A Look Back at 2012 in the Marina Industry

YCCS Marina, Virgin Gorda

The extra wide floating docks at YCCS marina are perfect for accommodating the crowds of people that visit the facility during the club’s annual Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous.

The passing of time is inevitable; another year has come and gone and we are now well into 2013. For the marina industry, 2012 continued a steady march forward toward greater innovation, higher customization and a stronger push for value. Part fueled by tighter budgets and part by improvements in materials and technologies, the marina industry is becoming leaner and more advanced.

A look back at the many discussions with owners and developers over the year reveals an ever increasing importance being placed by owners on aesthetics, functionality and last but not least value.

Many of the trends in aesthetics center on customization and personalization. Each year, the number of clients requesting colored and /or stamped concrete docks increases. Rounded finger ends are becoming a standard feature in Australia and are continuing to increase in popularity in the U.S., use of LED lighting is becoming more widespread, and requests for hardwood and composite trim packages are starting to show up in large public projects. The high-end finishes and architectural details once reserved for the most elite marina facilities are making their way into the mainstream. Those looking for more elaborate designs are taking notes from the yachting industry. Sleek finishes, organic styling and use of advanced lighting technologies are setting the stage for today’s most luxurious marina properties.

Many new marinas are also looking for ways to maximize the functionality of their facility. Extra wide, stable walkways promote universal access for boaters of all physical abilities and support crowds during events enabling marinas to open their doors to a greater number of users. Floating platforms provide potential for the generation of additional revenue streams by doubling as rentable event space. Advancements in innovation, such as telescoping pile, have also made it possible for marinas to maximize the clear area on the docks providing a cleaner and more user friendly surface area.

Best value, defined as the tradeoff between price and performance that provides the greatest overall benefit for a specific buyer, has long been a driving force in purchase decisions. For the owners of marinas the tradeoff usually includes the desire for optimal functionality, a long service life with minimal maintenance cost and amenities that cater to the area’s boaters with the need to stay within a tight budget.

For marinas, their most significant savings can be realized when the design, manufacture and construction of the dock system, utilities and pile design are coordinated by a single company that performs these tasks on a regular basis. Examples of owners reaping the benefits of partnering with such a company are endless. Over 2012, Bellingham Marine was able to save owners hundreds of thousands of dollars by partnering with them as a design/build contractor.

The key for marina owners looking for the best value is to keep an open mind as they move through the design, permitting and pricing stages of the project. The design and construction of a marina is a unique and complex process. To build a marina in the most cost effective manner while not sacrificing quality or functionality requires intimate knowledge of the interconnections that exist between the different components (ie. the dock system, the utilities, the anchoring system, upland interfaces and connection points, accessories, etc…).

A good marina builder will take the time to sit down with you and carefully dissect the many parts and pieces of the project to identify that which each party can do most cost effectively. This approach takes flexibility from both parties but is truly the key to maximizing your project’s value.

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