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An ‘air of optimism’ in the marina segment

A joint 2012 Marina Dock Age/AMI marina survey revealed steady improvement in the marina business. “I saw a lot of positives across the board,” says Kirby Scheimann, of Marinas International. Eleven percent of the marinas that responded reported full occupancy; 14 percent, 95 to 99 percent occupancy; 24 percent, 85 to 94 percent occupancy; 19 percent, 75 to 84 percent occupancy; 20 percent, 50 to 74 percent occupancy; and 8 percent, less than 50 percent occupancy (4 percent had no slips).

Forty-four percent reported higher occupancy in 2012 than in 2011, 24 percent reported lower occupancy, 30 percent reported no change and 2 percent “weren’t sure.”

West Coast marinas reported the highest percentage (24 percent) with less than 50 percent occupancy. The Northeast reported the highest percentage of marinas with 100 percent occupancy (20 percent). Thirty percent of marinas less than 5 years old reported less than 50 percent slip occupancy and just 3 percent of marinas over 30 years old reported that. None of the drystacks reported less than 50 percent occupancy, nor did any of the large-yacht marinas for boats 61 feet and up.

Forty-six percent reported leased slip revenues were up, 22 percent said they were down and 32 percent reported no change. Thirty-six percent reported that transient slip revenue was up, 27 percent said it was down and 37 percent said there was no change. Fifty percent reported that drystack revenue was up, 17 percent said it was down and 33 percent said there was no change. Forty-six percent reported that fuel revenue was up, 27 percent said it was down and 28 percent said there was no change. Fifty-two percent said boat repair and maintenance revenue was up, 16 percent said it was down and 31 percent said there was no change. Fifty-seven percent reported that used-boat sales were up, 48 percent said restaurant sales were up, 47 percent said new-boat sales were up and 47 percent said boat rental revenues were up. In general, more Midwest marinas reported revenue gains — 85 and 90 percent, respectively, reported increases in used- and new-boat sales.

Sixty percent said expenses overall were up in 2012, compared to 2011, 14 percent said they declined and 26 percent said they were the same. Fifty-seven percent reported that insurance costs were up, 56 percent said utilities were up, 48 percent said capital expenditures were up, 51 percent said maintenance and repair were up and 41 percent said staff costs were up.

Sixty-three percent said they held the line on slip, storage and maintenance rates in 2012, 30 percent increased them and 7 percent decreased them. Thirty-nine percent of marinas with more than 250 slips increased rates, versus 24 percent of 100- to 250-slip marinas and 25 percent of marinas with less than 100 slips. More corporate- and government-owned marinas increased rates, 48 and 40 percent, respectively, than privately owned marinas (26 percent) and marinas categorized as “other” (21 percent).

The figures “kind of back up this trend of things slowly getting better,” Scheimann says. “There is finally an air of optimism out there.”

This article originally appeared in the January 2013 issue.

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