
“Definitely. In the summer we run four RIB rides a day and we’re usually booked up for at least a week in advance, often more.”
What is it about Salcombe that makes it so amazing for boating and water sports?
“A big factor is the really clean water due to no industrialisation on the estuary. It’s actually a ria, so isn’t fed by a big river like most so it has a high salinity. This means you get incredible wildlife in the estuary, and the water is very clean. There are also an unparalleled number of stunning beaches within safe harbour limits with is a rarity, I honestly can’t think of another area that has so many beaches. For the more experienced there are very challenging conditions for sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding but with the contrast of wildlife, castles, wrecks, mud banks, sea birds, topography and tidal range of up to five miles. Salcombe also has a wonderful on-water community. Most of us in the boating world here spend more time on the water than land! So when people come to visit I always encourage them to get out and talk to the local skippers because they’ll learn so much about the area and everyone is really friendly.”
Are you involved with the local community?
“Oh yes. We always get involved with the Salcombe Regatta and other events in the town. I also work closely with many of the local marine businesses.”
What would be your recommendations for anyone coming to Salcombe to enjoy a boating holiday? What are your favourite areas on land and sea?
“I love going to Splat Cove with my kids or Sunny Cove when it’s cut off from anyone without a boat. Smalls Beach is also special, you can just watch the world go by.”
Book a stay in one of our Salcombe holiday homes, and pay a visit to Sea N Shore to discover the range of Salcombe boat trips they offer.