A New Definition of the “Full Service” Marina

Comments are closed
Posted by

As part of our rental studies, we frequently run across the term “full service”, which is used selectively and with different meanings.Some marina owners/managers use the term to describe their range of utility services.Some go beyond this definition to include boat repairs.Let’s explore these variances.

Utility services can vary significantly at a marina.

  • The vast majority of marinas have pump-out, but some don’t.
  • Electrical service can be present at all slips or only some of them.
  • Electrical service can vary between single 20 amps to quad 150 amps or more.Rarely does a marina have electrical service of the same amperage or the same number of receptacles per boat (i.e. it’s common to find single 30’s, double 30’s a.k.a. twin 30’s, single 50’s and double 50’s a.k.a. twin 50’s, sometimes with multiple other amperages/number of receptacles above these amounts)
  • Water is typically found at each slip, but sometimes two to four slips can share a single water outlet.
  • Some slips can have high-speed internet connections while others do not.  Fortunately the trend is for wi-fi and there’s little variance between one spot and other with a decent wi-fi distribution network.
  • Telephone service may be available for each slip or maybe there’s just a pay phone nearby.
  • Some marinas have fuel, others don’t.Some have only one grade of gas, others two or three.

Boat repair services can vary even more than utility services.

  • Sailboat marinas will have at least one large repair building.It can contain a carpentry shop, a sail rigging shop, a machine shop, a painting shop and an electronics shop.Perhaps one or more of these services is missing.Perhaps it is contracted out.
  • Powerboats can have one or more repair buildings, some of the above shops (not a sail rigging shop, of course) and others.
  • Some of the above services can be contracted to third parties who may do the work on site or off.
  • Marinas that co-market can present a very different picture of repair services.The marina that does not have repairs but markets that they do on their brochure or website may be allied with another marina that provides repairs (typically under the same corporate ownership umbrella).  Sneaky but true.

So what is a full service marina? In my opinion, the definition should come from boaters, not marina owners and managers.After all, they decide what marina will receive their patronage.Another nuance to letting the boating market decide is that the definition of full service may change over time as the dominant types of boats change.The question here is not just what is offered but is it offered at the level and quantity required by the boaters in that market?That means that yesterday’s “full service” marina may not be today’s “full service”marina.

At this point, you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t provided my opinion or definition of a “full service” marina.That’s because the definition must vary according to each market and sub-market because the type, size and requirements of boats in those markets and sub-markets varies.For example, full service in a blue water marina will likely be different from the lake marina that is 10 miles away because the boats are different as are the needs and requirements of their owners.

Better yet, perhaps the term shouldn’t be used and when it is, it needs to be defined.Maybe that’s the answer.

John's Signature

Related Posts

Comments are closed.