Who Are We?

David Thomson the Managing Director founded the Company in 2010 with Co-Director Gareth Davies. Orcades Marine is all about the people, and the personnel that spearhead our work are specialists in their field, justified by extensive experience, practical application and appropriate professional qualification.

Captain David Thomson : Managing Director

Captain David Thomson

Managing Director

David is Managing Director of Orcades Marine Management Consultants Ltd and has completed several successful installations of tidal and wave devices. He has led the way in providing marine installation consultancy and is applying his considerable expertise in this sector to providing third party advisory, verification and warranty services to the industry. He has a broad knowledge base in port management, port operations, and port infrastructure development and has led a number of successful and significant port consultancy projects. He has also project managed and worked on a variety of maritime operations including specialised towage and salvage operations, subsea deployments and inter tidal and port infrastructure development. He has headed up a variety of challenging and successful ship management turnkey projects and has the practical experience in command of a variety of ships including dynamically positioned offshore vessels, and tugs. He is a Master Mariner and a qualified Marine Surveyor and Auditor.

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Captain Harry Williams : Captain

Captain Harry Williams


  Harry specializes in, ISM, ISPS, ISO external and internal audits and TMSA based Management reviews and OCIMF Sire inspections. He also carries out Sale and Purchase Inspections as well as Time Charter Inspections, together with Expert Witness work for various Law Firms. He has written and implemented ISM/ISO for a company ISM System. He has acted as advisor to the Chamber of Shipping on behalf of the Short Sea Group and represented the British Motor Ship Owners on various MCA regional safety committee forums. He has been a Director of the Ship Safe Training Group involved in cadet training and has acted in an advisory capacity to the Merchant Navy Training board on cadet training. He developed and managed the Whitaker Group Cadet program which has injected some 278 young officers into the industry. He also developed and encouraged Company Near miss and KPI reporting system which has been highly commended by several Oil Majors.

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Captain Chris Tait : Captain

Captain Chris Tait


Chris is a Master Mariner and has worked as a Marine Consultant and Marine Superintendent for Orcades Marine on a number of marine renewable and offshore projects such as the deployment of the wave energy converters, and tidal devices, and undertaking Third Party Verification carrying our mooring suitability inspections and the review of marine installation and operating procedures. He also undertakes vessel inspections and safety audits. He has extensive offshore experience with Heavy Lifts, and Dynamic Positioning vessels, and also Anchor Handling vessels and applies this experience to the marine renewable energy industry with a particular knowledge and practical experience of subsea connectors and moorings. He is a competent and experienced offshore safety adviser, and technical report writer. Chris is also sails as Master of a passenger vessel sailing across the Pentland Firth between Orkney and mainland Scotland.

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Captain Lee Groat : Captain

Captain Lee Groat


Lee is a Class 1 Master Mariner and a qualified and experienced Class 1 Pilot for Orkney Harbour Authority. He has also held a Fishing Skipper Class 1 and Fishing Engineer Class 2 certification. He has extensive experience in the offshore oil and gas sector with dynamic positioning systems and has worked on both ROV and dive support vessels. He is also an experienced tow master and a semi-submersible rig mover. He has worked on a number of projects in the marine renewable energy industry primarily in wave and tidal installation projects. He has port operations experience as a VTS operator and in his varied career he has also sailed as Master on board large passenger ferries around the waters of North. Lee began his seafaring career in the fishing industry and co-owned and skippered a whitefish trawler working in harsh northern waters.

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Dr Gareth Davies PhD : Director

Dr Gareth Davies PhD


Gareth is a Director of Orcades Marine and is Managing Director of sister company Aquatera Ltd, where he has worked as an environmental consultant and project manager for over 20 years. He trained initially as a marine biologist, completing a PhD in Deep Sea Biology. He has since completed over 350 projects covering a wide range of environmental and operational topics. His key attributes with regard to his work are his breadth of vision regarding environmental, industrial and political issues, his ability to communicate effectively with people of all backgrounds and his enthusiasm for the tasks to be completed to fulfil a scope of work. Gareth’s management strengths lie in his team leadership qualities founded on commitment and leading by example, his ability to establish good client relations, his strength in shouldering responsibility for the actions of the team as a whole, and his approach to management systems on the basis that they should facilitate work rather than be an end in themselves.

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Captain Graeme Smith : Captain

Captain Graeme Smith


Graeme is a senior consultant with Orcades Marine. He is a Master Mariner and an experienced Class 1 Marine Pilot and has made significant contributions to the production and refinement of standard operating procedures for pilotage and towage. He is also offshore manager during OMMC marine operations and Marine and HSE Representative for Clients. He is a specialist in port navigation and assessment of navigational and berthing risk. His knowledge of port and vessel operations is diverse from VLCC’s, cruise ships offshore support vessels, to tugs and tows and berthing some of the largest tankers afloat which demands the expert management of several powerful tugs for each operation. Graeme has also worked ashore in Counter Pollution and as Safety Officer in a Management role, and his career has been underpinned by a varied seagoing background including container vessels and offshore supply vessels.

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Alexandra Tait : HSQA Manager

Alexandra Tait

HSQA Manager

Alexandra is an experienced quality and marine risk control manager with a particular emphasis on marine and port operations. She qualified as watch keeping officer holding STCW II/1 OOW and completed her Diploma in Marine Surveying and is studying for a degree in Marine Surveying. She is also qualified as VTS Operator (V1 03/1) and as such she has a strong working knowledge of the port industry and the operational interface and requirements of pilotage, tugs, pilot boats and the responsibilities of port operators. She has completed IOSH safety management training and NEBOSH. She is competent in “Autocad” and other specialist maritime related software. She has gained practical experience in ship inspection, safety auditing, and inshore hydrographic surveying work and is very knowledgeable of ISO 9001 2015, OHSAS 18001, Small Vessel coding requirements, the requirements of the ISM Code, the Port Marine Safety Code and other maritime international regulatory and operational requirements.

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Tracy Thomson : Finance Manager

Tracy Thomson

Finance Manager

Tracy has been involved in the shipping and port operations industry for more than 25 years. She managed an independent ship agency and a seafarers manning agency and brings this experience to the company providing logistics support and human resource management. She has also managed ship delivery contracts on location including working in such diverse places as Brazil and Denmark. She is also uses her experience in marketing and business development and manages the financial affairs and administration of the company.

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Alastair Whyte :

Alastair Whyte

Alastair is a Class 1 Chief Engineer and has been carrying out vessel survey and engineering consultancy works including bunker surveys and ballast water sampling, and working on the tendering for new build vessels. Having been employed for over 20 years on passenger ferries Alastair has worked closely with both Lloyds Register and MCA surveyors while in service and throughout annual dry dockings/refits. During this period, as well as day to day operation and maintenance of plant, he has been involved in preparation and execution of dry dock schedules, ensuring machinery survey complies with Certificate of Class and ISM code issues including regular audits/inspections. In addition to the operational side he was involved in planning of the present generation of local outer island ferries, and attendance at the builders for the later stages of building, final fitting out, sea trials and completion.

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Steve Davies :

Steve Davies

Steve has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and specialised in International Marketing. He is an experienced senior port consultant specialising in strategy, business development and senior port management, and has worked on a number of significant port related projects in UK and abroad. Prior to becoming a consultant Steve was Chief Executive of Portland Harbour Authority which was a new market entrant in the UK seaport market. He developed the business from start up to becoming one of the top four best UK seaport in growth, return on capital, profitability, and customer service. He was Group Development Manager for Milford Haven Port Authority responsible for the project management of a £30 million capital expenditure programme. He is greatly experienced in UK start up marine business, and also provides an outstanding track record of success in this respect.

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Dave Cousins :

Dave Cousins

Dave is a resourceful, adaptable consultant experienced in the operational and safety management of installation and operational activities for marine renewable technology. Focussed on strong safety performance and able to apply sound technical knowledge derived from a broad engineering background encompassing marine, mechanical and electrical engineering. Has proven ability to successfully manage engineering processes with minimal support in both office and remote site environments. Adaptable to different work environments both on and offshore as client representative. He has previously worked as Operations Manager for Aquamarine Power and prior to that for the European Marine Energy Centre and has practical experience of the recovery, lay down and cable connection on the EMEC test sites in Orkney. Dave has a MSc in Information Processing, a BSc Hons in Environmental Science and obtained his HNC Electrical, Electronic & Mechanical when he was a Technician and Artificer in HM Forces (Army)

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Michael Holgate :

Michael Holgate

Michael has over 30 years HSE consultancy and project management experience in the oil & gas sector, together including more than 9 years of experience in the marine renewables sector. He has worked for Governments, International Oil Companies, International Finance Institutions and service companies at all stages in the design process. Michael started working offshore as a roughneck before joining BP as a Drilling Fluids Engineer. He went on to broaden his environmental skills as an associate with Herriot Watt Universities’ Institute of Offshore Engineering, mainly working on national and international Environmental Impact Assessments. He turned his attention to the emerging renewable energy sector and has since divided his time between marine renewable energy projects and EU sustainable energy & security projects in Central Asia, Caucasus and Black Sea regions.

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Brian Pottinger :

Brian Pottinger

Brian is very experienced professional consultant in port operations, having worked at a senior management level in VTS, Pilotage and berthing operations, delivering management systems under the Port Marine Safety Code, Port Security and Counter Pollution. He has an in depth knowledge of Port operations fully grounded with practical marine experience on Pilot boats and as Chief Officer on a variety of passenger vessels. Brian has worked as a professional port manager, mariner and marine consultant for nearly 25 years and has an in depth understanding of the requirements of a successful port operation and the management and interface between different stakeholders and customers using port facilities. He has the practical knowledge of the management of berthing operations and managed the installation and upgrade of a new VTS traffic management system for a Harbour Authority having jurisdiction over several multipurpose berths, bunker berths, a large cruise port, and a tanker terminal.

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