Initially set up to supply to
fishing boats along the East Coast, a Scarborough
manufacturer now ships its products worldwide.
From Scarborough, Filey, Bridlington and Whitby to Europe, Mexico, Africa and China, in 40 years North Sea Winches has built up a national reputation with its marine and industrial devices.
In the early years of business, the company, based in Dunslow Road, supplied pulleys which were used mainly at sea by the UK fishing industry.
While you can still find the North Sea Winch logo on some local trawlers, nowadays the mechanisms have grown in size and purpose to suit demand.
Sales manager Ray Milner, who has worked at North Sea Winches for 24 years, said: “When the business first started around 80per cent of the work carried out was to serve the fishing industry. Grants were given in those days and the fishing industry was very buoyant.
“We do still supply fishermen in the area, but along the way that work has dried up because of legislation, so we’ve gone into other markets.
“If you can make fishing winches for the North Sea, you can make them for anywhere in the world.”
North Sea Winches now bears its name on hydraulic and electric winches used in ports and harbour applications, on tugs and work boats and on offshore vessels across the globe.
Through branching out it has gone on to supply fishing winches in China, dry dock winches in Argentina, slipway winches in Sri Lanka and Tonga, and eight 30-tonne winches for barges working off the west coast of South Africa.
It’s largest winch to date is a hefty 185-tonne pull, operating in the Gulf of Mexico on an offshore vessel for the oil industry.
First set up by John Gretton in 1947 as Engineering Services, the company rebranded under its current name in the 1970s.
It remains in the family, with John’s grandson Robert now in the position of managing director and playing an active role in the day-to-day running of the company.
North Sea Winches operates from one-and-a-half factory units on Eastfield’s industrial estate and employs 13 employees, although it is shortly set to take on more workers.
It’s fabrications are all designed and built in house. A 10 tonne trawler winch, for example, takes an average of six weeks from concept to completion.