Our Story

As a former Royal Marine, Henry’s background combines an unquenchable thirst for travel and adventure with a solid, professional grounding in boating.

His years of working in wild and interesting locations with the United Nations provides a unique and rounded approach to how he explores the Norfolk coast, an area he was brought up in and has known all his life.

Henry’s rich experiences have included leading boating missions to negotiate with the White Army in the Sudd of South Sudan, camel operations in the Nuba Mountains and remote travel into the Afghan mountains to drink tea in order to facilitate humanitarian access.

After many enjoyable years abroad, Henry wanted to return home and be with his family, but still maintain an adventurous life based in Norfolk – the ideal solution was the Coastal Exploration Co!

In 2011 he started to source and refurbish three traditional Norfolk boats (Whelk, Crab and Mussel Falt) all requiring complete renovation; the wood work was completed locally, the sails hand made by North Sea Sails and the stringent safety standards had to be negotiated with the MCA to operate commercially.

He is now ready to further explore what he considers to be, ‘a magical corner of the world’ with you!

Our Boats

Each of our clinker-built traditional Norfolk fishing boats have remained in and around Norfolk’s waters since they were built as far back as 1951.

Specifically designed and honed for hundreds of years by generations of fisherman for the unique conditions of the North Sea and strong tides along the North Norfolk Coast.

As a fleet they can transport you anywhere from the quietest creek to an invigorating sail up to three miles from shore.


30’ open wooden gaff rigged whelk boat. Ideal for coastal sailing and camping out with a wood burning stove and canvas tent.

Watch a video about Salford

My girls

20’ open wooden lug rigged crab boat. Ideal for calm coastal sailing, exploring creeks and crossing sand banks.

Watch a video about My Girls

Brancaster mussel flat

16’ open wooden lug rigged row boat. Ideal for exploring the smallest creeks..

Currently undergoing refurbishment.

Individuals and couples can usually be combined, so please get in touch if you do not want an exclusive charter.

Slow food breakfast, lunch and or supper are provided, depending on the timings.

Children under 11 – 20% discount.

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Our boats are based in Wells Next the Sea, but we can operate from any harbour, staithe or creek between Thornam (to the west) and Cley (to the east), thus enabling one-way trips, alternate pick ups and or drop offs.

We try to sail with the weather, to make your charter as enjoyable as possible, and we can also make the most of creek sailing, which can even eliminate the need to go to sea!

The above offers an approximate estimate of how far we can sail on particular tides, but there is a certain amount of flexibility and so the routes can be discussed in further detail.

Foraging and Food

We believe in doing everything properly, so the foraged food or high quality locally sourced meals are just as important to us as every other aspect of your exploration.

For the adventure trips there is an emphasis on coastal field craft and how you can sustain yourself. Foraging, preparing and serving wild food such as mackerel, cockles, mussels and samphire are a part of your experience.

For the relaxed trips our food is organic, whenever possible, and home-cooked. We use a gas stove and a very smart enamel catering set to create and serve your meals. We also love afternoon tea, so there is usually a tin of homemade cake and fresh pot of tea!

Safety and Environment

Henry and skippers have a minimum of Coastal Yacht Master (commercially endorsed) for coastal sailing; however, this is underpinned with local knowledge of the North Norfolk Coast and in Henry’s case, professional small boat training in the Royal Marines with the Special Boat Service (R), with operational experience in the Indian Ocean and the Sudd of South Sudan.

Safety equipment is supplied, including lifejackets, life rafts and all equipment expected to be carried by the MCA for a category 6 coded sailing boat. The coding allows the Coastal Exploration Company to operate a maximum of 3 miles off shore, anywhere between Thornham and Cley.

The Coastal Exploration Company takes safety very seriously, trying to maintain a balance between real adventure and not overdoing it! Every trip is carefully adjusted depending on the expectations, experience and clients’ approach to adventure.

The Coastal Exploration Co works closely with wildlife and conservation agencies along the North Norfolk coast to minimise our footprint. We believe it is a privilege to have access to this stunning piece of coast, we therefore avoid areas of sensitive wildlife and never leave any rubbish and or sign.


Our Films

cec full film
crabber 1 min film
beer under sail
marsh adventure

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Call Us

+44 (0) 7484 736 283

Working with

Purfleet Trust Grey Seal Coffee Mission Performance Norfolk Gin Norfolk Wildlife Trust New Dawn Traders Norfolk Country Cottages SCA