BDA Water Sports revamps summer line-up
A watersports business that faces a diminished summer season because of the Covid-19 crisis is hoping locals will take on-island staycations and experience the fun it offers for themselves.
BDA Water Sports was geared up for a bumper year as it moved into a new era, with new boats and water “toys” and its premises and technology upgraded.
David Roache has taken over the business, which was formerly Somerset Bridge Watersports, from his father Tony who ran it for 30 years.
Everything was ready for an April 7 opening, but the coronavirus emergency meant BDA Water Sports, like everyone else, had to remain closed.
“This impacted our staff, who were anticipating starting work in April and are now faced with uncertain times and an uncertainty around how many hours they will get,” said Shima Sarabi, who is Mr Roache's partner.
“Now, as we're getting ready to open, we have to implement a new process to keep with the times and be Covid-19 safe.”
In preparation for the new season, the business has bought two fleets of Sea Doo GTI jet skis, and two new 15ft Boston Whalers. It has added ten see-through kayaks, which allow users to view fish and coral. It has refurbished a pair of 15ft whalers, and two 13ft whalers.
In addition, it has upgraded to an online booking and calender system that allows customers to make bookings automatically.
Doing away with the need for paper and pen also extends to the waivers that customers must complete; these are now done on tablets. The offices have been given a fresh look, with new desks, computers, and windows.
However, with Bermuda this year likely to see far fewer overseas visitors, which the business would normally rely on, it is looking to bolster another part of its business plan — to welcome more islanders to have fun on the water.
“This year we are specifically targeting local tourism. Bermuda is without a doubt the most beautiful place in the world.
“We have the golden opportunity to persuade Bermudians to see our incredible island from its best angle, the water.
“Of course our business will suffer without visitors, but I think we'll attract more Bermudians than we did last year, as they look for staycation options,” Ms Sarabi said.
Brainstorming sessions involving its “100 per cent Bermudian staff”, helped the business devise a formula designed to attract more locals, which included offering the best products, service and prices, and also discounts and daily specials.
“Bermudians are known to work hard and play hard. Usually Bermudians' playground is overseas. With that option out for the foreseeable future, they will have to play at home. What better way to practice social-distancing than on the water,” Ms Sarabi said.
The business, at Somerset Bridge Robinson's Marina, Middle Road, Sandys, has maintained the “family feel” that developed during the past 30 years.
“We work well together, we have each other's back, and we all care about the well being of the business. It's for this reason David and I started paying our staff out of pocket to get the business started back up.
“It was helpful to us, and it helped put some money in their pockets as well. They volunteered endless hours to brainstorm ways to keep us afloat during the pandemic with the lack of cruise ships,” Ms Sarabi said.
• BDA Watersports can be contacted on 234-0914. For bookings visit www.bdawatersports.com