The initiative “Marina Menu’ introduces a new way of thinking about marina’s. It is a useful tool for economic and spatial policy making and thus creating opportunities for water sport development.

An initiative of Robert Holmes, Monica de Vast, Rob Vrolijks, Research Centre for Coastal Tourism and HISWA.

Marinamenu developed over the last ten years into a very useful tool to define marina development, to inspire marina managers and to make public government and private sector understand each other better. It is used in policy making and changed over the years into a system to enhance water sport development. It is used in the UK, the Netherlands, Finland and Belgium and several international presentations were given on the subject.

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Background and history


“There is not just one kind of marina!” That’s what Rob Vrolijks, Robert Holmes and Monica de Vast decided at the end of the sector discussion on recreation and tourism in the Dutch South-West Delta on 12th November 2009.

“Separately from each other and on different platforms we had all run up against this problem,” according to Robert Holmes. “But when we met each other at this sector discussion it was confirmed yet again.” Monica de Vast observes that whenever the economic development of coastal and nautical regions is involved, the discussion logically turns to the development of marinas. But it is striking that everybody has their own frame of reference in mind. For instance, when the development of a marina in the vicinity of a restaurant was under discussion, one participant thought about a pier for temporary mooring, while another immediately translated the same marina development into hundreds of berths.

“This was clearly a case of comparing apples and oranges,” says Rob Vrolijks. “But it does show that there are misunderstandings about marina development concepts.”

“We see it as a challenge to get rid of this confusion tongues,” says Robert Holmes. “We wanted to see how far we could get, using our own knowledge and experience, in unpicking the concept of “marina” and coming up with unambiguous terms and images.” The initiators spent a few days together in the summer of 2010 to sort out types with the help of harbour/marina guides, navigation charts, their own knowledge, articles about water sports development and new ideas. The next step was to add information about space, economy, facilities, kinds of water and types of boats. Sometimes this resulted in types being merged, but sometimes they had to split types because of differences. “Initially we thought we would make it with 20 types. That it turned out to be 50 surprised us enormously. The final version contained 51, but we thought 50 was a better number,” the initiators admit.

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