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British Marine dives into the UK’s growing marinas and moorings market

The UK’s marinas and moorings sector is upbeat following a fifth consecutive year of growth, proving the sector both robust and innovative in the face of some difficult trading times. According to a new report from British Marine, ‘The Marina and Moorings Market in the UK’ reveals a sector with a combined revenue of £222m (up 0.3% on 2015), one that supports nearly 3,000 FTEs (full time equivalent employees) and that projects confidence for the years ahead.

This report, using figures taken from 2016 reported results and a survey of occupancy levels in Spring this year, represents the first piece of in-depth analysis of the UK’s coastal and inland operations. Undertaken by British Marine, the membership organisation for the leisure, superyacht and small commercial marine industry, it provides accurate and robust evidence on the 563 marina and mooring companies in the UK. It also identifies key trends over time and provides both key capacity and occupancy information for marina operators as well as a valuable range of key metrics at a national level. With two dedicated reports on the coastal and inland sub-sectors, it offers further in-depth analysis.

Coming just over a year after the ‘Leave’ vote in the EU Referendum, the report shows that the sector, like many others, experienced a dip in business optimism. But it rebounded quickly, taking immediate advantage of the depressed Sterling and the subsequent increase in visits from overseas sailors and tourists, and a broader UK customer base. Berth occupancy is reported to be at its highest levels since those of 2013, with both inland and coastal marinas at 88% of capacity.

Business confidence across the sector is high, at +58%, with British Marine member operators reporting positive performance across major marina trades. This is considerably higher than the +29% reported across the whole UK marine industry. Some innovative business thinking is helping keep this sentiment high and tackle some of the challenges facing the sector and the wider marine industry. Challenges like an ageing market and the low value of Sterling, which has seen inland marinas and moorings offer more residential berths, and coastal marinas invest in dry stack storage and facilities for smaller boats.

Jon White, General Manager of The Yacht Harbour Association, the British Marine group association representing the interests of this sector, commented: “These growth figures, while modest, are extremely encouraging and the analysis should provide our members with an invaluable economic picture from which to grow or develop their businesses. It is great to see so many marina and mooring operators across the inland and coastal waters of the UK develop innovative ways to deal with an ageing customer and an economic climate that is still proving challenging.”

Jonathan Dyke, MD at Suffolk Yacht Marina, an independent marina and British Marine member commented: “British Marine’s research reports, like this one, are invaluable to us as an independent marina, in helping us understand the current state of the sector and where the trends are leading us.”

The Marinas and Moorings Market in the UK report, produced as a free of charge British Marine member benefit, provides a detailed picture of both the coastal sector and the inland sector.