"When you have more destinations, more waterfront properties, and more marinas, you create an environment where it is easy to keep a boat, protect it, and also have places to go," Erwin Bamps, CEO of Gulf Craft, told Khaleej Times.
"The focus of the developments in new marina areas are twofold - firstly to ensure additional berthing facilities for boat owners, and secondly, to create complete leisure destinations within the marinas."
He added: "Now, we foresee the development of new marinas along the coastline of the UAE that will allow boat owners to go, let me call it 'marina hopping', where they could set sail for lunch to another marina and then return. An increased number of such marinas create twin benefits - firstly there would be more berths to keep the boats, and secondly, there would be a wider choice of destinations for the boat owners."
Bamps also predicted that the increased number of new waterfront developments will attract people to come and live in the UAE.
"Those who are already living here can take advantage of the UAE Government's growing focus to create multiple waterfronts at the core of upcoming communities. As more communities develop with waterfronts at their doorstep, they will further promote a yachting and boating lifestyle amongst people living and working in Dubai. With so many destinations shaping up at an exponential pace, waters in and around the UAE offer a very enticing proposition to the waterfront property owners, and personal boats will become a necessity to enjoy the new marina lifestyle to the fullest," he said.
Franco Gianni, owner of Dubai-based SFG Yacht Design, also noted that new developments are taking the region's marine capabilities to a new level. "Dubai's marinas are rightly recognised as some of the best in the world and that's only going to continue. The number of berths and marina space in Dubai is vital to its growth as a maritime destination."
A recent listing by Menon Economics showed that Dubai has strengthened its position as a maritime destination, ranking 10th globally, and placing fifth in terms of attractiveness and competitiveness. As berth supply climbs and projects like the Dubai Harbour, marinas at Mina Rashid, and the Dubai Canal create new destinations for yacht owners, for the first time in nearly 10 years supply of space is on track to meet growing demand.
The Dubai Harbour project alone will include a 1,400 berth marina and will increase Dubai's capacity for handling yachts by almost 50 per cent from the current 3,000 berths in the emirate. It will also add the capacity to handle larger yachts of up to 85 metres in length. The new Mina Rashid Marina, once fully operational, will include 19 designated docks, plus 646 berths that can accommodate more than 5,000 boats.
Dubai Properties' Dh1 billion mixed-use Marasi Business Bay development is a collection of five marinas over a 7.4km stretch along the Dubai Water Canal. Once completed, the five marinas will boast 1,250 berths for boat owners to dock at. Dubai Properties has appointed Art Marine as the exclusive operator of the recently launched Marasi Marina, which currently offers 157 berths.
"Dubai has managed to cement its reputation as having one of the world's leading maritime industries with the development of high quality waterfront destinations and marina projects," a Dubai Properties spokesperson said by e-mail. "As we see more locations, such as Marasi Marina and Culture Village, providing luxury residential experiences with waterfront access, we expect to see more owners investing in yachts in order to enjoy the unique maritime leisure options Dubai offers. "We believe that our investment in Marasi Business Bay, as well as developing other waterfront destinations, has a positive impact on showcasing Dubai's maritime capabilities and further encourages the growth of both the destinations and the maritime industry in the emirate."
Elsewhere in the UAE, both Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah have announced plans for marina developments.
Developed by Sharjah Oasis Real Estate, Sharjah Waterfront City is a development that stretches over 60 million square feet in a series of eight islands. Sultan Al Shakrah, CEO of Sharjah Oasis Real Estate, revealed that the islands will be home to a vibrant community of 60,000 people living in 1,500 luxury villas and smart homes, and 95 mixed-use towers. The development also includes a number of hotels, shopping centres, office complexes, as well as a marina with a capacity of 800 berths.
Benoy Kurien, GM at Al Hamra Real Estate, also spoke about Al Hamra Marina in Ras Al Khaimah. "The marina is an extension of the Al Hamra Village, a luxury lifestyle community that consists of the marina, a championship golf course, residences, a mall and 5-star hotels, and is firmly at the heart of the community. Al Hamra Marina has increased the number of berths from 197 to 222; this figure is set to increase again to 238 as part of renovations currently being undertaken at the marina to help satisfy demand."
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