...And marinas find their boats
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.