The Seaward Team

The Seaward story … and future plans

Tough and rugged, Seaward’s Nelson type motor boats have an enviable reputation both in the commercial world and as safe go-anywhere leisure boats. To-date over 250 Seaward boats have been built, with recent deliveries to Denmark, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Japan, the Indian Ocean island of Reunion and Tenerife.

Seaward was founded by Barry Kimber in Guernsey in 1980 to develop these unique Nelson semi-displacement craft designed by TT Boat Designs. In 2002 the business moved to its current 23,500 sq. ft factory at Prospect Road, Cowes. In 2012, Barry and Alison Kimber decided it was time to retire and set out to sell the business. The Boat Development Co stepped in as buyers in March the following year. Chris Clayton, who is also Managing Director of Bucklers Hard Boat Builders, is Chairman, and the management team consists of Stephen Thomas, Managing Director, William Rhys-Jones, Sales & Marketing Director, and Mike Burnham, Project Manager and Adviser to the Board.

One of the brand’s most successful models is the Seaward 23, designed by TT Boat Designs for customers requiring a true seagoing vessel but at a more convenient size to the larger commercial harbour and pilot launches that Seaward built its reputation on. Just like her larger sisters, the Seaward 23 is offered with twin diesel engines on shaft drives, twin fuel tanks and twin battery systems. The original Seaward 23 model was so successful that in 1988 an owner’s club was formed, called the Seaward Squadron, which hosts popular rallies each season. Following the success of the 23, Seaward and TT Boat Designs went on to develop 25 & 29ft versions, then the 35 cockpit and aft deck models and, latterly, the 39 and 42.

The current Seaward motor cruiser range consists of the 19, 23, 25, 29, 35, 39 and 42. On the commercial boat side, Seaward produces the Nelson 29, 35, 40 and 42 pilot boats and service launches. These are all built at Seaward’s factory at Cowes. The company also offers a full repair and refit service to Seaward owners, the provision of spare parts and a brokerage service for those wishing to sell or buy second-hand Seawards. Additionally the Seaward Sea School offers RYA-endorsed courses.

Looking to the future, the Directors of The Boat Development Co plan to continually evolve and increase the Seaward range, aiming to both maintain the loyalty of the existing discerning customer base and to attract new owners to the brand.

Meet the Seaward Team


Chris has long-standing links with the development of Nelson hulls. As a director of both Bucklers Hard Boat Builders Ltd and Beaulieu Marine Developments Ltd, he and his team specialise in completing Nelson hulls to bespoke standards. They have also developed the new Nelson 42 Mk II at their base at Bucklers Hard Marina on the Beaulieu River.

Mobile: +44 (0) 7801 253304

STEPHEN THOMAS – Managing Director

Stephen joined the Seaward in 2015 and assumed responsibility for leading the company forward in 2016. He has a wealth of experience in advanced composites and in designing and building commercial and leisure craft in the UK and Europe.

Mobile: +44 (0) 7856 746261

MIKE BURNHAM – Project Manager

Mike trained as a naval architect and has continued in the composites, workboat and leisure boat businesses throughout his career, running businesses both in the UK and overseas. The majority of this time was as designer, Sales Director and then Managing Director of Halmatic, which was the largest player in the UK workboat market at that time.

Mobile: +44 (0) 7733 474847

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