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A small map showing the layout at Sawley Marina
In 1959 three brothers: Derrick, Keith and Raymond Davison started a company building boats at Trent Lock. Eventually, their father helped them buy land next to the Sawley Cut, which they started to develop in 1962 by constructing a slipway, some buildings and basic facilities.
The brothers initially concentrated on narrow beam canal and river pleasure cruisers. Then a number of timber and canal style boats were developed, followed in the mid 1960s by narrow boats with ferro cement hulls; some of which are still around today. The growth of the business continued, helped by the expansion of a hire cruiser fleet based at Trent Lock.
Sawley Marina became established as a leading inland marina after the chandlery shop was opened, and the highly respected "Narrow Boat Register" for boat sales was created. The introduction of fuel pumps and the building of a restaurant added to the importance of the enterprise.
Land immediately behind the marina had for some time been worked for the extraction of gravel, thus leaving a large expanse of water. The development of the marina into this enlarged water space took place in the mid 1980s, and later in the decade a development company took over the running of the marina. British Waterways bought the concern in 1999. Around the same time the Davison Brothers sold all their remaining land to British Waterways, thus securing the future and continual development of what has become the finest inland marina on the British Waterways system. The marina has the capacity to hold a maximum of 400 boats at any one time.
The direct link to the Sawley Cut gives an immediate cruising area of 225 miles including the Rivers Trent and Soar, as well as the Trent, Mersey and Erewash Canals. Inland cruisers can go as far as the River Thames, Wales and Yorkshire. There are a further two connections to the sea via Boston and Hull. The marina is well served by road links from all parts of the country, being situated just off junction 24 of the M1. Berth holders can have power and water link ups, and residential berths have access to telephone lines. There are also ample car parking spaces.
The Chandlery boasts 4,000 sq. ft. of space, and stocks everything for maintaining or fitting out any type of boat. Over the past 20 years Sawley Marina's Narrow Boat Register has become the country's most successful specialist brokerage scheme for the sale of narrow boats. With over 50 boats at any one time in the sales basin, they offer one of the largest selection and number of boats to view in the country.