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Cornwall Marine Directory

Latest device launched to combat marine crime

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main_oml_tomsnookA former international sailor who helped make racing history 30 years ago is making a fresh impact afloat with his latest device to combat marine crime.

Falmouth-based Tom Snook was on the Great Britain II when it set a new record as winner of the Financial Times Clipper Race to Australia in 1975-76, sailing there and back in 134 days.

Tom subsequently set up Freewinds Yacht Charters and then, in 1992, began designing a range of outboard motor locks through his company, OML Ltd.

Business volumes have steadily grown since then – and sales have now soared by 50 per cent over the past 12 months, including breakthroughs in the Netherlands and Sweden.

This has been achieved chiefly through the launch of OML’s new “Volcano” locking device to combat theft of outboard engines, plus improved product labelling and packaging by Christian Topf, of Falmouth, and financial support from Cornwall Marine Network for attendance at trade shows.

Christian’s involvement is part of an all-Cornish venture, with Tom designing his products for welding by David Keith at Islington Wharf, Penryn, and milling and turning by Redruth-based David Paull (CNC Engineering) Ltd.

“Crime afloat is mushrooming, with the theft of equipment and property from boats contributing to a multi-million pound problem around our shores,” says Tom, whose fellow director is his son Graham, winner of the South West Young Designer’s Award while at Falmouth School in 1995.

“But we have demonstrated that this crime can be effectively combated, with the result that the OML business has come along in leaps and bounds over the last 12 months.”

Cornwall Marine Network marketing manager Tim Bowerbank says: “The Volcano is a simple yet effective design based on extensive research and has quickly gained market share for OML in an internationally competitive market place.

Crime afloat is mushrooming, with the theft of equipment and property from boats contributing to a multi-million pound problem around our shores

“The development of OML to date, together with the other Cornish companies involved, is a marvellous example of how members of Cornwall’s marine industry can work together with the skills and ingenuity to create world class products and services.”

Tom comments: “We are now working with some of the very largest suppliers, such as Honda and Suzuki, whereas before we hadn’t really arrived in the big league.”

He regards the Volcano as the pinnacle of his company’s bolt lock development to date. It is aimed at deterring and preventing thieves from “crowbarring” outboard engines off the sterns of boats and has been designed for transom-bolted engines of 30 to 225 hp.

OML locks are the only ones in the world to be made from marine grade 316 stainless steel. All have undergone extensive review and testing by police forces in the UK, Europe and Australia. Marine surveys in magazines have consistently cited OML products as the most effective deterrent.

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