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New superyacht marina in St George officially opened

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Grand opening: George Dowling III, the former Mayor of St George, Nyon Dowling, David Burt, the Premier, David Chew, Corporation of St George Councillor, Mark Soares, owner of St George’s Marine development Ltd, Candy-Lee Foggo, Corporation of St George town secretary, Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, and Renée Ming, a St George’s MP, do the honours yesterday (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
The new completed marina in St George (Photograph supplied)

Politicians, dignitaries and members of the community gathered for the official opening of the St George’s Marina and Superyacht Dock, which will pave the way for a “thriving and prosperous future”.

Mark Soares, owner of the marina’s operator St George’s Marina Development Ltd, said at yesterday’s unveiling that the dock could accommodate about ten superyachts and was expected to significantly boost the economy.

While no figures were provided on the expected economic impact of the marina, Mr Soares said only two superyachts visiting the island would have about the same economic impact as one visiting cruise ship.

They unveiled a completely renovated facility at 9 Ordnance Island, the old cruise ship terminal, and a 170ft concrete dock. By this time next week, an additional 140ft floating dock will be added.

Speaking at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, David Burt said the development symbolised the Government’s commitment to enhancing the Corporation of St George and the community.

The Premier said: “One of our significant promises was to deliver the construction of a world-class marina that would serve as a catalyst for Bermuda as a superyacht destination – a further step in the economic renaissance that has been taking place in the Olde Towne.

“This new marina capitalises on the prominence and strategic location of Ordnance Island and will give St George’s the unique ability to provide excellent amenities to yachting visitors and jobs beyond construction in areas such as the new lounge.”

David Burt, the Premier, makes a speech at the opening of the St George’s marina and superyacht dock (Photograph supplied)

Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, said the project had been a long time coming ― the marina was initiated in 2012 and had been scheduled to be completed last June.

The project was also over budget ― the original cost estimate of $2.7 million was increased to $4.12 million. It was not confirmed if this remains the final budget for the project.

The minister said last year that the cost had increased because of “both the current inflationary price cycle and the increase in construction work content of the project through design development”.

Colonel Burch said at the unveiling: “This achievement not only symbolises this government’s unwavering commitment to the super yacht charter industry but also reaffirms our dedication to the ancillary industries that will thrive alongside it.

“This progress is due to the introduction of the Super Yachts and Other Vessels (Miscellaneous) Act 2019, which supports three categories of vessel permits ― transit, cruise and superyacht charters. Additionally, the legislation introduced updates to existing rules to accommodate various sizes of superyachts.”

He said the legislation made it easier for yachts to obtain permits for cruising and chartering.

In November 2021, the Government announced details of the leasing arrangement between the Corporation of St George and the marina’s developer through a private-public partnership.

Under the arrangement, the corporation leases land to the developer for 21 years less a day and shares the gross proceeds of the marina revenue.

What the marina includes

The marina includes an improved and designated dock area for visiting yachts; a newly repaired dock on the south side of Ordnance Island; 650 linear feet of dockage for smaller yachts; ten “stern to berths” for super yachts with mooring systems; a marina reception, lounge, food and beverage and internet café; a duty free fuel dock; and the installation of sewage pumping services.

Crisson Construction spearheaded the initial dock work, D&J Construction completed the renovation works to the building and engineering consultants Brunel Ltd provided technical supervision.

Colonel Burch added: “This marina and the Town of St George can lead the way for ensuring a thriving and prosperous future for our super yacht charters and ancillary industries.”

Mr Soares said the new marina had “put Bermuda on the map as another destination for super yachts” and was hopeful it would extend the super yacht season, which runs from April to June.

He added: “While we haven’t seen an increase in yachts, we have already noticed an increase in the length of stay and the number of yachts with guests on board.

“When I first started this endeavour, we had a lot of yachts coming to Bermuda – we have about 750 yachts, about 40 of which are super yachts. You would maybe see a guest on board once every two years but this season I have already seen about five boats with guests on board for extended periods

“It is a combination of everything – it is a bit of ‘build it and they will come’, the America’s Cup leftovers and the fact the Bermuda Government has supported the legislation, which makes it easier to bring super yachts here. It is also the fact that the Bermuda Tourism Authority is out there doing campaigns and I believe we are starting to see the effects of that.

“Two superyachts will have the equivalent economic impact of a cruise ship easily and it’s less detrimental to the environment. We have a place for cruise ships in Dockyard, St George’s is more suited for yachts and they have a huge impact on the economy and jobs.”

According to the BTA, an 80-metre to 90-metre superyacht generates about $50,000 for the economy a week, while that figure jumps to $127,000 a week if the owner is on board.

Mr Soares added that the marina would also benefit local boat owners who would be encouraged to visit and make use of the facilities, which included water, power, internet, showers, laundry facilities and key card access from 6am to midnight.

Renée Ming, the MP for St George’s North, hoped that consideration would be given to local fishermen who have traditionally used the dock to fish.

There is information available on the St George’s Marina and Superyacht Dock website here.

Attendees of the official opening of the St George’s marina and superyacht dock, pictured inside the marina facility (Photograph supplied)

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Published May 23, 2023 at 7:58 am (Updated May 23, 2023 at 8:10 am)

New superyacht marina in St George officially opened

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