Aquaholics splashing out in bid to broaden appeal of diving on the north coast
A diving business on the north coast has vowed to take on destinations for the sport like the Maldives and Red Sea as it splashes out on a new vessel.
Aquaholics in Portstewart has bought the commercial catamaran with the support of Ulster Bank.
It's aiming to increase its capacity for tourists wanting to explore Northern Ireland's deep blue sea around the north coast and Rathlin Island.
Company owner Richard Lafferty said: "With world class diving on the north coast, Aquaholics attracts a lot of groups and individuals from Europe, the US and Russia.
"Not a lot of people realise how attractive the north coast is to divers and we see a real opportunity to bring more international visitors to the area.
"This new, state-of-the-art vessel enables us to provide the high quality service our customers now expect."
Aquaholics also provides marine services to TV and film crews and has worked on underwater scenes in HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones and on productions by the BBC and Disney. It also runs Game of Thrones location trips around the coast.
Rhonda McClelland, business manager at Ulster Bank, said: "Richard has diversified the business extremely well, including his line of work in servicing media companies and film crews.
"He has also invested well in his core diving operation and we are very pleased to support this latest purchase intended to bring more international visitors to the north coast."
Aquaholics also has an online retail arm for equipment for diving and other outdoor pursuits.