A businessman who specialises in underwater searches had his feet on the ground when it came to choosing a vital piece of equipment.
And Mike Valentine says his new trailer has given him the edge over competitors in the field as it serves more than one purpose - it can carry his submarine and be used as a mobile office
Mike has moved from Rhos-on-Sea in North Wales to Warminster in Wiltshire, where he now runs his company Sea-Urchin UK.
Through a division of the company, ROV Services, he provides small remote-controlled submarines which are fitted with cameras, lights and digital recording equipment.
The submarines – ROV stands for Remote-Operated Vehicles – are used for a wide variety of purposes including inspection of boat hulls and dock walls, salvage operations, pipeline inspections, crime scene investigations and security checks.
Mike decided that he needed a trailer not only to transport the ROVs to jobs but to act as a mobile on-site office.
He approached Ifor Williams Trailers, Europe’s largest trailer manufacturers, and quickly found what he wanted.
He bought a BV64 box trailer with a roller-shutter, which did not need any adaptations to meet his needs."We carry the ROVs and a portable generator, and I then simply put a desk inside and I have an office from which I can work on site," he said.
Mike had never had need for a trailer before but friends of his had owned trailers from made by Ifor Williams Trailers.
"And I know that the company has such a high reputation," he said. "They set the benchmark for everyone and you see them wherever you go. It’s proved ideal for my purposes," he said.
Mike’s original company, Sea-Urchin UK, supplied kayaks and other equipment to schools and clubs, but he launched the ROV side of the business only a few weeks ago.
"In the past the type of work we do has been done largely by divers, but the ROVs are extremely cost-effective and can be used in areas which are otherwise inaccessible," he said.
"There are so many advantages to them. When divers arrive at a site it can take a couple of hours for them to carry out a risk assessment and prepare themselves, whereas I can be up and running in 15 minutes," he said.
The "sub" can operate at depths which can prove dangerous for divers and another "plus" is that the information being fed back from the ROV can be assessed immediately on computer – and that is where the trailer comes in.
Mike moved to Wiltshire as his wife is a senior cardiac consultant in the area, but ROV Services operate throughout the country on both inland and coastal waters.
"There is a lot of contract work about, with a substantial amount of it around Portsmouth," said Mike.
"We do a wide range of work, including some search-and-rescue work for the police, and Environment Agency Wales have asked us to help monitor certain species of sea creatures.
"Although I’m now based in Warminster I hope to renew my operations in North Wales, and would have no hesitation in getting another Ifor Williams trailer," he added.
Andrew Reece-Jones, the Design Engineering Manager of Ifor Williams Trailers, is delighted that the box trailer is proving so versatile.
He said: "Our trailers are used to transport a huge variety of things but I must confess that submarines are a new one on me."
News » Trailer helps keep submarine firm afloat