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2017 July August Marina World

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  • Marinas
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  • Estonia
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The magazine for the marina industry

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MARKET UPDATE: ESTONIA Karlova Harbour in Tartu, business partners Marek Vikat and Andres Agan are keenly eyeing export opportunities, particularly in Germany and the Netherlands. “The problem in Estonia is money,” says Vikat. “Most of the marinas are built with EU funding and the decking for modern impregnated timber pontoon systems has a 10-15 year life. You can get the funds to build the marina but no ongoing funds to look after it.” Despite its commendable efforts to foster young sailors and the ultimate marina customer base that this will hopefully bring, funds are core to the future of Estonian marinas. “Marinas in Estonia don’t make money – and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!” asserts Jaano Martin Ots. “The money comes from services, like restaurants and cafés, so these are crucial.” Pärnu Yacht Club Situated in Estonia’s summer capital, Pärnu Yacht Club is a private club owned by its 217 members. It was founded in 1906 and has held regattas for over 100 years. In 2013, a 120-berth floating Top Marine Heavy Duty pontoon system with mooring fingers was installed along with appropriate dockside pedestals. Unlike many pontoon systems in Estonia, the Pärnu system remains in the water all year round. Pärnu is currently working on a master plan to improve its general landscaping and promenade, and augment its popular and excellent restaurant with a café. The club has also purchased the nearby quayside fuel station Karlova Harbour Although technically there are six marinas on the Emajõgi River in the university town of Tartu, Karlova Harbour is the only facility accessible to visitors and the general public, and with a recent expansion from 50 to 100 berths is by far the largest. Built in 2014 by the Tartu City Government and run under a concession by Seto Line, it offers good modern facilities with a café, sauna, laundry and caravan park. Investment in berth expansion earned Seto Line a concession expansion – from an initial five years to ten years (from 2016) – and the move has attracted new boaters. “We have good occupancy during the May to October season with the bulk of boats owned by locals who use them at weekends,” development manager Helen Jors confirms. “When the season ends, we lift the boats out of the water and store them in the caravan park.” Seto Line contracted FloatMe Marinas to build the 50-berth second phase, adding four visitor piers to the original Top Marine pontoon system. The marina also has a self-service floating fuel station, pump-out point and green energy. “All heating and hot water comes from solar panels and a heat pump,” Jors reveals. “This was the Tartu Government’s first experiment with this type of system.” Visitors and berth holders flock to the marina for many events throughout the summer. The season opens on 1 st May from the government via the City as it is the only one in the area that has water access. The investment is wise but much renovation is required. “Our challenge is to make everything more attractive for visitors, who come here on average for three or four days specifically to visit Pärnu,” explains club commodore Väino Hallikmägi. “The club is with song, dance and boat displays and an evening concert, takes part in the city festival at the end of August and hosts a concert every month. The events programme reinforces the importance of ‘Mother River’. “Over the past five years, the City has taken the river more seriously – with riverside benches, visitor docking platforms etc. More free short-stay dock spaces are planned near the city centre. In two years’ time we hope that a walkway will have been completed along the river,” Jors ventures. In addition to running the marina, Seto Line operates two tour boats for river cruises and believes there could be opportunity for small boat hire in the future. very good for city revenue.” Nautical and social events also help to boost visitor levels. “We have outdoor concerts, theatre and a seasonal opening ceremony and this year we organised the Nordic Youth Championship for the second time. This is a big event that last time attracted 220 boats and around 1,000 people,” Hallikmägi confirms. www.marinaworld.com - July/August 2017 45

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