Marina and Yard

Marina developments: six trends, six headliners

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Although we are still operating in uncertain times, new projects are being discussed, marina redevelopments being planned and approved, and marina managers shaping up facilities. We are living in unprecedented times but could well be on the brink of an unprecedented interest in boating, with a great demand for berths and with marinas as an increasingly valued property asset class. 

What are marina owners, managers and marina developers focusing on for 2021 and beyond? Carol Fulford, editor of Marina World, offers up six thoughts and some interesting new marina projects and major redevelopments in each region.

Trends in the marina industry

  1. Think destination: more emphasis than ever is being placed on the marina in its local context, with the marina as the ‘anchor’ of a regional destination experience. Marinas continue to be the focal point of new waterfront resorts and communities.

  2. Think sharing economy: focus is sharpening on the berths required for boat share and charter at all levels. The Boat Club concept is rolling out beyond the USA, and big boat charter – including superyacht – is attracting more interest for wealthier customers.

  3. Think value added: it’s a good time to shape up a marina if you’d like to sell. Marina groups and networks are expanding like never before, creating large portfolios. Marinas are increasingly being seen as sound investments and have secured an individual niche in the property retail sector.

  4. Think environment: water quality, coastline protection schemes, alternative energy, efficient pump-out, e-charging, recycled water systems, water clean-up devices, flora and fauna regeneration projects, landscaping with indigenous planting, and more.

  5. Think big: there is continued focus on creating more superyacht berths, better captain and crew facilities and repair/maintenance yards especially in Australia, the Mediterranean and the USA.

  6. Think smart: Smart technology is being embraced in forward-thinking marina management systems. Better connectivity is being offered to boaters via reservation sites and apps that facilitate management tasks and give the customer better access to marina services. Automated drystack systems incorporate smart technology to maximise return for operators and minimise waiting time for boaters.

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New marinas and major redevelopments

Every year brings a flurry of new marinas and major redevelopments. Here’s one headliner for each of six regions.


The California Coastal Commission (CCC) granted a permit in May 2021 for the long-awaited US$330 million redevelopment of Dana Point Harbor in Dana Point, California, USA. The revitalisation plan is the result of more than 20 years of community collaboration.

The massive mixed-use project, which will include renovating an aging marina as well as constructing new restaurants, shops and hotels, completely re-imagines Dana Point’s 49-year-old harbour.

Joe Ueberroth, founder and president of Bellwether Financial Group - developer of the new Dana Point Harbor - and chairman and CEO of the marina builder Bellingham Marine and marina operator Bellport, described the revitalisation as a “once in a lifetime opportunity.”

“Our plan includes protection of marine life, commitment to water quality and expanding public access. The dock system innovation by Bellingham Marine will eliminate all treated wood and includes technology that removes all ferrous metals, ensuring longer dock life, while ridding the environment of those toxic materials,” he said.

Plans for the marina include positioning the parking and retail space on the waterfront, giving the public access to the docks and implementing an educational, sailing and water sport programme for underserved youth in Orange County.

Construction is due to start at the end of this year and should complete in 2026.

EUROPE: Luštica Bay

Luštica Bay, one of the most scenic locations in Montenegro, is being transformed by Orascom Development with two new marinas.

The goal of the project, to create a luxury town that reflects and enhances the surrounding natural beauty and local culture, follows the lead of architect François Spoerry in France with the perfectly integrated Port Grimaud in the Gulf of Saint Tropez.

The first marina and the marina village opened in 2018, along with five-star hotel Chedi Luštica Bay, which swiftly launched the project as a top level destination.

“The main marina currently has an 85 berth capacity. Of the two planned, this will have 176 berths and the other – in a secondary mooring area – will have 56,” confirmed Orascom Marine Management director Philip Jones. A fuelling station, dry docking and port entry have been scheduled for this year.

The marina is protected by a durable breakwater made of solid rock and 6.5m (21ft) high antifers. The antifer cubes have a rock and rubble core. All floating elements have been designed and built by Italian company Ingemar in a modular layout that can be swiftly reconfigured according to season and special requirements. Pontoons are manufactured in concrete and galvanised steel with environmentally friendly decking.


When the municipality of Porto Belo in Santa Catarina on the south coast of Brazil issued a tender for a public marina in 2014 it was seeking a modern nautical facility to complement its excellent sailing waters.

Brazilian company, Squalo Marinas, a specialist with 35 years of marina and waterfront project development in the Americas, won the tender to develop a project for a 500-slip marina for boats up to 180ft (55m). The brief was to integrate the vision with the local landscape and make best use of site.

Safety, comfort, service, and environmental and social sustainability, were high priorities and main goals for the project explained Squalo principal Ronaldo Souza CMM, a port and civil engineer who is also principal of Westrec Marinas Latin America.

Porto Belo Public Marina will have a floating dock infrastructure with finger piers. A 16ft (5m) wide concrete floating wave attenuator will be positioned as the farthest dock, covering and protecting the marina from wake action generated by its 500 boats. Docks will be of umbrella and fishbone shape to provide additional protection and aesthetic appeal.

SOUTH EAST ASIA: Lantau Yacht Club

Following an announcement made in August 2019, Hong Kong Resort Company has now completely redeveloped Discovery Bay Marina Club and re-branded it as Lantau Yacht Club (LYC). It is the first ‘new’ marina to open in Hong Kong in a decade.

Featuring 148 wet berths ranging from 10 to 60m in length, the marina is custom-built and typhoon-proof with a well-built breakwater that has proven itself over several decades.

UK-based marina consultant Marina Projects was appointed to advise on the master plan design, berth mix and technical provisions of the marina, and the structural design of the concrete pontoon system was provided by Atkins.

“The marina at Lantau Yacht Club is designed to meet the needs of the growing yachting community and the increasing number of superyachts - a first in Hong Kong,” explained Victor Cha, deputy chairman and managing director of HKR International – a shareholder of the developer and operator. Our world-class marina aims to offer the ideal berthing space for local yacht owners and will attract luxury and superyachts from around the world…making our city a preferred yachting destination in the region,” he added. LYC marina has berths up to 100m (328ft), which is unprecedented in Hong Kong.


By 2030, the North Harbour Marina Precinct in Moreton Bay near Brisbane will be transformed into a world-class waterfront destination, boasting a 400-berth marina in Australia’s fast-growing region of south-east Queensland.

Moreton Bay is a diverse paradise protected by soaring sand dunes, renowned wetlands and waters teeming with life. It is also a stunning backdrop for the experienced Australian developer Port Binnli Group to build a waterfront precinct with 500 dry storage docks, around 562 private pontoons, fuel facilities, yacht and jet ski hire, fishing and diving charters, and much more to complement its core marina.

The larger precinct will transform 570ha (1,410 acres) of prime waterfront land into a retail and entertainment village, a 319ha (788-acre) open space recreation area and a residential community.

North Harbour Marina was first envisioned almost 20 years ago and has been one of south-east Queensland’s most rigorously planned and assessed projects. Plans received official approval in 2009.

Some parts of North Harbour have been delivered since 2009 and it is already home to more than 640 households. The marina will be built in stages, allowing opportunities for the community to begin enjoying the many recreational facilities within the coming years.


Al Qana – the latest in a long line of impressive waterfront developments in the United Arab Emirates – is located in the heart of Abu Dhabi. The boulevard-style facility extends across 2.4km (1.5mi) of waterfront that is connected by four eye-catching bridges. World-class dining, entertainment, retail and adventure are offered in an all-year-round warm climate.

The 107-berth marina, developed by Al Barakah International Investment and completed early in 2021, aims to appeal to both local residents and visitors. Those without vessels will have the option of chartering boats to experience the yachting lifestyle and, with its Riviera-style berthing arrangements and services, the marina is set to attract luxury yacht owners.

The lifestyle development will boast a large-scale supermarket, restaurants and cafés, convenience stores and a variety of essential retail shops for the neighbouring community, along with cinemas, theatres, activity centres, indoor theme parks, a virtual reality gaming centre, an aquarium and more.

“With destinations ever evolving over the past decade, people are now seeking places that offer adventure and rejuvenation – mainly open air spaces with lavish landscapes and water features. For this reason, Al Qana aims to transform Abu Dhabi into the most liveable city in the world, to meet the needs of new lifestyle trends,” said waterway and marina manager Andy Savill.

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