great thread, my wife is extremely picky for live-aboard marinas
and I'll give you the short list of what impresses her after spending years looking around at different marinas and coming back to the same one and living aboard
now for 10 years or so.
1) Esthetically appealing, if the docks are falling apart its a no from the start, doesn't matter what the amenities are. Doesn't have to be the taj mahal, but replacing rotting wood docks and painting buildings and keeping things clean is a must. Paint
, wall paper are such easy low cost improvements that many ignore.
room. Every sailor needs a laundry
room and almost none have them onboard. It will pay for itself in a year. Make sure it's nice and clean, counters for folding clothes.
3) Showers. Also need to be clean and well kept. Many people after sailing and are docking
are tired of their own 2 sq ft of shower
space and want a nice heated room.
4) Pool. It's sort of ubiquitous, but a pool is a must. Most people keep their boats in a marina because they want to be by the water
but then end up in places where they can't be "in" the water
. Without a pool any boater at your dock on a hot summer day either has to be away from your marina or cooped up in his boat with the A/C on, neither of which is really desired.
OK, your marina up to this point if it has everything above would be competitive, but not outstanding. Want to make your marina outstanding you need:
5) Green space. Boy is this one over looked. Most marinas are simply simply parking lots with slips and a pool attached. Do you want to spend your time in a parking lot with a pool attached? A nice yard for people to gather and their kids
to play. Way over looked. Always over looked. Do this and suddenly my wife would consider going there. Flowers, trees, gardens make a huge difference.
6) Play ground. Again this doesn't have to be anything elaborate. Simply a tree house slide thing with a few swings over some chipped rubber will do. For families though they will take note and you'll go way up in their estimation. To a lot of families this is very much a must have that many overlook.
7) outdoor grills. I don't think people really notice this but they are going to be grilling and you might as well take 2 sq ft of your space to confine this activity.
Do this and my wife who is the pickiest person in the world will seriously consider you. You'll also attract nice, quiet, fun family
types to your place rather than antisocial miscreants or alcoholic partiers. In other words your amenities dictate your customers.
If you've got the money and want to make other options that won't sacrifice the quality of the above some other good things are:
7) A small sandwhich shop. It's a minor plus, but definitely not needed. It also brings up problems because now it's difficult to ensure that predators or homeless or people looking to empty out their portapoties don't ruin your bathrooms. I'd definitely agree with imagine on this one, you don't want people just coming off the streets and dumping stuff in the bathrooms and showers. When our showers were open to the public someone emptied out a portapotty into the shower
and the marina manager had to clean up a pile of human waste about a foot deep. Then we got cipher locks and it's been 100% cleaner.
8) A small pavillion in which slip owners can gather and talk. It's a very nice touch like a screen
enclosed room with a grill
9) A common room, or clubhouse with a row of shelves for a library for exchanging books
, or work
out room. Nice touches that will add a definite bargaining point. If you put a common room with a fireplace for those who visit their boats in the winter time you will have NO competition. Remember, profile the people you want to be there and then cater to them.
OK, now these are the mistakes
that people put in their marinas:
1) A bar. You want people drinking beers and throwing up in the bathrooms at 2am, go for it. But the family
types with the kids
2) A marine
shop. Typically people would rather drive an extra 5 minutes and have a selection than go to a small onsite marine shop, use that precious space for something that people would want to use every single
day like a common room, gazebo....
3) A marine business (like a dealor for inflatables, or yanmar
repair, etc). If you want a working yard, you're going to need to have a lot of room for this and keep it seperate for all of the nice green space above. And their 20 delivery
trucks etc will be taking all the parking away from your marina tenants. Marine businesses tend to expand and slew stuff all around them.
4) Allowing a charter
group to come in. Nothing trashes a marina faster than a bunch of charter
people getting off a large boat. Again, pick in your mind what you want your marina to be, a place where slip owners have birthday parties or where a constant stream of unconcerned strangers pop in and out of the place.