The Oliver family are from generations of seafarers and fishermen who fished the sea to earn a living. We have grown up on the water – salt water runs through our veins.
We love to get involved in community projects, to pass on our skills and knowledge of Galway’s maritime history and culture to those who share an interest and help to appreciate the great resource that is Galway Bay.
The Galway Hooker is the traditional wooden fishing boat, an iconic symbol of Galway’s relationship with the sea. These boats are in our blood – our great grand uncle Martin Oliver owned and fished Truelight, the last of the Hookers to be used in the Claddagh for fishing.
Motivated to help promote, restore and sail these boats we ran night courses on Hooker Skills and quickly built up a following of over 100 volunteers who helped restore two Galway Hookers – Lovely Anne (2019) and most recently Loveen (2021).
This community is at the core of our everyday lives and our business and, with the help of others, we established the Galway Hooker Sailing Club. This club is dedicated to passing on the skills needed to restore and sail these iconic boats to the next generation.
Galway Bay Boat Tours, along with Galway Hooker Sailing Club, established a Sea School project with Scoil Bhríde, a local primary school located within walking distance of the Claddagh and the Port of Galway. Scoil Bhríde is a DEIS Band 1 primary school and also where one of our crew, Collette Furey, is a teacher.
Drawing on the experience of both the Oliver family, the teachers at Scoil Bhríde, and members of the Galway Hooker Sailing Club, each module is geared to teach the skills of seafaring, sailing, fishing and the history surrounding traditional craft of the Galway Hooker.
The Sea School runs throughout the academic year and aims to expose our youth to the opportunities Galway’s maritime industry has to offer and the skills needed to carve out a career working at sea.
When our children joined Port of Galway Sea Scouts, it was a no-brainer that we would get involved too and use our skills to teach others in a fun and enjoyable way. With our preference towards the practical side of doing rather than classroom style learning, this was a perfect match to get children on the water at every opportunity.
Our inherited connection with the Galway Hooker drove us to play a pivotal role in the restoration of Loveen, a Galway Hooker that was gifted to the Sea Scouts following the death of our family friend Nicky Dolan.
Loveen now sails proudly in Claddagh and the Port of Galway and is used as a training vessel for both the scouts and the community. We’d like to think that Nicky, and the Dolan family will be forever remembered by those who sail her.
The extended Oliver family are members of RNLI the Galway Lifeboat and we volunteer our time to help search and rescue on Galway Bay.
Being involved in search and rescue over many years has added to our own skills and experience when it comes to the ways of the sea.
This knowledge became a powerful tool in helping locate and rescue the two paddleboard girls who drifted out to sea, in August 2020.