Bellingham Marine Announces Australasia Transition Plan.
Newport Beach, CA, USA – 17 March 2021 – After 25 years of exemplary service, John Spragg, Bellingham Marine President of Australasia and the Middle East, has announced his retirement effective July 1, 2021. Following his retirement, he will continue to serve as a Director of the company. Bruce Birtwistle has been chosen as John’s successor. Bruce has worked directly for John over the last decade as the General Manager of New Zealand.
By Robert Wilkes
Caution: this is a story of marina redevelopment and expansion in New Zealand that contains a number of challenging Māori names. Be undaunted. It’s an inspirational story well worth the effort.
Lake Taupō is considered the “beating heart” of the North Island by Māori. The lake bed is formed by a huge volcanic crater and is owned by Ngati Tūwharetoa, a Māori tribe made up of 26 hapū, or sub-tribes. Motuoapa Marina nestles on the shore of a village of the same name. Now that you have mastered these challenging Māori names, we begin.
New Zealand is a new land that rose from the sea as the result of the massive collision of tectonic plates. Lake Taupō is in a volcano caldera or crater formed by multiple eruptions over 300,000 years. The last major eruption 1,800 years ago may have been the natural phenomenon noted at the time by chroniclers in China and Rome. Located in the middle of the North Island, the 623 sq. km lake is the largest in New Zealand. Major population centers are three hours south and north, notably Wellington and Auckland. The lake is dotted with stunning cliff-side Māori carvings and visitors enjoy fishing excursions and adventure tours. Remarkably, but not in New Zealand, there are ski resorts not more than 30 minutes away.
The original marina was built fifty to sixty years ago by local boating enthusiasts and members of social organizations who wanted a place to keep a boat on the lake. They did it with grit and sweat on weekends. They created a cozy marina for family boating in a beautiful setting; some say it has the greatest trout fishing in the world. All the slips are permanently rented by local residents and boaters who drive up from the cities.
Ready for renewal!
Unfortunately, there were no hydrologists among the volunteers. While the lake water just outside the marina is always pristine, the water inside did not flush and was stagnant, algae-choked and infested with invasive catfish. There were plenty of other issues. An island took up valuable space in the middle of the basin. Boats berthed around the perimeter were pile-tied with their bows to a crumbling timber sea wall. The “boaties,” many of them aging, had to clamber onto the pointy end with their groceries in their arms and shuffle alongside the deckhouse to the cockpit.
Motuoapa Marina was loved, but long past its useful life. There was no water, no electricity, no security, no lighting and no services. Part of the marina was on the boundary of private land and half the boaters were effectively trespassing to get to their boats. Worst of all, due to a lake level that fluctuates by 1.4 meters over a year, boaters couldn’t access their berths or navigate the channel during low water.
And you think your marina has problems!
For the residents of Townsville, the process of taking their boat out for a day on the water was riddled with frustration. Long waits and lack of parking combined with the stress often associated with launching and retrieving a boat (especially by individuals newer to trailered boating). Creating frequent outbreaks of ramp rage at the city’s boat launch parks.
The small town of Townsville, located in North Queensland adjacent to the central section of the Great Barrier Reef, is heavily steeped in a culture of boating. The town has a population of 171,000 residents and nearly 26,000 of them have a boat under eight meters long. With only eleven existing boat ramps to service all the city’s boaters, the city was simply unable to handle the number of boats wanting to get on the water each day.
A vacant industrial property on Ross River provided the perfect location for a new park with ample room for parking and enough waterfront for the construction of four boat ramps, each with four lanes, and two public fishing pontoons.
Although the site was a perfect location, heavy public use, concerns of flooding and cyclone conditions, and the desire to make the park easily accessible during daylight as well as non-daylight hours required a number of unique design considerations in the construction of the ramps and pontoons.
No marina is immune from the possibility of a fire. The risk of fire is just as real for a high-end megayacht marina as it is for a small, modest one. The key for marinas is to minimize their exposure to fire and the chance of it spreading through the facility by utilizing good management of fire safety.
There are a number of precautions a marina can take to greatly minimize their overall risk; however, no matter how gallant the efforts a marina may still one day find itself in the midst of a fire.
Response time, training, and infrastructure are three things that will dramatically impact the outcome of a fire and the level of damage incurred. Boat fires can be extremely hazardous. The materials and gases most vessels put off when burning are very harmful and cause the fire to burn extremely hot. Ask any firefighter what you can do to diminish the chance of a fire going from a single alarm fire to a multiple alarm fire, and he will say engage in proper pre-planning activities and training sessions.
Train your staff how to respond and encourage your local fire department to come out to your facility. These two things will greatly impact the response time and allow your staff and local firefighters to arrive on the scene with a sense of know-how, confidence, and a game plan.
Incredible surroundings, increased economic wealth, and a safe and secure social environment make South Korea an intriguing market for the boating and marina industries. During the last decade, a great deal of effort has been placed by the government as well as private investors on improving the region’s boating infrastructure.
Marina Development in Asia
However, the country’s weak sailing culture and lack of experience in the construction and management of modern boating facilities has been a major hurdle in moving the industry forward at a faster rate. Albeit slow, progress is coming. The opening of Wangsan Marina, a contemporary boating facility in Incheon, South Korea, is opening the door to boating for many Koreans who did not have the opportunity before. Prior to the opening of Wangsan, there were no large scale marinas in or around Seoul’s major metropolitan area. With 266 moorings and a dock facility on par with the world’s most modern marinas, Wangsan is expected to have a major impact on the market and be a key force in setting a new standard for boating facilities in South Korea.
The concept for Wangsan Marina was to build a start-of-the-art competitive sailing venue for the 2014 Asian Games that could later serve as a public marina with amenities and services that would cater to domestic as well as international boaters.