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Washdown: Cleaning up the superyacht world

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Leah Tennant is a true changemaker within the yachting industry. Her journey from deckhand to eco-entrepreneur exemplifies passion, determination, and a commitment to cleaning up the industry she loves. Embarking on her yachting career at just 18, Tennant’s experiences on superyachts and her strong work ethic laid the foundation for her ground-breaking venture.

 

Founding Washdown, she set out to revolutionise the superyacht industry’s cleaning practices by developing a line of truly ethical cleaning products. Driven by a profound desire to protect the environment and improve the lives of crew members, her products offer unparalleled effectiveness while adhering to stringent eco-friendly standards.

What steps did you take to arrive in the position you’re in now?

 

It’s definitely been a journey. My yachting career and experiences, spending excessive time detailing and cleaning superyachts, was obviously an imperative part of the story of Washdown and what it is today. Also, leaving yachting and working for a luxury property agent, learning how to sell combined with my most recent job as UK operations manager for a charity, implementing water sanitation programmes in Uganda.

 

This essentially taught me how to run a business as I was working to oversee seven offices across UgandaTwo Washdown cleaning products and 90 staff all while fundraising for the programme. I loved my job but soon realised after being shore-based that I missed yachting. I also knew that I wanted to work for myself and make a difference within the industry.

 

I founded Washdown in 2022, developed the products with a lot of going back and forth to perfect the solutions to a superyacht standard, and launched our MVP product in September to test the market. We’ve been blown away by the interest and support that we have had and are about to launch our full range within the industry.

 

What motivated you to leave your crew role to pursue Washdown?

 

I think it’s a mix of experiences. I’m definitely blessed to have grown up in a big family (I’m one of seven) where entrepreneurial spirit and following our passions/purpose was always important and encouraged. From a young age my parents have always pushed me and my siblings to find what we’re passionate about/our purpose and pursue it. However, they would also actively encourage us to find solutions to problems, which is a little ironic now as I’ve literally done exactly that!

 

I think this, combined with moving abroad and working on superyachts from 18, taught me a lot. I feelleah tennant and friend working on a yacht like I really grew up within the industry and came into my own, working in a fast-paced environment with little room for error and constantly being on the go gives you a really strong work ethic. I also think it enables you to see a side of life that not a lot of people get to witness at a young age, working for some of the most influential people in the world and seeing what they did to get to that point. I remember working for Melinda Gates on a charter boat and just being in awe of the morals of the company, her morals, and how she was as a person—kind, passionate, and down to earth. I think this really inspired me to pursue an ethical company that would make a difference. At the end of the day I grew up within the superyacht industry; the ocean is a much-loved home for me and a lot of my friends still work in the industry. I just want to protect it and make it a better place for the people working in it/on it.

 

There was an evident gap in the market and a massive problem that had a detrimental effect on crew and on the environment. So, I made it my mission to fix it. A simple solution to a big issue. My grandmother always used to say, “You should always leave a place better than you found it.” That’s what I’m doing with Washdown. It’s not just about the products; it’s the education that’s implemented with it. Knowledge is power and I feel like it’s a duty of care that I’m accountable for and that we have as an industry. It’s not much to ask it to be able to use cleaning products that actually work and won’t give you cancer?

 

What does the future look like for you? Is there anything further you wish to achieve?

 

This is just the start for me. I have big plans for Washdown and what that’s going to look like in the nextleah tennant sat beside marina five years, and I’m so excited to see it executed. I can’t wait for us to become a leading brand globally and be able to give back through our educational programmes.

 

I’m looking forward to working on projects that have a huge social and ecological impact. I can’t wait to see the company grow and to be in a situation where I can give back and enable other start-ups to do the same. For me, it’s bigger than myself or Washdown. It’s about the impact that we’re able to make and the ability to improve so many people’s lives in the meantime through education and luxury experience.

 

Washdown

Washdown, founded by a former superyacht crew member, has developed a range of biotech cleaning products for the superyacht industry. The products protect the welfare of the user and the marine environment, without compromising on performance. The business’s main goal is to make it simple and easy to protect the ocean from single-use plastic and chemical pollution.

 

It offers seven products that have each been formulated to tackle different situations on board: a multi-surface Detailing Spray, Spotless Spray, A Deck’s Hand, Grease Lightning, Purified, Body Wash, and Bad Buoy.

 

You can find more sustainable businesses and services by visiting The Green Blue Business Directory. 

 

Read the article in full on Yachting Pages.

 

Win a bundle of Washdown products

To celebrate the first anniversary of The Green Blue Boating Pledge, all those making their Pledge during the Southampton International Boat Show (15 – 24 September 2023) will be entered into an exciting prize draw to win a bundle of sustainable cleaning products from Washdown.

 

If you’ve already made your own Pledge, send the website link to a friend and they might share the prize with you!

 

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