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Obituary: Tom Nighy

Published on: 08 July 2020

Tom Nighy

After a long career on and by the water, Tom Nighy, who previously worked as Technical Manager at British Marine (then known as the British Marine Industries Federation) sadly passed away on 30 June.

Having been schooled as a merchant seaman on HMS Conway on the Menai Straits, his initial career was at sea, culminating as a Senior Deck Officer with Union Castle, operating between the UK and South Africa. He ventured into the Boating Industry joining Cresta Marina at Newhaven in the early 1960’s. A career move to J G Meakes at Marlow, Bucks brought him alongside the River Thames, working as a Manager for John Hobbs Jnr with new boat building, sales, brokerage and repairs. Tom was head hunted to join American Marine International as an UK/ European Representative with the very popular Grand Banks Range of Motor Cruisers. He moved from the Thames to near the Solent and travelled widely at a time when the Boating Industry was growing rapidly.

1974 – 1978 Langstone Marine (Fairways) Production Director Queens Award for Industry 1976.

1978 – 1980 Rank Marine, Hamble, Production Director

1980 – 1983 General Manager Bowman Yachts building high quality, luxury sailing yachts designed for worldwide cruising. 

1980 – Founded Hamble Craft

1983 – 1993 Francis Marine Engineering, Managing Director and part owner, deck machinery, particularly proud to be specified as foredeck captain for RNLI offshore craft.

Perennial exhibitor at Southampton and London Boat Shows from 1970’s until retirement in 2005.

His wide industry knowledge and experience of boats and equipment was recognised when he was persuaded to join the British Marine Industries Federation (BMIF) as Technical Manager. Tom was deeply involved in bringing common-sense, practical boating industry knowledge to the drafting of the new European Recreational Craft Directive and the International Standards that were created.

He worked hard to get the right knowledgeable UK people on the important Committees and Working Groups, and he earned respect across the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA) and with the EU Managers in Brussels.

His dry sense of humour and tenacity broke down barriers between people, not just barriers to EU Trade.