As one year comes to a close and a new year begins, we are often asked “what is your outlook for the coming year for the marina industry” or “what are some of the trends you’re seeing and what can we expect to see more of.”
Although much of our comments are logged by editors and shared in their publications, I thought it worthwhile to share some of our comments directly with our readers…
Worldwide, from our perspective, things are starting to turn. Marinas are beginning to see the increase in boat sales trickle down into their occupancy rates, money is loosening up and governments in emerging markets seem to be taking a more active interest in their boating and marina industries. We remain optimistic that in 2014 and coming years the industry as a whole will continue to grow and prosper.
For the marina industry, 2012 continued a steady march forward toward greater innovation, higher customization and a stronger push for value.
The passing of time is inevitable; another year has come and gone and we are now well into 2013. Part fueled by tighter budgets and part by improvements in materials and technologies, the marina industry is becoming leaner and more advanced.
A look back at the many discussions with owners and developers over the year reveals an ever increasing importance being placed by owners on aesthetics, functionality and last but not least value.
Many of the trends in aesthetics center on customization and personalization. Each year, the number of clients requesting colored and /or stamped concrete docks increases. Rounded finger ends are becoming a standard feature in Australia and are continuing to increase in popularity in the U.S., use of LED lighting is becoming more widespread, and requests for hardwood and composite trim packages are starting to show up in large public projects.
To describe Marina Design as a simple process would be a lie, but it’s not magic. There are quite a few simple things you can do for yourself to ensure that the design of your marina is optimized for your market and your expected return.
One of the most important things you can do is team up early on with an experienced marina design consultant and construction company. They will help you avoid common pitfalls and will help establish a realistic masterplan for the site. Look for companies that have a long history in the market and a proven track record. Your strongest team will be one that is led by a single firm that has a rich network of marina professionals.
Another is, talk to boaters – owners, captains, crew, and anyone else who has visited a number of different marinas. It may sound like a no brainer but you’d be surprised how under utilized boaters are when it comes to marina design. In 2007, Bellingham Marine put together a focus group of yacht captains and crew members to hear what they had to say about marina design. This was the first time anyone in the industry had really sat down and listened to what boat owners appreciate in a marina. The process led to a better understanding of the level and types of amenities they look for. It also provided great insight about the type dock systems they prefer.
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