Marina 2020: A Vision for the Future Sustainability of Channel/ Arc Manche Marinas INDUSTRY REPORT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BEST PRACTICE

McKinley, Emma Marina 2020: A Vision for the Future Sustainability of Channel/ Arc Manche Marinas INDUSTRY REPORT RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BEST PRACTICE. Project Report. University of Chichester.

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Abstract

This project was undertaken as part of the INTERREG IV A Channel Arc Manche Integrated Strategy (CAMIS) Project, which has been running for 4 years since 2009. The Channel supports a well-established, diverse and vibrant marina sector which was identified as one of the key areas of potential growth and development in the region. The research aimed to identify the drivers affecting change in the Channel’s marina sector, engaging with marina stakeholders across southern England and northern France, building an improved level of understanding of the industry, and using this knowledge to develop a strategic vision for the future.
The research found a number of factors driving development and change of the Channel’s marina sector, including:
- Implications associated with the recent economic downturn,
- Rising costs associated with participation in the sport/sector impacting berth holder numbers,
- The importance of providing high quality service to potential and existing customers to maintain customer retention,
- Implications of recent environmental and planning legislation (dredging, designation of marine protected areas, red diesel etc.),
- Impact of poor weather in recent years on customer numbers, and;
- A lack of public and authority understanding of the value of marinas to their communities.
Following the identification of these drivers, the research aimed to establish potential solutions or strategies for the future that would allow the Channel’s marina sector to harness the opportunities presented by an evolving industry. In particular, the research examined the role of clustering and collaboration in the development of the marina sector, in addition to the potential business diversification opportunities available to marinas, and their businesses.
Marinas contribute to the local economy and provide employment, often in areas where few local jobs are available. On both sides of the Channel, the research found that Marinas were not exploiting their full economic potential. At their best, Marinas are hives of activity, providing a range of services and facilities to boat users, visitors and businesses. At their worst, they are providing little more than a mooring. The research found participants to be particularly interested in the possibilities associated with clustering in the marina sector, identifying three types of cluster that could be applied to the sector: clustering activity within one marina site, clustering activity between two or more marinas and the development of Cross Channel marina clusters. While there were concerns associated with the development of clusters, such as a perceived loss of competitive advantage, the need to make sensitive information available to competitors and language barriers, overall, stakeholders were open to the benefits of clustering. Clustering, and the collaborative activity it encourages were recognised as having the potential to strengthen the sector, with a small number of marina sites already engaged
in activity of this type. In addition, it was found that stakeholders felt that diversification of marinas could be beneficial to the wider sector, with one stating that “marinas are missing a massive opportunity...they are a wonderful place [for a company] to be based and so they should do more to make natural work hubs”. However, it was also noted that opportunities for diversification could be limited by location, size of site and customer catchment area, ownership issues (particularly in France), as well as financial constraints.
Overall, the research served to identify where the sector envisions itself moving in the future, engendering the development of an ideal scenario. This allowed the vision of a ‘good marina’ to be defined, as shown below.
A good marina will:
 Be both economically and environmentally sustainable, with a significant role within the local community in terms of leisure activities, economic growth, jobs provision and skills and training.
 Have strong links with tourism organisations, promoting the local area and attractions to visitors to create a more complete ‘destination’ for both permanent and visiting berth holders
 Will be well established as a community asset, viewed as a vital component of Channel communities, with support from local authorities.
 Operate at close to full capacity on both sides of the Channel, and will promote cruising between sites to ensure widespread benefits of visiting vessels.
 Have a thorough understanding of the environmental and planning legislation impacting the sector, through improved relationships with policy makers and increased involvement with the marine planning process and future policy development.
 Have strong environmental strategies in place, engage widely with associations such as the Green Blue to improve awareness among staff and customers, and ensure the sector is as ecologically sustainable as possible.
 Will have collaborative and mutually supportive business relationships with local and regional businesses.
 Will feel effectively represented at all policy levels by their trade associations, and have a ‘voice’.
 Will be actively engaged in sustainable operation practices, ensuring they are providing the highest possible quality of service to their customers. Action points will include:
- Provision of WiFi at berths for berths, taking advantage of internet based promotion and booking facilities to support the sector.
- Promoting ‘green’ behaviours from both customers and staff; for example, through provision of recycling facilities, effective grey water disposal points, providing information on sensitive marine ecosystems, and ensuring there are effective management procedures in place to treat run- off.
- Communication with berth holders to evaluate service provision to see where changes could be implemented,
- Engagement in supportive and collaborative business relationships with on-site tenants and local companies, ensuring customers are provided with a comprehensive level of service.
 Finally, a ‘good’ marina will engage in collaborative relationships within the sector and will, when appropriate, engage in clustering activity (on a range of scales) and knowledge exchange.
As part of the research, number of recommendations were developed which are outlined in more detail throughout the document. These recommendations can be grouped into categories depending on whether for marinas, local businesses or local authorities as summarised below:
Recommendations for Marinas:
 Assess and promote the level of economic input into local communities through the marina. By actively promoting the sector as directly or indirectly injecting money into the local economy, marinas can improve their relationship with the local community, enhancing the level of support they receive from other businesses and their local authority.
 Actively work to engage in sustainable operation practices: communicating regularly with customers to ensure needs are being met, promoting ‘green’ choices to both staff and berth holders, as well as collaborative engagement with local businesses and tenants.
 Marinas should ensure they are an active part of their local community, engaging in local meetings, promoting careers opportunities within the sector and working to build strong relationships with local authorities. By strengthening their role within the community, the value of marinas to their communities will be better understood and opportunities and support for growth will be easier identified.
 Look at the opportunities available for marinas to work together on a collaborative basis. Marinas have the potential to develop successful clusters, working with local and on-site businesses, as well as their local authorities, to support growth and development of the sector. Clusters have the potential to reduce costs, give access to new market opportunities while increasing revenue.
 As well as looking at collaboration opportunities within the UK, it is suggested that marinas would benefit from engaging in knowledge exchange with French marinas. Working on a cross border basis would allow marinas to learn from each other, working to provide a standardised high quality of service to berth holders, and allowing best practice to be developed across the region.
 Marinas should support the development of cross border networks and initiatives such as a Channel Marina Passport and the Channel Marina Cluster. Activities of this type have the potential to increase participation in the sector by attracting new customers to marinas across the Channel’s coastlines.
Recommendations for local businesses:
 Be aware that marinas can be a valuable customer base, for either marine service companies or supporting services, such as retail or entertainment. Building relationships with local marinas, so that they actively promote businesses to their customers could provide access to a new customer base; with minimal promotion costs, while increasing overall revenue through increased footfall.
 Identify opportunities to work on a collaborative basis with your local marinas – the easiest way can be through a discount and promotion offer, as recommended
 through the development of a Channel Marina Passport. This type of agreement can be mutually beneficial, is inexpensive with the potential for high profitability.
 On-site tenants and local businesses engaged in related activities have the potential to collaborate very effectively with marinas, through the development of clusters. This type of activity will increase the profile of both the marina and the businesses it supports, providing mutual benefits to all members.
Recommendations for Local Authorities:
 Work to improve understanding of the marina sector, along with their associated businesses within your local community. They are a valuable asset and can be used to promote tourism, increase visitor numbers, market your community as a destination and actively support local businesses, such as cafes, bars and restaurants.
 It is suggested that local authorities get to know the marina operators in their local community, building and improving relationships to ensure a mutually beneficial decision making process, where the value of marinas to the local community is understood. Local business networks could be established that foster communication and engagement between the various members.
 Local authorities should have working understanding of the value of marinas to the local community, and consider the socio-economic value of this sector, as well as the environmental considerations when discussing plans for development.
 Ensure that information provided to marinas regarding planning permission, changes in legislation, application processes and environmental obligations is clear and accessible. By ensuring that the information is communicated in an effective way, conflict will be reduced and implementation of new procedures etc. will be easier.
 Engage with national bodies, such as The Yacht Harbour Association, the RYA, the Marine Management Organisation, the British Marine Federation, or the French Federation of Marinas, to ensure there is a thorough understanding of how the sector could be supported in its bid to achieve economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Departments > Business School
Depositing User: Emma McKinley
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2016 13:59
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2016 13:59
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/1743

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