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As the warmer weather sets in, boaters worldwide are preparing to head out onto the water for some summer fun. However, before heading out, it’s important to brush up on some basic tips for marina management to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

Managing a marina in today’s post-pandemic scenario isn’t as easy as it may sound. With existing customers agog to return to “normal” and first-timers swarming in, boating demand has peaked at an all-time high. As the COVID-19 guidelines start to ease, people are choosing marina as a newfound passion, or simply to spend quality time with their friends and family. 

Managing a successful marina business essentially boils down to two major factors ― understanding your customer needs to a T and providing uncompromised, top-tier service quality that insists they repeat their transaction.

Keeping that in mind, this blog post delves into nine of the best tips for marina management to help you soar through the peak times and sustain the off-seasons effortlessly. But first, let’s look at where the current marina market scenario stands.

Is Owning & Managing A Marina Business Profitable in 2022?

Is a marina business worth it? Let’s see what the stats have to say. The boating industry boasts of a mind-boggling six billion-dollar market size, with close to 10,000 businesses and 35,000 employees hired – all within the United States alone. 

It’s safe to say that marinas drive great revenue and profits during their peak season. However, whether the marina market is truly a lucrative endeavour throughout the year is determined by many key factors, including the location, harbour type, varieties of boats (commercial/leisure), pricing and more. 

How To Successfully Manage A Marina Venture – Nine Research-Based Tips

Excuse the pun, but with thousands of competitors co-existing in the marina market, you have to go the extra mile to keep your business afloat. From ensuring incomparable service to prioritizing safety for everyone, our list contains some of the best tips for marina management one can find. Let’s check it out –

1. Take The Time To Know Your Business:

As a marina owner, you must have a clear understanding of what your business does, what needs it meets and who your target market is. 

This knowledge is critical for making informed decisions about where to allocate your resources and how to position yourself in this mind-numbingly competitive market. Furthermore, knowing your business inside out helps you communicate its value to potential customers and partners more effectively. 

How does knowing one’s business thoroughly help the Marina owners?

Enthusiasts see the marinas market as a one-stop solution for all of their boating-related resources and information. Therefore, you and your staff being well-versed with information about boat categories, types of servicing and troubleshooting, seasonal water conditions and forecasting can raise your value in front of your clientele. 

A little knowledge never goes in vain, does it? Reports suggest that taking the time to know your customers’ needs plays a significant role in boosting customer lifetime value engagement. In a market as fierce as marinas, repeat customers can ensure your sustainable growth. 

Read more about the “long-term value of a marina customer” here

2. Always Maintain A Top-Notch Online Presence:

The second addition to our tips for marina management list is a strong web presence. Customers are spending more time online; the average person spends 192 minutes daily on the internet. If you want to reach them where they’re at, a strong online presence is your greatest asset.

You can start with a website, which is proven to build immense trust and credibility among the customers. Just as you wouldn’t neglect your business assets and inventory, it’s pertinent that you keep redesigning your website every few years and revamp it even more frequently. 

The benefits of maintaining a strong web presence of marina business owners:

  • It allows you to reach potential boating enthusiasts and leisure-seeking customers in the marinas market, who may not have heard of your venture before. 
  • This enables customers to find you online and learn about your boat categories, safety policy, additional services, and pricing.
  • Frequently updating your website also boosts your SEO, further introducing you to many more prospects searching for boating services on Google.
3. Invest In A High-Rated Marina Management Software:

The boating industry is steadily evolving and adapting to modern-day tech; staying in sync with the latest market trends is one of our most important marina management hacks.

Automating most of your day-to-day operational tasks gives you more time to research and take bold initiatives to 10x the revenue. For that to happen, you should play safe and invest in a marina management software with a proven successful track record in the industry.

DockMaster is a leading software management system aimed to make business operations effortless for marinas, boatyards, and boat dealerships worldwide. DockMaster brings you the latest technology to manage your boatyard or marina at competitive pricing. 

Why choose DockMaster as your vessel management software solution?

  • With over 35 years of industry record, DockMaster is a next-gen, flexible marina-centric software that is trusted by marinas across the globe.
  • It helps you manage responsibilities like cyclical billing items, meter readings, yard storage, rack storage, wet slips, moorings, etc. all on the go.
  • It also enables you to keep track of revenue management, fuel management, slip accessibility, dry stack launch scheduling, client movement history and much more.

Click here for an in-depth marina management software products tour by DockMaster.

4. Establish A Comprehensive Safety Policy For Your Business:

Next, creating a thorough safety policy is a management fundamental. It should be created by every marina owner and reviewed or updated frequently.

What Is A Marina Safety Policy? Why Is It Important?

Must-Have Features of a Leading Marine Management System

Marina safety policies are important documents outlining the protocols that address all aspects of safety, from fire safety to personal safety to environmental safety. It also outlines the processes for reporting and responding to accidents, an occurrence not too uncommon in the marinas market. Some examples include – 

  • Requiring life jackets to be worn at all times
  • Banning smoking in certain areas
  • Ensuring the marina is well-lit at night, etc. 

Apart from protecting the customers and staff, it also helps protect the marina itself from liability in the event of an accident. Lastly, it ensures the marina complies with all applicable laws and regulations.

5. Take Proper Care of Your Boat Trailers:

This one goes without saying. No matter what level of business you’re dealing with, one of the greatest tips for marina management is consistent quality assurance. The timely maintenance of your boat trailers helps ensure that your customer experience scores are soaring high.

Reasons why marina owners should manage their boats properly: 

  • First, boats are a hefty investment, and proper care can help maintain a stable ROI.
  • A well-maintained boat is less likely to experience problems at sea, which could lead to serious injury or even death.
  • Taking care of boats helps protect the environment and keep waterways clean as poorly-maintained boats release toxic chemicals into the waters.
  • A well-maintained boat will hold its value better over time, meaning – it can be sold for a higher price when the time comes.
  • Additionally, marina owners who invest in timely maintenance don’t experience unexpected repair bills, which can be costly.
6. Keep Track of Your Fuel Regularly

Our list of tips for marina management would remain incomplete without this crucial information – track your fuel as much as possible. 

Tracking fuel levels continuously is important for marina owners for many reasons. First, it helps ensure that there is always enough fuel to meet customer needs. Second, it can help marina owners spot trends in fuel usage, which in turn helps them adjust their prices accordingly. 

Fuel theft has turned out to be a serious problem in the marina industry, costing owners thousands of dollars each year. In this context, fuel tracking also helps keep an eye on their inventory and prevent fuel theft. 

However, we understand that with so many responsibilities at hand at once, keeping track of the simple, little things gets challenging. You need technology to rely on. DockMaster, an industry-leading marina management software features a next-gen FuelCloud integration that makes fuel management easier than before.  

7. Be More Environment-Friendly:

While marinas can be beneficial to the local economy and tourism, they can also have a serious negative impact on the waters. A USEPA report holds marinas as a substantial contributor to pollution in lakes, rivers and coasts. 

Here are the following environmental impacts of marinas highlighted in the report:

  • Rising water toxicity and water erosion
  • Elevated pollutant concentrations in the marine environment and species
  • Nutrient imbalance, leading to a rise in algae and oxygen depletion
  • Increasing pathogen levels, etc.

How does the marina market contribute to water pollution?

  1. Boatyards release sewage and other wastes directly into the water, leading to the growth of harmful bacteria and algae. 
  2. Marina activities can also disturb sediments on the seafloor, causing them to release pollutants into the water. 
  3. Furthermore, moored boats can leak oil and other toxic chemicals into the water, which can have a devastating effect on marine life.

Being conscious of these actions could lower your marina’s environmental impact. As time progresses, people are more inclined toward environmentally-friendly businesses. Thus, going green can help you gain trust, credibility and respect among your target audience. 

8. Opt For Mobile Optimization:

Speaking of smart tips for marina management, we can never speak enough about the need for mobile optimization. 

In 2022, approximately 7.8 billion people globally use mobile phones. This report claims that 92% of all web users choose smartphones as their preferred mode of transaction. Amidst such a progressive market scenario, being more accessible on mobile devices raises the bar for flexibility higher than ever.

DockMaster offers a wide array of optimization features, available in their mobile app. This way, the software can be accessed and worked on from any web-connected device. From scheduling tasks to adding time cards or updating the managers, this high-tech mobile optimization cancels out pen-and-paper documentation from the equation.

9. Hire Good People and Build A Loyal Faculty:

Ending our list of tips for marina management with the greatest advice of all – hire and retain good folks. 

A company is only as good as its employees, as they say. If you want to have a thriving boating business, make sure you have a team of talented, dedicated individuals firing the engine. How do we do that? While hiring, ensure whether they are a good fit for your company culture and contribute positively to the workplace. 

Be sure to analyze if they have the skills and experience necessary to do the job you’re hiring them for. Once hired, proper training and development can refine them into valuable assets to manage your vessel business. DockMaster also offers best-in-class training to educate your crew about the marina management software to amplify their day-to-day efficiency via online group sessions. 

Final Thoughts

From choosing the right software to hiring the best people, we hope our research-based advice helped develop or improve your marina management strategy. By following these tips, marina managers can improve the safety, security and efficiency of their day-to-day operations. 

If you’re interested in upgrading your management by shifting to a software-based approach, click here to request a free demo and get started.

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