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As well as Bangor Marina opening, also nearly back to normal is Carrickfergus across Belfast Lough, Glenarm on the Antrim Coast Road and the inland marina at Portglenone on the River Bann. 

In a Notice to Mariners Harbour Master Billy Withers from Carrickfergus said that Mid and East Antrim Harbours and Marinas are moving to the restoration of services and facilities. He goes on to reiterate that as elsewhere, health and safety of everyone involved are paramount and social distancing must be maintained.

The Notice states “We have spoken with Harbour Masters and Marina Managers from around Great Britain and Northern Ireland, considered the advice of the British Marine Federation, The UK Harbour Masters Association, RYA NI, and the Coastguard as well as consulting with health and safety staff”.

Boat owners will now be able to go to sea. This includes launching and recovery from the Council’s Harbours, Marinas, and slipways. The advice is that this is for a limited time and during daylight hours (3-4 hours maximum is recommended). Belfast Coastguard should be notified on leaving and returning to the harbour/marina/slipway. At this stage boats from outside the Mid & East Antrim harbours/marinas will not be able to access the facilities. Overnighting on board is not permitted at this stage unless it is the owner’s permanent residence.

The details on access to the Marina are clear:- Priority should be given to berth holders coming up the main access ramps ie exiting. At this stage the Marinas will be open between 8am and 8pm every day. However, the number going to any one boat should be limited. The Marina reserves the right to limit the number of people on the pontoons if social distancing is not being observed or not possible. Access is currently by the buzzer on the gate. It is hoped that fob access will be restored by next week at the latest to all those who have returned contracts. The West Gate, adjacent to the Windrose, remains closed.

The marina reception will remain closed in the meantime, but please telephone, radio, email the office for any enquiries as staff are available during normal office hours.

Toilets, Wash Hand Basins & Showers

The toilets, urinals, wash hand basins and showers have been opened in the berth holder facilities, however please do not use the individual units that have been cordoned off to create more space between users.

On the Pontoons

When passing on the pontoons, practice safe navigation, port to port and pass well clear, using the pontoon fingers to get that extra clearance distance.
Contractors Working On Site

If a berth holder requires a contractor to conduct work on a boat, then it is down to him/her to ensure that they and the contractor observe social distancing and that the contractor has adequate PPE.

Authorised contractors are required to contact the marina office in advance.

RYA Guidance which is widely publicised and should be adhered to.

Other Considerations to Minimise the Risk of Transfer of virus.

Berth holders must take responsibility for their own safety and this now includes using PPE where appropriate. To minimise the risk of any transfer and berth holders are urged to maintain high levels of hygiene on their boats and especially when using taps, hoses, rails, gates etc. on the pontoons and entrances.

The situation will continue to be regularly monitored in line with government guidelines, and advice and communications that we are receiving from the British Marine Federation, the UK Harbour Masters Association and RYA NI.

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Boat owners will get the chance to perform safety and maintenance checks after a two-month absence from their craft from Monday, May 18th as marinas across the country open to berth holders. 

The easing of restrictions plus the lifting of the Coastguard advisory requesting the public not to take part in any water-based activity on or in the sea means that limited boating subject to social distancing guidelines will be possible.

While marinas have, in general, remained open, manned and fully functioning throughout the lockdown period, guidelines meant berth holders could not access their boats.

As part of the Government Return to Work programme, the marinas will open but with limitations as the responsibility on organisations for contact tracing during the 'Return to Work' period is onerous.

There are approximately 4,190 coastal marina berths across Ireland in 60 marinas or more, supporting 1,530 full-time jobs in coastal communities around our coast, according to Tourism Development International.

Access is largely limited to berth holders only and boat owners living over 5 km from marinas or boat owners ‘cocooning’ should not travel.

Irish Marina operators have put a lot of hard work in behind the scenes to ensure they are ready for 'Phase 1', according to Irish Marine Federation (IMF) Chairman Paal Janson.

Paal Janson 1433 Irish Marine Federation (IMF) Chairman Paal Janson is General Manager of Dun Laoghaire Marina Photo: Afloat

The IMF has worked with world marina body ICOMIA to issue Irish marinas with guidelines.

"With the good weather forecast for next week, boat owners will need to be conscious for their own responsibilities within the government guidelines, 5km limit for travel, the possible increased demand on emergency services and social distancing", Janson told Afloat.

Janson, who is the General Manager of the country's biggest marina at Dun Laoghaire, also says: 'The pandemic has not finished, we are just at the beginning of the very first phase of restrictions being eased and we all need to act in a responsible and safe way and promote the very best aspects of boating life".

Howth Yacht Club Marina

Howth Yacht Club marina in north Dublin will open on Monday but the clubhouse will remain closed. Commodore Ian Byrne has issued a reminder that HYC Members should arrive with gloves and masks and adhere strictly to the two-metre physical distancing and hand washing etiquette. 

Howth Harbour and Marina in north County DublinHowth Harbour and Marina in north County Dublin

Overnight stays on the HYC marina will not be permitted and members must be off the premises by 9 pm.

Dun Laoghaire Marina

As Afloat previously reported, Dun Laoghaire Marina, closed to berth holders since March 27, will also reopen to its 500 plus owners.

Dun Laoghaire Marina is asking that family-units only visit boats initially 'as boats do not readily allow physical distancing to be maintained'.

Marina pontoon 4382A marina pontoon at Dun Laoghaire Harbour Photo: Afloat

The Marina will keep toilets, changing rooms & laundry shut to avoid cross-contamination for the moment, subject to review. 'We want to ensure that all our berth holders, guests and staff can use the marina in a safe and responsible manner and that their health not be put at undue risk at any time', a notice to berth holders says.

Dun Laoghaire Marina's fuel berth will reopen on May 18th and the marina asks that payments are made by card.

General Manager Paal Janson has told berth holders, 'We would reiterate that boating is a safe and responsible outdoor activity and there is now a clear pathway to getting back to normality. We would like you now to get full enjoyment from your boat and make 2020 a summer to remember, instead of a year to forget'.

Greystones Harbour Marina

Greystones Harbour Marina will continue to be open to berth holders. Berth holders and their families are expected to strictly adhere to the government guidelines relating to Social Distancing and Hygiene and observe Irish Sailing’s guidelines in terms of going back on the water, according to Marina operator,  James Kirwan of BJ Marine.

Greystones Harbour MarinaGreystones Harbour Marina in County Wicklow

"For those that can’t travel to their boat, the marina team remain on-site daily and are contactable by phone and email to assist in any way possible, says Kirwan.

"Our community has pulled together brilliantly in staying apart and we look forward to seeing our berth holders more regularly, both on the pontoons and on the water, Kirwan told Afloat.

Royal Cork Yacht Club Marina

In Cork Harbour, Royal Cork Yacht Club marina to members for boat access only. The club bar-restaurant and changing facilities will remain closed. 

Club dinghy activities will not be undertaken for now, according to Marina Manager Mark Ring. 'We feel it is best to start off slowly as we don't want to knock back activity as the weeks' progress', Ring told Afloat. 

Royal Cork Yacht Club Marina in Cork HarbourRoyal Cork Yacht Club Marina in Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman

RCYC is preparing for opening with several COVID-19 measures being put in place this weekend. A policy document will be circulated to members and staff also this weekend.

Crosshaven Boatyard Marina

Likewise at neighbouring Crosshaven Boatyard Marina where General Manager Matt Foley expects to launch upwards of 30 boats next week as the marina reopens to berth holders in Cork Harbour.

Kinsale Yacht Club Marina

In West Cork, Kinsale Yacht Club Commodore Mike Walsh confirmed the club marina is open to members living within 5km of the facility from Monday, with 'sailing for household units' from that date too. With the country in lockdown, renovations were recently completed on the KYC marina. Last extended in 2003, sections of new marina replaced pontoons dating back to the original build in 1978.

Kinsale Yacht Club MarinaKinsale Yacht Club Marina Photo: Bob Bateman

The much cherished and frequently used accessibility pontoon has also been replaced and will continue to allow Kinsale’s Sailability programme to develop.

Port of Galway Marina

As Afloat reported earlierPort of Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan has said the port’s public slipway and its marina will be open to those living within five kilometres.

Galway Marina 0024Boats in Galway Marina and Docks Photo: Afloat

Bangor Marina

In Northern Ireland, Bangor Marina may still be closed but Harbour Master Kevin Baird has given berth holders a very clear and concise set of guidance notes detailing what to expect when it reopens and indeed something to look forward to after the weeks of shutdown. As Afloat reported previously, Baird says “ We have been considering how we may enable berth holders to use the Marina facilities whilst adhering to the Health Protection Regulations and the new government guidelines.

Bangor MarinafBangor Marina

Published in Irish Marinas
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With the current COVID-19 pandemic forcing Northern Ireland into lockdown, the RYA has received a considerable number of enquiries from members who are not able to gain access to their boats now that most marinas have closed.

The governing body is acutely aware that members currently have valid concerns about the inability to undertake checks in respect of security and essential maintenance. In response, the RYA is writing to key Government Ministers seeking definitive guidance that will give a clear and practical way forward to give owners immediate access to their boats whilst respecting current measures to control COVID-19.

Over recent weeks the RYA has been in discussions with the Government officials making the case for limited and controlled access to boats locked down in marinas. The RYA believes that visiting marinas and spending time working on a boat that is moored or ashore can be readily achieved within the parameters of the existing core Government advice regarding hygiene and social distancing. With representations to date not delivering a solution to what is evidently a critical issue for affected members, the RYA is taking the case to Ministers and calling for the support of Members of Parliament.

Boat owners need access to their property to undertake essential maintenance, for example, checks for water ingress, maintenance of engines and electrical installations that cannot be undertaken by marina staff. Many boat owners are also obligated by their insurers to visit their vessel regularly to avoid cover being refused in respect of maintenance related claims. The RYA’s advice to members is that you should check this aspect of your insurance policy with your insurers no matter what the policy states. A lockdown insurance update has also been published on the RYA website.

Sarah Treseder, RYA Chief Executive, says: “We acknowledge and appreciate that marina operators are working as hard as possible under difficult circumstances, and are doing their best to take care of boats during the lockdown. However, marina staff obviously cannot undertake the sort of essential maintenance that responsible owners would do. The significant number of approaches that the RYA has received from members demonstrates that this is a critical issue for boat owners. We believe there are measures that could be permitted immediately within the existing Government guidance to allow access for essential maintenance.

All are predicated on the overarching need to keep people socially distant from those outside their immediate household, to shield the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions and prevent unnecessary travel”.

Concerned members should contact [email protected] and use the RYA Coronavirus hub, which outlines current advice and information for recreational boaters.”

With all sports starting to consider recovery, the RYA is developing a ‘Return to Boating’ strategy aimed at getting the message over that there is a very strong case for boating to be one of the first activities that could be resumed safely within any necessary parameters for social distancing, once we start to see a relaxation of the current restrictions.

Bangor Marina tells Afloat that the staff are very busy acting upon requests to check berth holders’ boats.

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With the country in lockdown, it’s heartening to see major renovations recently completed on the marina by Kinsale Yacht Club.

Many readers will be familiar with Kinsale Yacht Club marina, which is right in the centre of town and guarded by its historic forts.

Last extended in 2003, sections of new marina replaced pontoons dating back to the original build in 1978.

The much cherished and frequently used accessibility pontoon has also been replaced and will continue to allow Kinsale’s Sailability programme to develop and flourish.

Commenting on the marina renovations, rear commodore Tony Scannell said “we are delighted to see these works carried out in such a timely and efficient manner. There was minimal disruption to berth holders and the new sections will make the marina, safer and more secure for its users. Special thanks to suppliers and contractors Inland & Coastal Marine Systems along with our own marina team of manager Paul Murphy and Richard McKinley”

Due to the Covid 19 crisis, unfortunately, the yacht club remains closed and barring the Custom Rigging Frostbites, the sailing season has yet to really kick off in earnest.

Vice Commodore with responsibility for sailing Matthias Hellstern told Afloat: “We are closely following Government and HSE guidelines with regard to our club and sailing calendar.  Unfortunately, we have had to postpone the Squib nationals until 2021 but currently, we are planning as normal for the Dragon Gold Cup in September and will make a final decision in June. I think it’s fair to say that we all miss our club and the ability to go racing, however, our primary concern is the safety of our staff and members and all of our thoughts here in Kinsale are with those affected by this crisis”.

Published in Irish Marinas
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Largs Yacht Haven in Ayrshire has been awarded the marina industry’s top accreditation, the Five Gold Anchor award, for the fourth time in a row.

The Gold Anchor award scheme rates the quality, level of service and overall standard of a marina’s offering. Marinas are assessed every three years meaning that Largs Yacht Haven has now carried the industry’s highest accreditation for over 12 years.

In 2017, as previously reported by Afloat, Largs Yacht Haven won the UK's Coastal Marina of the Year Award.

Since their previous inspection, Largs Yacht Haven has had major capital investment to ensure the marina remained at a high level. Recent investments included a new surfaced car park with a number plate recognition service for berth holders, new finger pontoons and an upgrade of all Wi-Fi hardware and infrastructure. These investments have helped ensure the marina remains an option for national and international events with various sailing fleets visiting Largs over the past few years.

New for this year’s assessment, marinas are highly scrutinised over their environmental impact. Particular attention is paid to the range of events and general awareness of environmental impacts. The assessor paid credit to Largs’ efforts in this area saying;

“Largs Yacht Haven is a true water sports centre; a nautical village in its own right. Largs Yacht Haven and Largs Sailing Club have helped put Largs on the map as a water sports destination with international allure. Largs Yacht Haven breathes respect for nature… it is green in both the literal and figurative sense. Environmental awareness is obvious throughout the marina, while the marina manager and marina team lead by example.”

– TYHA Assessor, 2019

Marina Manager Carolyn Elder has managed Largs Yacht Haven for over 30 years. Carolyn believes this year’s accreditation is extra special due to the current economic climate; “Just like many other businesses, we’re being forced to find new ways to attract customers, while working more efficiently and ensuring our business is as environmentally-aware as possible. Marinas need constant care, maintenance and improvement so we’re delighted that our efforts have been recognised across the board.”

Next year promises to be another exciting year at Largs Yacht Haven. The Visit Scotland Year of Coast And Water 2020 will coincide with the return of Fife Regatta in June, as well as D Zero Nationals, Optimist Nationals, Largs Regatta Festival and the RYA Zone Championships.

Published in Scottish Waters
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Shandon's senior men's eight were the fastest rowing crew at the Skibbereen Head of the River at the Marina in Cork on Saturday. They covered the course in nine minutes 4.97 seconds.  

Andrew Sheehan of Lee, a junior 18 competitor, was the fastest single sculler in 11 minutes 29.22 seconds. Junior women’s sculler Hannah Gahan of Cork Boat Club topped the rankings. 

Cork Boat Club's women's eight (bow number 268) were the fastest women's crew.

The head was held in very good conditions, though there was some difficulty due to bigger craft earlier in the day.

Published in Rowing

Last week the ICOMIA World Marinas Conference 2018 was held in Athens, hosted by the Greek Marinas Association who provided a  programme of topics, speakers and events under the theme: “Cross Sea Challenge for Marinas – Setting the Scene for Collective Development and Growth”. 

The Irish Marina Operators Association who represent over 20 Irish coastal installations and who are members of ICOMIA, did not attend this year's tenth such event.

Marina managers of the world met at the World Marina Conference in Athens to discuss the importance of marinas and waterfront redevelopment for economies, with a particular emphasis on how marina development can support the growth of boating, tourism and manufacturing markets. The conference is the only one of its kind, focusing in-depth on the marina industry on a global scale.

A conference for marina managers

The ICOMIA Marinas Group works hard to allow and encourage the exchange of technical, environmental and marketing information; educate government on the economic importance and environmental compatibility of boating facilities and creating a network so that information can be pooled for the common good. Additionally, the group organises the biennial ICOMIA Marinas Conference. 

Through the work of IMG, and collaboration during the ICOMIA Marinas Conference, marinas from across the world work towards a less bureaucratic industry, and a more straightforward approach to the expansion and improvement of boating infrastructure. With international pressures on boating and associated industry, from steel tariffs to environmental legislation, it has never been more important to develop an international forum, and have a unified body to allow the industry to speak with one voice.

A conference for investors

Marinas are very long-term businesses, and it is common for investors to expect a long and slow payback period. It is important that governments understand this, otherwise, there is a great risk that short-term leases will affect the viability of the industry. That is why the advocacy work of ICOMIA is so important, and the attendance of those working in government and politics at the World Marinas Conference is sure to have a positive impact on the industry.

Published in Irish Marinas
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Holyhead Sailing Club (HSC) is working on contingency plans to host the ISORA fleet following the devastation to the North Wales Marina during Storm Emma. 

it is unlikely the damage will be repaired in time for the ISORA events planned in Holyhead this year but it is not stopping the HSC team from coming up with alternatives.

The ISORA start for race three on 12th May and also the finish of race four on 26th May are due to take place at Holyhead.

As Afloat.ie reported at the time, the damage in Holyhead both to its racing fleet and the marina pontoons was severe.

Published in ISORA
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#CoastalNotes- A multi-million pound marina development planned for Fishguard Harbour, south Wales have fallen through.

This morning (Thursday) reports the Western Telegraph, the Conygar Investment Company released a statement to the London Stock Exchange, writing off their £2m investment in the Fishguard / Goodwick Marina Development.

Conygar said: "Conygar has been informed by Stena that they do not wish to have any further involvement in the proposed marina development and do not wish to proceed with the reclamation works of the harbour.

"Stena state that they are concerned that the marina development will interfere with the operation of the harbour and their ferry operations. They will also not support the promotion of the Harbour Revision Order, which is necessary to progress the development.

For much more on the decision by the ferry operator, click here.

Published in Coastal Notes

Royal Cork Yacht Club Marina has won International Marina of the Year 2018 at the London Boat Show.

The Yacht Harbour Association (TYHA) announced the winners of their prestigious NMU Marina of the Year Awards on Thursday evening (11 January) at the new five-day London Boat Show 2018.

Gavin Deane, General Manager at the Royal Cork Yacht Club, commented upon receiving the award for International Marina of the Year: “We are delighted to receive such a significant award from TYHA, having been runner up in this category last year it spurred us on to improve our standards even further over the last 12 months.

“The receipt of this award is as a result of the hard work of the Executive Committee and Club Staff since the Royal Cork attained the Five Gold Anchor Status in late 2011.

This award means so much to everyone at the Club as it is voted for by our berth holders and visiting boats.” 

corkweekaerialRoyal Cork Yacht Club's marina (foreground) full to capacity during the staging of its biennial Cork Week Regatta. Photo:Bob Bateman

Now in their fifth year, the Awards, sponsored in 2018 by specialist insurer, NMU, are special because they are voted for by berth holders. They recognise the best of over 160 Gold Anchor accredited marinas from across the globe.

The NMU Marina of the Year 2018 winners and runners up were:

International Marina of the Year 2018

Winner – Royal Cork Yacht Club, Ireland
Runner up – Marina de Vilamoura, Portugal

UK Coastal Marina of the Year 2018 (over 250 berths)

Winner – St Helier Marina, Jersey
Runner up – Royal Quays Marina, England

UK Coastal Marina of the Year 2018 (under 250 berths)

Winner – Inverness Marina, Scotland
Runner up – Poole Quay Boat Haven, England

UK Inland Marina of the Year 2018

Winner – Church Minshull Aqueduct Marina, England
Runner up – Overwater Marina, England

Superyacht Marina of the year 2018

Winner – The Pavilion Marina at Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Runner up – Palmarina Bodrum, Turkey

Simon Haigh, Chairman of The Yacht Harbour Association, a group association within British Marine, gave his praise to all the marinas involved: “Many congratulations to all the winners and runners up in the NMU Marina of the Year Awards 2018. These awards have built huge momentum since they were introduced and really mean something because it is marina customers who are voting for their marinas, recognising the excellence of facilities provided and the level of service which they receive.

“The winners have been endorsed by their customers in the best possible way, to become Marina of the Year in their respective categories, which must be a hugely motivating and satisfying achievement. I would like to commend everyone involved and pass on our best wishes for the 2018 boating season.”

Commenting on their UK Coastal Marina (over 250 berths) category award, Mike Tait, Group Leisure Manager for Jersey Marinas said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have won this award, especially as it is voted for by our customers. Although we are small in number each and every one of the team takes an enormous pride and pleasure in looking after our marina guests.

“To receive such recognition from the prestigious The Yacht Harbour Association is a true reflection of the dedication, enthusiasm and professionalism consistently demonstrated by the Jersey Marinas Team and we would like to thank everyone who voted for us”.

David Findlay, Marina Manager at Inverness Marina responded to their award for UK Coastal Marina of the Year (under 250 berths): “We were all very surprised and pleased to hear that we had won the award. We would like to thank all our customers that took the time to vote for us and we look forward to providing the same friendly service and welcome to all those who choose to berth their boats at Inverness Marina, and to all the ever increasing numbers of visiting yachts passing through in the summer months 

“This is the icing on the cake on top of our four gold anchors, and with further developments planned we hope to improve our facilities even more to become a five gold anchor marina.”

Robert Parton, Managing Director at Church Minshull Aqueduct Marina, this year’s winner of the inland marina category commented: “We are delighted to have won the Inland Marina of the Year 2018 award. In an increasingly competitive market where customers have plenty of choice of marinas and moorings around the inland network, it is particularly rewarding to win an award that is a result of boat owners’ votes. Our thanks go to all those who voted for Aqueduct Marina, The Yacht Harbour Association for organising the award and to NMU for sponsoring the competition.” 

Liyanage Kithsiri, Marina Manager, Jumeirah Beach Hotel Marina, on receiving the Superyacht Marina Award said: “We are delighted to win this prestigious award, which demonstrates our commitment to providing the highest standards of customer service and safety. We would like to thank all of our loyal marina members for their ongoing support as well as Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Dubai Holding for their commitment to quality.”

Joe McCarthy, Marine Trade Underwriting Manager at awards sponsor NMU commented on the awards and NMU’s involvement: “To be recognised by their berth holders for consistently delivering a first class service is testament to each marina and their staff. All the winners and runners up today should be rightly proud of these awards.

“As multiple winners of insurance industry service awards ourselves, NMU really value the achievement of winning an award which is voted for entirely by your own customers.

“NMU are specialist insurers to the marine industry and we are proud sponsors of the NMU Marina Of The Year awards.”

To commemorate their achievement, winners and runners up of the Awards were presented with etched glass trophies and framed certificates by NMU company director, Nick Limb.

Jon White, General Manager of The Yacht Harbour Association, summed up the awards for 2018: “Yet again the competition for these much coveted awards was fierce. The winners, runners up and all the marinas voted for in this year’s NMU Marina of the Year competition deserve a huge round of applause. Right across the UK and around the world we are seeing marinas rise to the challenge of meeting the modern berth holder’s needs, ensuring they receive both excellent facilities and services.”

Published in Royal Cork YC
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