More and more marinas are embracing a “green” approach to the design, construction and operation of their facilities. So, how do marinas that have taken this approach leverage their efforts to market their brand and increase their goodwill? We interviewed Jamie Welsh, CEO and founder of the environmental-services consulting firm 10% Solution to learn more.
As every operator knows, the marina industry is changing. Boat owners are becoming more conscious of the environment; they are beginning to see the earth’s resources are finite and the environment as fragile. Marina operators with an ecology story to tell can develop effective marketing programs that reach out to current and new generations of boaters.
Ecology marketing has power for three reasons. (1) An ecology story evokes universally positive associations. (2) Ecology is a simple, direct message that appeals on an emotional level. It commands attention and is easy to remember. (3) Marinas can leverage their ecology story to build connections to the community. While “cause marketing” has been misused at times, marina operators, as a group, should embrace it. We have much to be proud of. The industry’s record on the environment is excellent.
Concern for the environment is not just good marketing—a healthy environment is essential for the future of boating. The past 30 to 40 years have seen outstanding technical breakthroughs. Pollution-leaching materials are virtually gone and in-dock pump out systems, fuel-dock leakage-control devices and bilge-oil containment systems are becoming commonplace.
The topic of replacement cost is a subject I wrote on several years ago; however, I think it’s an important topic for marina owners and one worth revisiting. Whether you’ve recently completed a total rebuild of your marina or are beginning to realize that the life of your current docks is finite, taking a good look at the future replacement cost is an exercise worth doing. It makes good business sense and will help you better plan and prepare for the future of your marina.
The question for many marina owners is “what will it cost to replace our docks in ‘x’ number of years and how will we fund it?”
Although there are a number of variables that will affect the answer to this question, the heart of the question can be answered by calculating the time value of money and the future cost of a marina rebuild.
Here is a list of the variables that you’ll need in order to make a reasonable estimate.
One of the business strategies of a successful marina operator is that they look for and find opportunities where others see nothing. By approaching the design and operation of their facility with an eye for solutions that capitalize on site-specific features and have long term financial viability they are able to identify opportunities that generate financial profit and wealth.
As many marinas would attest, fees from slip rentals alone are rarely enough to keep a marina afloat (no pun intended). The business typically needs an additional source(s) of revenue. The challenge for the owner or operator is to identify what those sources are.
In an effort to survive a tough economy and build a financially sustainable business marinas are getting creative. A marina in Washington State provides us with a good example of what one marina has done to help build their profitability.
A recent survey asked marina operators what kept them up at night. A common response mixed with the stresses of managing the day to day operations was fire. The concern was elevated in the off-season with boats left unattended and heaters running, but the reality is, the risk of a fire is always present.
The question is what can you do to reduce the risk of fire at your marina?
To reduce your risk of fire you must place your focus on preventive maintenance and staff and boater education. You need to work towards building a community that understands the benefits associated with practicing routine maintenance and proper use of equipment and has a common goal of keeping the marina safe. The more eyes you can train to spot potential hazards the safer your facility will be.
Preventative maintenance is an easy way to keep things running smoothly and to identify issues before they become a problem. We perform preventative maintenance on our cars, our houses and even our teeth.
The ideal preventative maintenance program includes a schedule of planned maintenance actions aimed at the prevention of problems before they occur. Among the industries that benefit most from a proper preventive maintenance program are the electrical and mechanical industries. Studies show that the failure rate of electrical equipment is three times higher for components that are not part of a scheduled preventive maintenance program as compared to those that are.
The modern marina invests heavily in its electrical system. Large facilities operate as miniature distribution centers managing expensive equipment and with it huge amounts of electricity. On average, a large marina catering to mid-sized boats will require approximately 10,000 amps to service all its slips; for those catering to mega yachts it’s closer to 22,000 amps. In comparison, the average home requires just 200 amps.
By setting up an electrical preventative maintenance program, marinas can potentially save themselves hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and lost business, and may also qualify for lower insurance rates.