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2020 November December Marina World

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INDUSTRY NETWORKING With appropriate protective measures in place, boating is a safe outdoor leisure activity. developing for this generation – the young don’t know any other way than through technology and there will be a risk for the future if we don’t try to adapt to new technology,” he said. Smart technology is available in our hands, in our homes, in our cars – but boaters “step backwards when they board their boat.” In a time of increased social distancing and tracing systems, more and more boaters will expect to be able to book berths from their phones, organise travel arrangements, have health screenings, make payments and arrange services via their phones. And, while software needs to be developed for this – primarily through crowd sourcing – the good news is that the hardware is already in place. “Most of the hardware is available today – high resolution screens, connectivity, control and automation systems,” said Fernstrom. “It’s a case of tying these loose ends together. The cost is too high for such a small industry unless we all pull together.” The marina industry is a “Goldilocks” industry, said Iaian Archibald, CEO of Swell Advantage. It’s not large enough to be innovation-friendly and it’s hard to convince smaller operations to invest in new technology. But modern technology is nevertheless on the way – self-driving vehicles, robots, chat bots, algorithms, machine learning, artificial intelligence, sensors, Smart technology is available in our hands, in our homes and in our cars, and is increasingly being adopted at marinas. platforms, marketplaces and networks. There are many “jobs” in the marina that are perfect for an algorithm, such as efficiently selecting the right berth for a boat. Transactions, too, are good candidates. These repetitive tasks can be automated, leaving marina staff free to put their efforts into customer service. “Drystack is perfect for automation,” said Archibald, “from placing the boats to scheduling. That’ll be the first fully automated service to hit a lot of markets,” he predicts. Sustainability matters Sustainability, too, will take centre stage. With the European Union’s push for a green recovery from the COVID pandemic, the race is on to find more sustainable solutions across every industry. More than a buzzword, sustainability matters for marinas – if the industry doesn’t begin to solve its own problems, it will be seen as a contaminant and governments are likely to take action by levying taxes. “We must come up with sustainable initiatives to recycle end-of-life boats, for example,” said Sara Anghel. Hundreds are damaged each year by hurricanes – but recycling initiatives are few and far between. “Europe is ahead of the curve on this and has programmes in place to levy taxes and recycling,” she said. “It will take the combined vision and collaboration of the global marina industry to address this issue which, if not solved, has the possibility of hurting its growth. Governments will expect it and, if the industry doesn’t respond, the government will step in and it will cost more,” she said. Dr Shimrit Perkol-Finkel, co-founder of ECOncrete, pointed to the company’s solution to replace concrete seawalls – which place a lot of stress on marine life – with “nature inspired” solutions that guard the infrastructures we build. ECOncrete has been redesigning concrete to make “living breakwaters” that “allow larvae to attach and 3D designs like holes for creatures to live in.” He argued that this improves water quality, reduces invasive species, looks better, and helps make the concrete stronger over time, preventing erosion and reducing maintenance. Renata Marevich CMM, of Marina Punat in Croatia, pointed to the importance of the charter industry for today’s marinas. The younger generation prefers to rent a boat, which generates a large part of direct and indirect income for the marina. “Many of them are future guests of the marina – they can’t afford a boat yet, but later they will and they will stay in the marina,” she said. Charter companies also often offer training during the low season, which helps continue to bring business to the marina in quieter months. To listen to the webinar discussions in full, go to: http://www.icomia.org/wmcindustryreconnect The ICOMIA Marinas Group looks forward to welcoming you to the ICOMIA World Marinas Conference 2021, which will take place in Dubai, UAE in October next year. www.marinaworld.com – November/December 2020 23

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