For centuries, the sea around us has been Guernsey's most natural asset. In the past it helped shape our prosperity, as local industries like fishing and ship-building thrived, and provided a livelihood for large numbers of islanders.
Our main harbours are also steeped in history. They have adapted and expanded to meet the island's ever-changing needs, and the communities that grew up around them to service the ports became our main centres - and remain so today.
The harbours have been the island's lifeline, and to this day provide a vital connection with the outside world.
However, in recent decades, they have also come to support a different maritime pursuit. The piers and berths where sail ships and steamers once loaded and unloaded their goods and passengers now provide safe shelter for private vessels.
Gradually, the majority of the space within and around our ports has been given over to leisure boating. Alongside this, an important service industry has also grown - from chandlers and yacht brokers, to boatyards and mechanics.
Guernsey is not alone. Marinas have sprung up around the south coast of England, as well as around Brittany - and in Jersey - reflecting the increasing popularity of leisure boating. While the Bailiwick's waters still rank among the finest sailing in the region, investment in this area locally has not matched that of other locations.
The last major development, St Sampson's Marina, was nearly 20 years ago. There is currently a long waiting list for moorings in Guernsey, and the lack of space and limited supply in local marinas means demand for larger berths cannot currently be met. There is also evidence that facilities provided locally have fallen below those available elsewhere.
The latest study identified the modern boating customer expects a high level of facilities and services, such as secure walk ashore marina access, high speed WiFi, premium [toilet and washing] facilities, and high quality bars and restaurants. While Guernsey offers some of these, the study found a lack of investment over the years means they have become dated and no longer meet the exacting standards today's customer.
In 2021, the States voted to investigate a new marina development in St Peter Port Harbour. Guernsey Ports has since carried out various technical studies, to assess the feasibility of a scheme and develop an initial outline design.
Objective: To assess the provision of increased mooring capacity, new marina facilities and opportunities for additional marina services within St Peter Port Harbour, and then to determine if there is a combined commercial & economic case for developing that infrastructure to enhance Guernsey's attraction as a place to visit and to live.
Islanders are now being asked for their views on the principle of a new marina in St Peter Port. Any feedback can be reflected when proposals are presented to the States next year.
To find out more about the current project, please browse the pages using the buttons below.