...And mari­nas find their boats

Canal Boat - - News -

DE­SPITE the slight dip in new boats be­ing built, a pos­i­tive year for in­land mari­nas has seen fewer berths ly­ing empty, and more in­come earned by op­er­a­tors.

A sec­ond re­port by Bri­tish Marine into the mari­nas sec­tor re­ported that oc­cu­pancy of in­land berths has risen by 4.8% to 88.7% of all berths oc­cu­pied – the high­est level since 2013 – and rev­enue up by 3.6%. BM said that im­me­di­ately af­ter the EU ref­er­en­dum there was a dip in con­fi­dence which im­pacted marine busi­nesses in gen­eral, but that this was fol­lowed by “a weak­en­ing of ster­ling and an in­crease in both do­mes­tic tourists and boaters”.

At the same time, BM cau­tioned that it had con­cerns for the fu­ture that mari­nas would “con­tinue to strug­gle to re­tain cus­tomers with an age­ing mar­ket that finds it in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to jus­tify the ris­ing costs as­so­ci­ated with ma­rina berthing”, par­tic­u­larly in un­cer­tain eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal times. And the marine trade body also has fears about “pro­posed and planned new moor­ing fa­cil­i­ties out­strip­ping de­mand”, in­ten­si­fy­ing com­pe­ti­tion be­tween ma­rina op­er­a­tors. How­ever BM also saw mari­nas meet­ing these chal­lenges with “in­no­va­tive ways to en­cour­age en­gage­ment with boat own­er­ship”, in­clud­ing boat shar­ing, flex­i­bil­ity about ser­vices of­fered, move­ment into res­i­den­tial berths, and di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion into leisure and tourism fa­cil­i­ties at mari­nas.

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