The Marina Industry In 2014

 

Stamped concrete decks are an easy way to add an architectural detail to you marina

Stamped concrete decks are an easy way to add an architectural detail to your marina facility.

As one year comes to a close and a new year begins, we are often asked “what is your outlook for the coming year for the marina industry” or “what are some of the trends you’re seeing and what can we expect to see more of.”

Although much of our comments are logged by editors and shared in their publications, I thought it worthwhile to share some of our comments directly with our readers…

Worldwide, from our perspective, things are starting to turn.  Marinas are beginning to see the increase in boat sales trickle down into their occupancy rates, money is loosening up and governments in emerging markets seem to be taking a more active interest in their boating and marina industries.  We remain optimistic that in 2014 and coming years the industry as a whole will continue to grow and prosper.

As far as trends, customization, aesthetics, longevity, quality and best value reign in the marina industry.  Purpose built facilities that are designed with intention is a common characteristic of many of the projects coming on line. Docks and supporting upland amenities are being tailor fit to the needs of specific user groups. Port developers and owners are also finding that their best value most often comes when their project is perfectly suited to their site, their clients and their use. By partnering with an experienced marina builder who specializes in design /build marina projects, owners and developers can actually get more for their money than they would if they approached the project from a more traditional design, bid, build approach or if they went with a pre-engineered, cookie cutter system.

In the end, the goal for all marinas is to have a financially viable business.  By approaching the design and construction of the docks and other marina systems at the facility from a customized approach, owners can really begin to pick and choose on a very detailed level those amenities and qualities that will return the most to their bottom line. For example, is it more cost effective to have a marina with a universal freeboard, which many do, or can we can provide a higher freeboard for larger boats and a lower freeboard for smaller boats without it affecting the cost or can we even find a savings there?  My point with this example is not that all marinas should have varying freeboards but rather to illustrate how the concept of customization can be applied to a project on a detailed level.

This type of approach often requires more dialogue between the owner and the marina builder in the initial phase but in the end is well worth the investment and is really the key to finding that sweet spot where everything in the design is maximized to achieve the best value for the project.  Which is what everyone wants, right?  We want the very best our money can buy? There is some work upfront but developers that go this route are more satisfied with the outcome of their project, have a greater sense of pride in their facility, and are better positioned to reach out to their target markets with success.

We’ve talked about the trends we’re seeing in aesthetics in past issues, so I will just brush over it quickly.  Colored /stamp concrete decks are continuing to grow in popularity around the world.  We’ve had a few recent projects do a timber deck on top of a concrete dock to get the stability and longevity associated with a concrete system but the look and warmth of timber – this may be something we’ll start to see more of. Rounded finger ends, curved attenuators and curved interior walkways are proving to be more than just a fad and composite or hardwood trim packages on concrete docks are becoming associated with quality craftsmanship much like the beautiful trim packs found in traditional craftsman homes.  Accent lights, use of LED lights and custom gates and gangways are also making their way into more and more projects.

At the core of all of this is the marina’s desire to create a quality, long lasting facility that is financially strong and successful for years to come.  For more information on any of the topics discussed in this article please contact us at bmi@bellingham-marine.com

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