Itchen Marine (Towage) Ltd is a 4th generation family business operating in the heart of Southampton docks. The business was started back in the early 1950’s with Ronald Wyeth and son Graham at the helm, they would crew an old 50ft Pinnas launch known as the ‘Graham-Iris’, using this old launch they would deliver freshwater in an around the docks to various ships this continued for many years until the Wyeth family finally received there first big contract with Graham being offered to work alongside James’s which is now known as the International company ‘Boskalis’ building a number of marinas in the Solent, this went well for Ronald and Graham that they decided to buy their very own piece of water frontage in Vespasian Road. Over the years the development of this plot went very well, managing to design and build there very own slipway meaning that maintenance was able to be done completely in house.
As time went by Graham was joined by his younger brother Clive, with the two brothers at the helm of the company Itchen Marine really begun, an opportunity to buy American Wharf in the late 1970’s was presented and which to this day the company still stands. Graham and Clive managed a small fleet of tugs including the first diesel tug in Southampton named ‘Testgarth’ her job included the towing of timber barges from what is know Ocean Village to old timber sites including Howards, Taygarts and Gabriel Wades & English.
In June of 1981 Itchen Marine (Towage) Ltd was born, with the purchase of American wharf and 2 brand new twin screw Delta tugs the ‘Wyepull’ and ‘Wyepush’, Itchen Marine was growing rapidly, quicker than either brother could imagine with long serving contracts to the American Army base at Hythe, the unslipping of frigates and minesweepers at Vosper Thornycroft and supplying launches and small tugs to Fawley and Hamble oil jetties.
This work boosted Itchen Marine into the mainstream and with the Port of Southampton steadily growing and the volume of ships passing through Southampton increasing, Graham and Clive felt that ship towage would be the companies calling with that in mind in the early 90's the purchase of the Wyeforce, Wyeguard and Wyetow were needed. These bigger more powerful tugs were very quickly used around the port, the jobs included the manoeuvring of ABP’s floating crane the ‘Canute’, towing ships in and out of King George V dry dock historically the Canberra and QE2, troop ships and friggates in and out of the RFA camp and supplying tugs to countless other ships importing and exporting goods. With a strong work ethic, reliable work force and extensive knowledge of the marine industry, Itchen Marine and the two brother’s reputation grew in the Port of Southampton beyond expectation.
Through the mid 90’s to the turn of the century the 3rd generation of Wyeth’s came on board Shaun, Mandy and Chase were working up through the ranks covering all aspects of the business, with the 5 family members now specialising in different fields but collectively coming together to drive the company’s future.
With the towage side of the business steadily growing the family felt the need to expand the marina and its facilities and in early 2000 the opportunity to purchase Tredegar Wharf was offered, once acquired the family managed to maximise berthing capabilities to the 120 berthing marina you see here today as well as investing in extensive lifting capabilities not only to lift all types of pleasure craft but also larger and heavier commercial vessels including our own fleet of tugs.
After watching the progression and expansion of Southampton docks and the evolution of shipping around 2010, the family felt the need to expand the fleet, the purchase of Itchen Marine’s flagship vessel the ‘Wyestorm’ a larger more powerful yet nimble and manoeuvrable twin screw tug. This brought a new dimension to ship towage working closely alongside International towage companies here in Southampton and cementing Itchen Marine’s place on the south coast.
Itchen Marine (Towage) Ltd has enjoyed a steady yet consistent growth over the past 80 years building up solid friendships with local businesses, shipping agents, Southampton pilots and yacht owners. With Shaun, Mandy and Chase now being the driving force behind Itchen Marine and its future we are able to give Graham and Clive more time to enjoy there later years and with Lewis the first of many of the 4th generation working his way up through the ranks Itchen Marine will continue to serve the South coast with all its marine needs. The company continues to have a strong work ethic, a reliable and long-standing work force and thanks to the two brothers an even more extensive knowledge of the marine industry.