To spark the imagination of those contemplating similar projects in their marinas, Robert Wilkes highlights ten of the best Bellingham Marine marina rebuilds.
Best Superyacht Marina:
Rybovich, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA
You won’t find a marina and shipyard more tailored to serving the needs of superyacht owners and crews than Rybovich, the world’s pre-eminent superyacht facility. The marina can accommodate yachts of 120m (400ft) with high freeboard, heavy duty docks; in-slip refueling; abundant power and the ability to service yachts right from the docks. Specializing in 10-star concierge service, crews enjoy hotel-like amenities and an on-site bistro social life. The shipyard can haul out most yachts and also has a 2,500- ton floating dry dock. A new 14 acre (5.6ha) work-site was recently added nearby and a channel was dredged to integrate the two sites. Read more about developer’s plans for Rybovich, best superyacht, destination marina.
Best Iconic Boat Show Venue:
Bahia Mar Yacht Center, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA
Bahia Mar Yacht Center is one the earliest and longest serving venues of the annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show – the largest boat show in the world – and the 2002 rebuild ensures that it will continue in that tradition. Masterfully designed, the marina functions as a world class superyacht center 11 months out of the year. The magic begins in October when the marina expands from 242 large yacht slips and side ties into a 1,000-boat gunwale-to-gunwale moorage for the iconic Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. The rebuild transitioned the marina from fixed to floating docks and incorporated a one of- a-kind electrical system with custom-built distribution panels for the show. The system ensures adequate power for all the yachts on display. Learn more about the award winning marina at Bahia Mar Yachting Center.
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!
The owners of a marina in Richmond, California were challenged by an outdated, underutilized dock. They found themselves frequently turning away big boats. Their solution, reconfigure the dock they had to maximize slip revenue and create new revenue streams.
Bellingham Marine recently completed a renovation project for Marina Bay Yacht Harbor, in northern California. Although the marina’s challenges are not uncommon, their approach for overcoming them is somewhat unique.
G-dock at Marina Bay had a number of problems. But the most frustrating for the marina was the high vacancy rates of the dock’s small slips. At the same time, the marina was turning away larger boats looking for moorage.
For any marina suffering from an outdated, underutilized dock, weak revenue streams, and /or are in a market where there is a shortage of slips for large yachts, Marina Bay offers a good example of a non-traditional solution.
Like most marinas, Marina Bay’s budget could not handle a major improvement project. But they did have some funds available that could be used for a small renovation.
If you have an aging marina, and a complete replacement is not feasible there are a number of things you can do to update and beautify your property without taking on a comprehensive rebuild.
Lido Yacht Anchorage, located in Newport Beach, Calif. had originally planned to replace the marina’s aging timber docks with a modern concrete floating dock system and upgrade their utilities. However, a comprehensive renovation would require dredge work and replacement of the marina’s seawall as well as an upgrade in the marina’s shore power. After further evaluation, this option was determined not practical for the marina at the time.
So, rather than take on a comprehensive renovation project, the owners decided to focus on repairing and beautifying the marina they had. This decision not only increased the service life of the marina’s docks but gave the tenants and property owners a facility they were proud to show off.