The History of Reefers and Wreckers

Reefers and Wreckers was started as a PADI Dive centre in 2004 and is based in Barrow, Clitheroe, Lancashire. Over a decade later and we are still offering  Scuba diving courses to the residents of Lancashire and surrounding areas.

The founders of Reefers and Wreckers, Ben and Debs,  sold the company to Daron Martin who ran the Dive centre for 3 Years.  I bought Reefers and Wreckers in July 2009 and have been a director of the limited company since then.

I live in Barrowford and from the age of 11 was brought up in the family business John Stephenson and Sons which was a wholesale and retail wine and spirit merchants founded in 1914.  During my time working for the family business I learnt everything from how to sweep a warehouse floor, Running a team of delivery drivers and then moving into the office to support a team of sales representatives along with maintenance of the communications systems.

I gained my CMAS certification in August 2007 while on holiday in Turkey. I realised as I was sat with the instructors having a celebratory beer that I wanted to become a diving instructor. When I got back from Turkey I went to find a local dive centre and this is where things could have been so different. The first PADI Dive Centre that I visited was Canary Divers, Blackburn. When I got there I found Canary Divers to be closed and remembered that one of my friends mentioned a PADI dive centre in Barrow, Clitheroe.

I drove over to Barrow and found that Reefers and Wreckers was open. I walked in and met the then current Owner Daron Martin AKA Balders as he looked like Baldrick out of Black Adder !  After a chat with him I booked onto my PADI Advanced Open water which was to be completed at Eccleston Delph in Chorley. I also walked out with a BCD, Computer and some regs ! See it did happen to me too!

My first British sea dive was on the Breda in Oban with Puffin Dive Centre. I had already had a week on Gozo with a friend who worked for Gozo Aquasports in Marsalforne. Scapa flow was already paid for and on the horizon.

Within the year I had already completed my PADI Advanced Open Water, PADI Rescue Diver, Project AWARE Speciality, Deep Speciality, Night Speciality and was well on with the PADI Divemaster course. Scapa Flow was the venue for my Deep Speciality !

In 2009 I then became a PADI Assistant Instructor and had already booked onto my IDC in July of the same year.

I continued to work for the new owners of the ex family Business all the time looking for another job opportunity or the courage to leave it all behind and go travelling.

I was spending more and more time at the shop, nearly all of my days off and weekends. On one of the days I was there Daron had a major problem with the compressor. We happened to get talking and Daron mentioned he wanted to move to Bulgaria, I had some spare cash and was looking for a new venture and the shop wasn’t working for him. Daron  asked if I wanted to buy the shop and I said yes!  A few stock takes and letters later we had agreed on a deal.

In July 2009, the same time that both myself and Darren became PADI Instructors, we exchanged contracts and Reefers and Wreckers had a new owner.

Since then the shop shop has gone from strength to strength and I am still putting myself on courses, the next big one will be the Course Director training Course.

Reefers and Wreckers has gone from being a PADI Dive centre to a 5 Star Instructor Development centre which can offer all levels of Technical diver training along with a Emergency First Response Instructor.

All levels of Drysuit and Wetsuit repairs are offered. Cylinder testing and regulator servicing are also available.