Mainly kayaking photographs taken on the Isle of Man and beyond.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Kayak Isle of Man - Money!

I don't know any wealthy professional kayakers! Of course they are in it for the lifestyle, and not for the money. This is just as well as there's no money in it. We have two centres on the Isle of Man offering kayaking tuition and equipment. It's worth thinking about what you get for your money from these two professional outfits.
Each charges about £15 per hour. It would be usual for a sea kayaking session to be of about 3 hours duration, and so that gives a total of £45 per outing. Well, you may think, the sea is free and so it's pretty well all profit? Unfortunately it does not work like that. One of the Island's kayaking companies uses fibreglass Romany sea kayaks. They cost about £1200 each and as they are glass, and in the hands of novices, they have a very high rate of attrition and are replaced with brand new ones every few years. Of course there are plastic equivalents at about half the price, that last twice as long, but they are not the same. Kit including paddle, buoyancy aid, cag and fleece for each paddler will cost at least another £200 and wears out quickly in the harsh, salty, marine environment. Business overheads such as offices, phones, trailer, vehicle, diesel all add up and as for commercial insurance, well this costs several thousand pounds per year. Finally, to get to be a qualified kayaking coach takes many years of expensive training, assessments and refresher courses. On top of this the more junior kayak coaches in your employ will need paying also.
Well, when you think of all the above £15 per hour seems like a bargain. It also explains why the above picture shows one of the last times I carried out any commercial coaching, and why I'm still in the somewhat more lucrative employment of the Manx National Health Service.


Jessica said...

I'm not so sure about your costing there, John. One centre charges £45 for a two-hour session, the other charges £15 for the same (using plastic boats). Of course, if you have your own kit, it's obvious which is the more economical choice, as the instruction quality does not by any means decrease with the price.

Jessica said...

In addition, the more expensive centre offers private sessions for £75/hr with a minimum of 2 hours at a time, whereas the cheaper centre offers private sessions at £30/hr. If you're comparing. One seems to price you out of the market, the other seems unlikely to break even. Surely there's a happy medium somewhere.