Ambitious plans for a 21st century network

Marina 21, a new group in Croatia, aims to build a network of modern, first-class marinas in the Mediterranean region. With three marinas in Novigrad, Trogir and Pula, the network currently boasts a combined 859 wet berths and 206 dry berths, with ambitious plans for more along the Adriatic coast. Charlotte Niemiec reports

Marina Nautica in Novigrad is a shell-shaped first-class marina offering 365 wet berths and 50 dry berths. Full yacht service and maintenance facilities are on site

Marina Nautica in Novigrad is a shell-shaped first-class marina offering 365 wet berths and 50 dry berths. Full yacht service and maintenance facilities are on site

Last year, Czech investment group EMMA Capital signed acquisition contracts for three Croatian marinas located on the Adriatic coast. It named the newly emerging group Marina 21, as a nod to both the year and its aim to build a modern network of marinas “fit for the 21st century”. Each marina offers berths in attractive yachting and tourist destinations, complemented by excellent customer service.
Group director, Paulina Ilic, explains what attributes the group looks for in a marina when considering adding it to the network: “In general, we are looking at marinas in Croatia and Greece, ideally with more than 200 berths, good accessibility, sufficient service area and dry dock. It’s hard to find a marina that fits this criteria, but we are in the due diligence stage with some of them.”
Pavel Horak, partner in EMMA Capital, explains the history behind the group: “It is linked to the passion for sailing of one the partners in the investment group. This partner understands nautical tourism and wants to do it sustainably, taking into consideration the protection of the sea, the coast and the entire ecosystem.”
Boat service focus
Chief among the network’s vision over the next ten years is to build a group of marinas offering reliable, excellent boat maintenance and repair services to a high standard of quality. “We are proud of the quality of maintenance and repair services at our marinas,” Ilic says. “We’re here not only for our clients with annual berths, but also for external clients. This is a key focus for us and an area in which we’d like to improve further. We’re not just a ‘parking place’ for boats – we provide complex services. As every boat owner knows, regular maintenance is the best and cheapest way to prevent any future difficulties.”
In recent years, the dry dock at Trogir Marina achieved a unique position in the field of yacht service and repair – now the group is expanding its know-how to its other marinas.

In addition to boat services, Marina 21 hopes to offer charter services that allow boaters to charter a vessel from one marina to another, as long as the member has a berth agreement at one marina.
“Because Marina 21 is a new group, we’re just at the beginning of our journey,” explains Ilic. “We’ve not yet gone in the direction of creating an app for boaters to use across the network, but depending on how quickly we expand, we might go this way.”
Ilic’s extensive experience in the sector makes her perfectly placed to direct the group. “Since 2006, I’ve been actively involved in nautical tourism. In my many years of work, I’ve followed the design, construction and management of four marinas. In 2021, EMMA Capital appeared as a new stakeholder in nautical tourism in Croatia and bought Marina Nautica in Novigrad, launching the transaction process for Marina Trogir at the same time.
Marina Trogir in the central part of the Adriatic coast has extensive wet and dry berths and very comprehensive boatyard facilities

Marina Trogir in the central part of the Adriatic coast has extensive wet and dry berths and very comprehensive boatyard facilities

“During this transaction process and our frequent communications, we recognised our compatibility, finding we had the same goals and visions. As a consequence, Marina Nautica was added. I must point out that the management of our three marinas includes two other key people – Nenad Juric and Tudor Bilic, who have exceptional maritime abilities, knowledge and skills and are involved in all levels of the business operation.”
Sustainable roots
With sustainability a driving force behind the establishment of the group, Marina 21 has a laser focus on the environment, aiming not only to create a pleasant atmosphere for clients but also to have operations that preserve the long-term beauty and viability of the places where the marinas are located.

“All our marinas are adapted and equipped with ecological yards to receive various types of waste, special places to dispose of hazardous waste and, in all our marinas, we have pumps for emptying vessel tanks. Hotel Nautica just received a ConsumelessMed award for Sustainable Tourism in the Coastal Areas of the Mediterranean. We have significantly reduced our energy and water consumption and we are part of the Green Sail Association, regularly holding training for employees on proper waste management, care for the environment – and we conduct exercises in case of pollution.”
The marinas
“Croatia is justifiably called the ‘land of the thousand islands’, with more than 1,200 Croatian islands offering natural beauty, a rich culture and gastronomic luxuries,” Ilic says. The mild Mediterranean climate, with its 2,400 to 2,800 hours of sunshine a year, ranks among the sunniest in Europe. “Guests at our marinas will find a safe and quiet place, as well as the opportunity to enjoy our excellent food and staff willing to help them with whatever they need,” she adds.
Located on the north-western coast of Istria, Marina Nautica in Novigrad is an exceptionally equipped first-class marina with a unique, shell-like pier arrangement offering 365 wet berths and 50 dry berths. It boasts full yacht service and technical assistance with all maintenance needs. A travel lift can accommodate vessels up to 80 tonnes. Other services include restaurants, a hotel, wellness centre with pools and saunas, and conference facilities.
Novigrad has a rich history, with narrow ancient streets and secular architecture nestled in the medieval layout of the city centre.
Spacious and modern, Marina Trogir in Trogir sits in the central part of the Adriatic coast, nestled in a bay protected from winds and storms. The marina has 232 wet berths and 114 dry berths. It boasts 600 tonne and 100 tonne travel lifts, 300 tonne and 60 tonne self-propelled trailers, boat service and maintenance, a nautical shop, charter agencies, grocery market and a restaurant.
The first phase of all-new Marina Polesana opened in Pula in April with 262 wet berths. When phase two completes, the marina will have well in excess of 1,000

The first phase of all-new Marina Polesana opened in Pula in April with 262 wet berths. When phase two completes, the marina will have well in excess of 1,000

The historic city of Trogir, dating back to the 3rd century BC, tops the list of places to visit not only in Dalmatia, but in the whole of Croatia. The Trogir archipelago, dotted with islands, islets and tranquil bays with accessible land routes, has attracted numerous conquerors, seafarers, traders and chance travellers since ancient times.
The 10ha (25 acre) Marina Polesana in Pula has 262 wet berths and 42 dry berths, a crane, boat maintenance services, premium facilities and services, with a restaurant opening soon. The seafront city of Pula sits on the top of the Istrian Peninsula. Nearby, the national park of Brijuni Archipelago is an attractive group of islands open to visitors. The majority are left untouched, with smaller islands almost completely covered by an ancient holm oak forest.
The first phase of Marina Polesana completed in time for a grand opening in early April with a 262-berth floating marina delivered by Marinetek Adriatic (see Marina World May/June 2022). Around 900 additional berths and a hotel are planned for phase two.


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