How Boaters Choose Marinas: A Guide for Marina Owners and Managers

What do boaters look for in a home marina? Whether it’s a quick weekend getaway, a warm winter vacation spot or a permanent dwelling on the water, boaters have certain criteria they consider when choosing a marina. As an owner or manager, it is important to understand the factors that influence boater decisions and make changes to your property when necessary.

1.    Cost

Money is one of the most considered factors when choosing a marina. Mooring rates differ depending on the marina location and size and can include extra monthly fees if your facility requires membership. People are willing to pay higher rates if compensated with more amenities. Exclusive marina amenities bring satisfaction to the boaters and higher revenues for your business. This may mean you have some upgrading to do, but every dollar you spend will come back in revenue by increasing the amount of new customers.

2.    Location, Location, Location

Whether your marina is brand new or you’ve taken over an older one, it’s important to choose the perfect spot. This may seem like a decision for the owner, but should also be considered by those at the managerial level as well. You don’t want to take a job at a marina that doesn’t attract customers because they can’t get to you. Your marina should be an easy commute for weekend visitors and the entrance roads should be wide and accessible for all types of vehicles. The nearby community is just as important as the marina itself. Safe, crime free surroundings close to shopping and visitor destinations is the best choice of location.

3.    Conditions

The most common negative review for marinas is cleanliness. Boaters expect the facilities to be well maintained, sanitary, and spacious. Old docks (rotting wood), broken electrical connections, absence of safety equipment and industrial pollution in the air and water are hazards for boaters. Make sure that your marina is free of trash and create a user-friendly and secure environment for guests. Security cameras posted on the docks and long-term free parking with 24/7 surveillance gives boaters a sense of security. Train your staff to help the guests have a pleasant vacation experience at your marina. Be sure that your team includes friendly and knowledgeable reception staff, a trained boat mechanic, capable dock hands and efficient cleaning crews.

4.    Amenities

Amenities attract attention and convince customers to choose your marina as their vacation spot. Essentials include:dependable electrical hookups, fresh water for tanks/cleaning, showers, laundry, and WiFi. Membership based yacht clubs may also have pool/hot tub areas, tennis courts, picnic areas, restaurants, bars and shopping located within the marina facility. Pet areas, playgrounds, bike rentals and lending libraries are other upgrades that increase customer satisfaction. Your marina should be a social atmosphere with fun activities, food and beverage facilities and guest hangout spots.

Final Thoughts

What do you, as a Marina Owner/Manager, need to focus on to make your marina the premier destination for boaters? Customer convenience and the needs of the boater come first. Ask prospects HOW they use their boat. Whether it be for parties, relaxation, or adventures, design a good fit for their specific needs. Marinas are a getaway, so create a place where people feel comfortable and laid back, but also fun and adventurous.