A West Norfolk holiday park is looking forward to a monster 2017 with the arrival of another former landing craft from the Vietnam War.
Searles Leisure Resort in Hunstanton has welcomed its third LARC (Light Amphibious Resupply Cargo) vessel to its Sea Tours fleet.
The rare boat will join the other two vessels in becoming a famous Wash Monster, offering award-winning sea safaris and tours along the coast.
All three boats are now set for a major re-fit over the winter months in preparation for even more sea tours next year.
William Searle, director of Searles Sea Tours, said: “Our tours keep having record year after record year.
“Last year we had about 25,00 visitors on our seal safaris, and we couldn’t cope, so we needed another boat.
Explaining the decision to invest in another LARC, he said: “It is a huge job getting them certificated but, in my view, they are the best amphibious passenger craft. When they were made in 1966 they cost $1 million to build, so that goes to show you the quality. This one came from the French Navy. It was a huge investment.”
The new boat will be called Waler, after the first name initials of William Searle, daughters Aimee and Laura, wife Elizabeth/Lizzie and daughter Rachel. His two other boats, Wiley, also known as the famous Wash Monster, and Wizzy, Wash Monster 2, are also named after his and his wife’s first name initials.
The first two Wash Monsters are painted as cartoon killer sharks, but the new one will become a killer whale.
Searles welcomed the new boat on Friday after an long journey to Hunstanton from Tilbury docks. The axle broke on the trailer carrying the boat, causing delays on the A1 between Cambridge and Peterborough.
“It was an eventful day,” said Mr Searle. “I’d like to thank the police and everyone else who was involved in the logistics of getting the boat here safely.”
After their re-fits, the trio of Wash Monsters will become a regular sight off Hunstanton beach next summer.
Next winter the sea tours will also expand to offer ‘red letter’ experience days, where the boats can be hired out by groups or individuals for special occasions.