Coleraine Watersports Centre Anticipates Record Year

Northern Ireland's most popular watersports destination is celebrating the milestone of 130,000 customers and is on track for reaching record footfall this year.

The Edge Watersports at The Crannagh Activity Centre, Coleraine, was established 23 years ago by Rob Skelly, a British Waterski and Wakeboard (BWSF) senior instructor, and his wife Joan.

The longest established waterpark in Northern Ireland, its popularity is growing significantly year on year. In 2017 it welcomed over 18,000 customers, increasing to 22,000 last year. The anticipated footfall for the 2019 season between May and September is over 24,000. 

Originally established at Drumaheglis Marina, Ballymoney, The Edge Watersports moved to The Crannagh Marina four years ago and is now idyllically located on the banks of the Lower Bann between Coleraine and Portstewart.

A range of activities are on offer from waterskiing, wakeboarding and banana boating to tube rides, kayaking and stand up paddleboarding. It was awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for the past three years and 'Tourism Attraction of the Year' for the Causeway Coast and Glens area in the local business awards.

Discussing the business' appeal, Rob Skelly said: "We are constantly innovating and investing in the facilities at The Edge Watersports to retain our position as the go-to venue for water sports enthusiasts who want to excel.

"Last year we invested over £25,000 to reconfigure the existing layout, increasing the waterpark size by 40% to 2,500 square metres with a potential capacity of 120 visitors. However, we consistently strive to create the ultimate quality customer experience and therefore restrict our numbers to 80 at any one time."

Mr Skelly continued: "We carefully select the various modules for the waterpark to ensure they are great fun, but more importantly, safe. A team of forty highly experienced and qualified staff supervise the activities which are suitable for anyone from the age of five.
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"Unlike some other waterparks, all of our lifeguards are RLSS Open Water qualified. We also have twelve qualified boat drivers and waterski/wakeboard coaches. The two maxims for our business are safety and customer service.

"We are also committed to supporting individuals of all abilities to embrace water-based activities. The Edge was the first watersports centre in Northern Ireland to offer waterskiing for the disabled and we now have the equipment to teach wheelchair users, the visually impaired and amputees. So, whatever your ability, there are no barriers to enjoying this action-packed sport."

Since it was established, The Edge Watersports has been at the forefront of developments in watersports, in particular wakeboarding, in Northern Ireland. It was the first centre to teach the sport, hosting Ireland's first ever wakeboard competition in 1997. Since then the company has hosted five national championships, trained twelve national champions, and in 2016 hosted the first ever European Wakeboard Championships to be held in Ireland.

Welcoming the announcement from The Edge Watersports, Seamus Carey, owner of Crannagh Marina Complex, said: "This is a really exciting time for us. We are recording record numbers of visitors and are thrilled to see the success of The Edge Watersports at The Crannagh Activity Centre. We will also be announcing a number of exciting new developments at The Crannagh in the near future and this will undoubtedly further increase the profile of this wonderful destination.

"The Lower Bann has been extremely underused as a recreation and tourism resource and we aim, with the help of various partners, to change this and make it a prime destination where people can come and spend a number of days packed full of fun activities. Indeed, we have recently added some luxury on site accommodation, which can be booked directly via our new website. The entire Crannagh Marina Complex is becoming a major hub for tourists and locals alike. There is something for everyone, no matter what your age, ability or interests."

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