Marina Projects, a leading firm of specialists, has carried out detailed review of the leisure boating market both in the island and further afield.
It has found that a lack of space and limited supply in local marinas means demand for larger berths is not currently being met, which may be limiting growth. There is also evidence that facilities provided locally have fallen below those available elsewhere.
Guernsey Ports has four marinas - the Albert, Victoria and QEII marinas in St Peter Port, and St Sampson's Harbour. All four are tidally restricted, which means mooring holders cannot enter or leave below when the tide gets below a certain level.
- Albert Marina, alongside the bus terminus, is the oldest. It was opened in 1970s, and provides 315 moorings for local boats.
- Victoria Marina, between the Albert Pier and Crown Pier, opened in 1973. It is used by visiting yachts, and has berths for up to around 250 vessels.
- QEII Marina is the largest, with 766 floating moorings and 11 drying moorings. It was constructed as part of the North Beach development, and opened in 1989.
- St Sampson's Marina is the newest, completed in 2005, and provides berths for 340 local vessels.
Currently, these marinas are around 95% full, and more than 200 islanders have paid to be on the waiting list for a berth.
As well as the marinas, St Peter Port Harbour provides a further 250 moorings, for a mix of leisure and commercial vessels. They are a mix of 'always afloat' and drying berths in the Pool, and around the Fishermen's Quay and Careening Hard. The majority of these moorings have no tidal restrictions.
However unlike in the marinas, where boatowners can walk to their vessel boats via the gangways and pontoons, most Moorings in the Pool have no walk ashore facility. Access is therefore via dinghy.
Opportunities for Guernsey
Marina Projects, which has extensive experience of developing leisure marine facilities, has carried out a detailed market review. This identified strong growth and demand.
Of the 30 marinas in the Solent area that were studied, more than half had occupancy rates of more than 90%, and extensive waiting lists. Jersey's marinas were 88% full.
The study also found that facilities in Jersey and the South Coast of England are now providing more bigger berths - in keeping with a trend of owners buying larger vessels. By contrast, the availability of larger berths was far more restricted in Guernsey, as the marinas were largely built to accommodate smaller vessels, which was where the demand was at that time.
Nearly a third of islanders who are currently on Guernsey Ports waiting list already have a place in one of the marinas. They have put their name down for a larger berth so they can buy a bigger boat, which would free up their current mooring for someone else on the list. However, the lack of available berths for vessels of between 10 and 20 metres prevents them from doing so. That stops others being able to enjoy - or even take up - boating as a pastime, or to own their own boat.
Marina Projects concluded there was opportunity for growth locally.
"The berth mix profiles in Jersey and the Solent have developed organically and can be considered to illustrate a wider trend within the boating community with marinas responding to increased demand for larger vessels.
"An opportunity exists for Guernsey to address the balance in favour of a larger berth mix profile, and align the market towards that observed in Jersey and the Solent, were market growth is organic and less influenced by other constraining factors."
Marina Projects also found significant differences between the facilities provided to mooring holders in different marinas, and Guernsey's had fallen behind.
"The modern boating customer expects a high level of facilities and customer service, such as secure walk ashore marina access, high speed WiFi, premium [toilet and washing] facilities, and high quality bars and restaurants."
"While Guernsey does offer some of these, there has been a lack of investment over the years, they have now become dated and no longer meet the exacting standards today's customer expects."
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