Myths as to the exclusivity of marinas are exposed in recently released research conducted by the Recreational Marine Research Center at Michigan State University for the Marinas Industries Association of Australia (MIAA). The comprehensive research into Australian marinas found that marinas provide very significant public and community benefit.
During the 2010/11 period nearly 60% of Australia’s 356 marinas held structured social and/or recreational programs or events available to the general public. Programs such as ‘Try Sailing’ or celebratory events such as weddings are typical according to MIAA Executive Officer Colin Bransgrove. Interestingly marinas in Tasmania (80%) and Victoria (72%) were most likely to hold programs or events for the public. Colin Bransgrove said “there is a trend across all states to provide restaurant/food beverage facilities at marinas to meet local demand. This is contributing to the growing role of marinas as important social hubs with their communities”.
Over 80% of marinas provided the general public with some access to the marina. This is highest in NSW where 93% of marinas provided access. About 67% of Australian marinas provided support to their local community in the form of cash or in-kind support. For larger marinas the percentage was 81%.
While a core marina function is to provide services to those that pay to store their boat at the marina, most marinas (84%) also provided services to boaters who did not rent space at the marina. At larger marinas this rose to 97%. Nearly 40% of marinas had a boat launch facility that was available for use by the general public. In addition, marinas provided non-renting customers access to buy fuel (59%), repair services (52%) as well as launch and haul-out services (58%).
Colin Bransgrove said “this most comprehensive research provides the hard evidence that the vast majority of marinas are a significant community asset delivering a wide range of social, recreational and cultural benefits”. Copies of the 91 page report are available from the MIAA and a three page highlights report is available on the MIAA web site at www.marinas.net.au