Lake shore to get a tourism booster

Glenn (left) and Nigel Sands have completed the rebranding of their new lakeshore operation at Kinnego Marina in Craigavon. INLM3511-801con
Glenn (left) and Nigel Sands have completed the rebranding of their new lakeshore operation at Kinnego Marina in Craigavon. INLM3511-801con
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A NEW leisure development on the southern reaches of Lough Neagh is set to become a US-style lakeshore playground for families who love boats, bikes and barbecues - creating up to 50 jobs along the way.

County Down brothers Nigel and Glenn Sands who have invested £2m in Kinnego Marina’s motorboat centre - now known as Sands Marine - say they are expanding the existing boats and chandlery unit to provide a unique and extensive leisure vessel distribution centre. This will include the sale of everything from kayaks to cruisers with motor-boats, speed-boats and ski-boats in between.

Sands Marine is headed by Nigel Sands who managed the business for its former owners Carrick Craft.

“Kinnego now has a very attractive commercial operation in Sands Marine which provides ease of access to water sports, boat rental, sales, chandlery and so on,” said Mr Sands.

“The experience here has already been compared to the best available in north America and Australia with a proper mechanics’ service, fully kitted chandlery, expert advice and, of course, direct access to the freedom of the great open waters of the Lough.”

Mr Sands said the plan is to create a comprehensive centre of leisure with motorcycle and motorhome distributorship. It would be designed to become a social hub for day visitors and people camping in the surrounding Kinnego Marina sites would provide a country club-like service.

The Sands brothers believe that Lough Neagh has benefited from developments around its shores thanks to major efforts by local authorities.

“We want to work closely with Craigavon Borough Council to make Kinnego the gateway to the perfect playground for fishing, boating, skiing and all the many water sports,” said Nigel.

The Sands began their acquisition of the centre in 2008 and this year completed the rebranding.

Sands Marine which is the established, lead distributor for Texas-based Bayliner motor boats now encompasses a branch of Tony’s Marine Services, one of the leading boat mechanics and servicing businesses in Northern Ireland based in Coleraine and operated by Tony Hodges.

The centre will create up to 50 full-time equivalent jobs and pump prime the area for further business development, said Nigel .