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July August 2015 Marina World

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TALKING SHOP Rebuilding a haven in the Turks and Caicos Blue Haven Marina is the newest marina in the Turks and Caicos Islands and a world-class destination. Charlotte Niemiec invites Adam Foster, general manager, and Portia Mogal, operations manager - marina, to talk shop The aptly named Blue Haven Marina lies on the northeast coast of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands of the Caribbean. To the north of the island are pristine beaches; to the south; Chalk Sound Lake with turquoise blue waters and tiny inlets. The west is home to the island’s national park, a beautiful barren wilderness and biodiversity hotspot. The Turks and Caicos Islands enjoy a pleasant, tropical marine climate and are surrounded by the world’s third largest coral reef. Each island has its own identity, but all offer beautiful beaches, exceptional scenery, worldclass diving, fishing and water sports, interesting wildlife, history and culture. Adam Foster CMM, moved here in 2013 to open the marina. With extensive experience in the industry, he was previously business development manager at d’Albora Marinas in Australia and general manager for Rodney Bay Marina in Saint Lucia. His colleague, Portia Mogal, joined him as operations manager that same year, having worked with Island Global Yachting (IGY) on marketing the Yacht Haven Collection of Marinas in Saint Thomas, Saint Lucia and St Maarten. Both are thrilled at Blue Haven’s success and are excited about the future, aiming to ensure the Turks and Caicos Islands are a regular fixture on captains’ cruising itineraries. An IGY marina, Blue Haven is owned and operated by Waterloo Investments Limited and is located within the wider Blue Haven Resort. It is a port of entry to the cluster of islands and the only large vessel marina. It complements existing island marinas such as Turtle Cove, Southside and Caicos Marina Shipyard. New to newer The marina that would later form Blue Haven was built just seven years ago in 2008. From the start, the intention was to incorporate the marina into a larger resort and, initially, it formed part of the Niki Beach resort. In April 2013, it reopened as Blue Haven Resort and Marina following extensive reconstruction work. Since then, the marina has gone from strength to strength. Between 2009 and 2013, the marina Portia Mogal and Adam Foster. had been “left virtually untouched” Foster explains. During this time, it was hit by three hurricanes – unavoidable given its position on the hurricane belt. When Foster and Mogal arrived in 2013, their first priority was to get the marina back up to A1 condition, he says, adding: “All the equipment had to be refurbished, such as fire pumps, work boats and golf carts. The fuel system was never charged, so that also required plenty of service work and inspection before we could fill the tanks.” However, “as far as permitting went, we had a pretty smooth process – once everything was complete – as we had great contractors and local consultants to ensure we did it right the first time round.” While carrying out the necessary renovation work, the team adhered to strict environmental practices and policies of clean marina standards. This attention to the environment has paid off: the marina was awarded the ICOMIA Clean Marinas award in 2014 as well as receiving 5 Gold Anchors from The Yacht Harbour Association (TYHA). This focus is ongoing, as 16 - July/August 2015

TALKING SHOP Round the clock (from left) Blue Haven Marina, by day and night, is an idyllic destination marina with access to high-end resort amenities. It features generous sized docks and caters for yachts up to 220 feet (67m). Foster explains: “We are in a sensitive location, environmentally-speaking, so we ensure our staff are trained in spill response and emergency situations on a regular basis. Regular drills are conducted to make sure our staff are on the ball all the time.” Work at the marina is fully complete but, due to its popularity, Foster anticipates the need for additional berths in the near future and has already opened initial conversations with suppliers. Although the number of new berths has not been determined, the highest demand is currently for slips of 100 to 140 feet. A few slips for vessels up to 220 feet will also be added. All modern facilities The marina offers 78 berths for boats up to 220ft. The average length of vessel is around 80 feet, and the ratio is 75% power versus 25% sail. During the peak season (winter), average occupancy is about 80% and, during low season (summer), this number can dip to 35%, especially in September. Generally, Mogal notes, transient customers’ length of stay is anywhere from a week to a month. Long-term rental accounts for around 20% of business. The majority of longterm berths are located in the canal marina behind the resort, which is separate from the larger marina at the front. Visitors may berth at spaces left available after long-term berths have been filled. The rebuild incorporated Bellingham floating concrete docks and Eaton power pedestals that distribute 30amp, 50amp and 100amp single phase power. On the larger docks, 200amp three phase and 480 volt three phase power is available. Each dock provides water, as well as pump-out for black and grey water at each berth. Fuel is delivered via an ‘ultra high flow’ pump, dispensing up to 400 litres a minute. Facilities at the integrated resort comprise a hotel with 24-hour fitness centre, private beach, concierge, laundry and business services, and an infinity-edge swimming pool with lounge decks for entertainment. The resort contains several restaurants, a market, bars, spa and offers an array of water sport activities and day charters – both sail and sport fishing. Customs and immigration are available on-site. While the marina does not have a boatyard or hard stand facility, the Caicos Marina and Shipyard is close by and readily accessible. In terms of security, the marina is particularly safe. Foster explains: “In the Turks and Caicos Islands, crime is quite low, so security has not been a major concern. We do, however, have security at the resort entrance, as well as nighttime security staff that man the marina gate and patrol the area.” Blue Haven’s position on the hurricane belt is also an important consideration, especially during the summer months. The marina is at risk, but has a plan in place to deal with a storm event and ensure the safety of vessels, visitors and staff by providing relocation, evacuation or shelter for all, during and after the storm. Foster and Mogal believe the marina’s greatest selling point is its resort facilities and the fact it does not restrict crew from enjoying these. The day-to-day running of the marina is relatively smooth, Mogal says. Nevertheless, there are a few challenges. One is the draft restriction of 8.5 feet at low tide on entry to the channel, although this is being addressed. Depth is 12 feet at the docks. The island’s remote location can also be tricky to navigate, she says: “It is never straightforward being on an island. Planning ahead is essential, being so remote when shipments take days to arrive.” - July/August 2015 17

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