Renovations, partnership and acquisitions

In 2023, ‘mega projects’ fell down the priority list, with much of the industry looking to renovate existing infrastructure. Mergers and acquisitions dominated news around the world as marinas sought to expand and improve on their current offerings. Charlotte Niemiec picks out some highlights.

Lighthouse Point Marina in Florida was the first of several US acquisitions last year for Port 32 Marinas.

Lighthouse Point Marina in Florida was the first of several US acquisitions last year for Port 32 Marinas.

A new basin at Dover Marina in Dover, UK opened in April as part of the town’s plan to revitalise its waterfront. Surrounded by the ‘Marina Curve’ – a large outdoor entertainment space completed in 2021 – it is ideally positioned to attract locals and visitors. It offers a total of 160 berths for yachts and small leisure boats. Renovations to Wellington Dock are expected to be complete by April 2024. These will bring a further 135 berths to Dover and complement the facilities available at the town’s Outer Marina.
In Dartmouth, MDL Marinas sold its Dartside Quay boatyard to the owners of nearby Dolphin Haven, a boatyard with berthing services just across the Glampton Creek waters. The purchase was followed by substantial site investment. With space for over 300 boats ashore, the seven-acre (2.8ha) dry boat storage area is serviced by a 65-tonne Wise hoist, which operates from a purpose-built dock. A 20-tonne Wise trailer also operates from the slipway.
James Watt Marina on the River Clyde at Greenock, Scotland secured its expansion plans by leasing around 6ha (14.8 acres) of additional land and water. The marina, whose masterplan was drawn up by UK specialist consultancy Marina Projects, will use the Great Harbour space to develop a marine trade centre.
[p2]Marina Projects was also heavily involved in plans to further develop the popular 530-berth marina and harbour in the City of Bangor, Co Down, Northern Ireland. The plans aim to reposition Bangor Marina and its associated facilities as a mixed-use development in a new cluster with iconic and high-quality architecture. The marina will better connect the city centre to the waterfront so as to drive tourism and support the local economy.
Developments kept up their usual pace in the Mediterranean. In Spain, marina group D-Marin added three marinas: Puerto Deportivo de Estepona, Puerto Marina La Duquesa and Puerto Marina del Esta. Each is located on the Costa del Sol and together they offer a total of 1,000 berths. The group also partnered up with Italian luxury yachting group Azimut Benetti to add 1,800 berths across three marinas in Italy. Under the terms of the deal, D-Marin acquired a significant stake in Marina di Valetta and Porto Mediceo in Livorno, and commenced a commercial integration with the award-winning Marina di Varazze.
[p3]Construction work began on Marina Jandía, a new facility in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands. Part of Calero Marinas, the project has a capacity of 310 berths and completion is scheduled for early 2024.
In Portugal, the Lisbon Port Administration improved infrastructure at Alcântara by renovating the floating walkways and installing new fingers. Lindley Marinas supplied, installed and refurbished the floating equipment and added 64 new berths. Lindley also completed rebuilds in the fishing port of Setúbal near Lisbon, where it installed concrete pontoons to replace the existing infrastructure. The contract followed the company’s work at Doca des Fontainhas, where it replaced 270m (890ft) of linear galvanised steel floating structures and fingers.
[p4]In Italy, the Tuscany Marine Consortium proposed developing the Marina Arcipelago Toscano di Piombino project – a large marina to accommodate 656 boats of 8 to 20m (26 to 66ft) in length, with piers scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023 and early 2024.
Porto Carlo Riva in Rapallo on the east coast of Liguria, Italy, was rebuilt following the devastation caused by a major storm in 2018. A new 7m (23ft) high breakwater, comprising 170,000 tons of natural boulders, was installed. More than 190 new berths and new fixed piers were added to completely rebuild the port at a cost of almost €80 million.
Marina di Imperia in Porto Maurizio was finally set to be completed after a ten-year delay. Berths along Via Scarincio will adjoin a reinforced fixed quayside while a two-storey yacht club will comprise office space, a bar and restaurant, and an overhauled car park.
[p5]Plans for the Marina Arcipelago Toscano di Piombino were granted the green light – a large marina expected to open in 2024 in Piombino. The marina will accommodate 656 boats of 8 to 20m (26 to 66ft) in length.
Across the Mediterranean Sea, D-Marin led a partnership with TEMES SA to deliver a premium marina experience in Pylos on Navarino Bay on the southwest coast of Peloponnese, Greece. Pylos Marina currently has berthing capacity for 129 yachts up to 30m (98ft) in length. Meanwhile on Crete, Camper & Nicholsons Marinas agreed to provide management, operational and branding services to the boutique marina at Elounda Hills, an ultra-luxury sustainable resort on the Mediterranean island.
[p6]In Croatia, the second phase of pontoon installation was finalised at the Port of Novalja on the island of Pag. Marinetek Adriatic installed 18 Premier pontoons and three breakwater modules to complete the project, which offers 190 permanent and seasonal berths. A 60m (197ft) long breakwater was built as the site experiences challenging weather conditions and relatively high waves.
D-Marin installed a visually impressive €1.7 million solar power network to increase its current investment in renewable sources at Borik, Mandalina and Dalmacija marinas in Croatia, and works are ongoing at two of the company’s Turkish marinas, Didim and Turgutreis. Combined, the panels produce 4.9GWh of energy per year – the equivalent annual energy consumption of 1,345 households – which equates to 71% of the energy used by D-Marin across the five marinas.
[p7]A new marina was completed directly in front of the main gate of the stunning medieval walled town of Kotor in Montenegro. The investment offers mooring for 142 boats from 8-50m (26-164ft) in length at a Marinetek floating marina system.
North America and the Caribbean
Acquisitions dominated the year’s activities in North America, with multiple purchases for marina group Port 32 Marinas. Its first – Lighthouse Point Marina on the Intracoastal Waterway – added 102 wet slips for boats of 25 to 80ft (8 to 24m) and a large popular restaurant with six visitor slips. The marina had been family-owned and operated for over 50 years and had never been up for sale. The group also celebrated the grand opening of Port 32 Fort Lauderdale, Florida in June. The modern and versatile full-service facility was built from the ground up to accommodate vessels of all sizes up to 180ft (55m). The wet slips are designed for vessels up to 150ft (46m) for in-water repairs and refits.
Meanwhile, Suntex Marina Investors acquired Roosevelt Lake Marina in Arizona, Fair Haven Yacht Works and Green Cove Marina, both in New Jersey. Green Cove is a full-service marina along the coastline with around 250 slips ranging from 14-46ft (4-14m). It has a full range of amenities and is situated on 8.5 acres (3.4ha) within a fully protected natural breakwater.
Integra Marinas – a leading owner, developer and operator of marinas in major coastal growth markets along the east coast – acquired The Perry Marina on Stock Island in Florida’s Key West. It is the largest deep-water marina in the Florida Keys, offering 288 wet slips on Bellingham Marine floating concrete docks and can berth superyachts up to 350ft (107m) in length. It also purchased Williams Island Marina in Aventura, Florida. The marina spans 14 acres (5.7ha) and offers 106 wet slips at a combination of fixed and floating docks. Vessels of up to 160ft (49m) can be accommodated with unobstructed access from the Intracoastal Waterway.
Full-service marina and yacht repair facility Bradford Marine’s purchase of the neighbouring Roscioli Yachting Center created South Florida’s ‘biggest’ marina. Key elements of the merged sites include expanded lift capacity via the addition of a 320-ton machine; an additional 5,000ft (1,520m) of covered dockage bringing the total on site to over 19,000ft (5,800m) for yachts up to 180ft (55m); and an additional 1,000ft (300m) of covered drystack that brings Bradford Marine’s total dry dockage to 3,500ft (1,070m).
[p8]Investment firm Monarch Alternative Capital formed Go Outdoors, a platform to acquire, develop and operate marinas and RV resorts across the USA. The platform will initially comprise 11 marinas and four RV resorts offering over 5,500 marina slips in Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
Family-owned company Ross Marine opened a 160-slip drystack at the newly-built Clark Island Marina in South Carolina, with a second phase planned to double the number of drystack spaces available.
In Canada, the National Yacht Club in Toronto invested nearly $5 million in a new aluminium floating marina system to replace its ageing infrastructure.
In the Bahamas, a megayacht marina was announced as part of the $250 million Calypso Cove cruise port project at Long Island. A 200-room hotel, casino, waterpark, 18-hole golf course and retail outlets are part of the plan. Construction was expected to start by the end of 2023 or early 2024.
Also in the Bahamas, an agreement was signed to develop Bluewater Cay Marina in the Yamacraw area on the southeast side of Nassau. Leading hospitality and property developer, Legendary Marina, is on an ambitious multimillion dollar mission to create a resort that will transform the yachting landscape. The centrepiece of the marina plan is a 120-slip dock capable of accommodating boats up to at least 200ft (61m) and a dry storage facility for 750 boats of up to 55ft (16.7m) in length. The drystack will be rated for a Category 5 hurricane. The marina will also boast excellent accommodation, restaurant spaces, a tiki bar with a pool, a general store and onsite fuelling facilities.
With the conceptual design and marina site plan now completed, work on the innovative Porto Habacoa superyacht marina and ultra-luxury resort in South Abaco was poised to begin. Designed from the ground up to provide flexible berth sizes and give large yachts generous manoeuvring space, the marina will offer 152 wet slips of 60 to 700ft (12 to 213m) and drystack storage for 200 boats. All docks will have fuel and pump-out points. The marina basin will be surrounded by a range of different residential offerings, a yacht club, a small casino, and a marina village with shops and restaurants.
St George’s Marina and Superyacht Dock on Ordnanace Island in Bermuda officially opened for superyachts in May. The facility is able to accommodate up to ten superyachts and has a 170ft (52m) fixed concrete pier and an additional 140ft (43m) floating dock.
[p9]Marina Technologies Inc (MTI) replaced the dock system at Blue Haven Resort on Leeward Channel in Providenciales Island, which was destroyed by Hurricane Irma in 2019. The marina, long-renowned for its boutique-style charm and idyllic location, now offers 71 slips for megayachts up to 220ft (67m) at a heavy-duty aluminium dock arrangement manufactured at MTI’s factory in Montreal, Canada. Special features of the rebuilt marina include in-slip pump-out, ample electricity supply and in-slip high-speed fuelling using built-in hydrants and mobile fuel carts. This eliminates large and unsightly dockside fuel dispensers and pumps. Wide-ranging services and amenities are offered to marina guests including a crew lounge.
Australia and New Zealand
In Australia, Melbourne City completed a $1.97 million upgrade of the city’s marina in Victoria Harbour, enabling it to better welcome larger vessels.
Sydney’s Heritage-listed Jones Bay Marina received council approval for an upgrade to address the shortage of marina berths for large vessels in Sydney Harbour and see significant capital poured into the harbourside marina over the course of the year.
The world-renowned Rivergate Marina & Shipyard on the Brisbane River in Queensland went up for sale, as it announced plans for a major expansion to support the fast-growing superyacht industry. Yard facilities include 300-tonne and 75-tonne mobile hoists, a 55m (180ft) refit shed, hardstand, berthing for vessels up to 90m (295ft), a 24-hour fuel wharf and over 20 on-site marine trades. The 105-berth marina has all-tide deepwater access. Rivergate’s expansion plans include a 3,000 tonne ship lift, additional open hardstand space, refit sheds and support building, and in-water service berths suitable for a wide range of superyachts, commercial and defence vessels.
The McGowan Government delivered a major funding boost for the coastal pool at Perth’s Ocean Reef Marina waterfront precinct. The marina’s new project budget of $223 million will see the coastal pool become an iconic new destination, with the pool deck extended and the addition of an architecturally-designed hospitality building. It is expected to be a significant tourism draw for Ocean Reef and Western Australia. Once complete, Ocean Reef Marina will provide recreational, tourism, residential and boating facilities for local residents and visitors. The new marina will have up to 550 wet berths and a drystack for 200 boats, new boat ramps, more than double the existing trailer parking and a family beach.
[p10]In New Zealand, Whitianga Marina in Mercury Bay completed an ambitious 16-month renovation and expansion project with new pontoons and walkways, and a unique curved sea wall. The new highlight sea wall is both durable and efficient to protect the marina basin from heavy ferry and yacht wakes and wind-generated waves. Whitianga Marina can accommodate 231 vessels ranging in length from 10 to 24m (33 to 79ft) and is a Certified Clean Marina.
Middle East and Africa
In Egypt, Marinetek designed, manufactured and installed the floating pontoon elements at Ismailia Yacht Marina on Al Temsah Lake, the first marina on the Suez Canal, which will have 96 berths for vessels of 10-40m (33-131ft) in length. The Suez Canal Authority, the project investor, planned to open the first phase of the marina by the end of June and will build a modern service centre and other related facilities in subsequent phases. The marina will encourage smaller yachts to stop and rest in the Canal on their way between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea and is a significant step in the country’s aim to further develop its nautical tourism.
Saudi Arabia announced plans to develop Sindalah, the first luxury island destination in the ‘Neom’ smart city project and one of the most important projects supporting the country’s national tourism strategy. Scheduled to open in 2024, Sindalah is expected to reshape the luxury international yachting calendar by offering a new season for visitors and guests to enjoy. Perfectly positioned as a glamorous gateway to the Red Sea, Sindalah will be the closest ultra-prime superyacht marina to Europe and the Mediterranean. Expected to become an iconic destination for the world’s yachting community, the maritime facility will offer 86 berths for yachts up to 50m (164ft) and additional serviced offshore buoys for superyachts up to 180m (590ft). Superyacht maintenance company MB92 Group entered into a partnership with Neom to establish a 10,000m˛ (107,600ft˛) yacht repair facility at Sindalah.
Finally, Dubai-based master developer Nakheel launched a new marina along the northern coastline at Dubai Islands. The marina, which will accommodate 13 superyachts up to 47m (154ft) in length amid its 248 berths, will have easy entry to the sea and 40 dry berths for trailers up to 20m (66ft). Features include 24/7 dock assistance, complimentary club car transfer, utilities and ice supply, waste collection, pump-out, free Wi-Fi, showers, washrooms and a laundrette. Security systems in place include 24/7 CCTV surveillance and gated access. The newly opened Dubai Islands Beach is within walking distance of the marina, hotels just steps away.


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