Offering a new, socially stimulating, environmentally responsible way to berth a yacht, and to fully enjoy the boating lifestyle.
Necessary, innovative, ecologically, and environmentally sound design sparks the interest of most of us who participate in ocean-based activities. It is hard to enjoy the wonders of water exploration and recreation without concern for the environmental impact, our safety, and our enjoyment of expenditure ratio. Enter floating 'Marina Pods,' in one forward-thinking package addressing the unmet demand for berthing and the need to protect our oceans from the environmental impact of traditional marinas.
Marina Pods was born from the realization by international skipper and entrepreneur, Ian Scarffe, that the current model for berthing boats was neither meeting the necessary demand (doing so in a way that most boaters enjoyed) or looking after the safety of our environment or the recreational and tourism-based boating industry's longevity.
Alongside high usage of fossil fuels and other environmentally unsound practices and use, traditional marinas' water edge positioning creates the potential for contamination from typical marina based activities such as cleaning and re-fueling.
What are Marina Pods?
Marina Pods are modular, autonomous pontoons, designed to be placed in semi-protected and remote locations along coastlines, to provide safe berthing, essential services, and overnight stays away from traditional marinas, pontoons, and anchorages. These modular pods provide berths, mostly for small and medium-sized vessels, with one spot reserved for larger yachts. They are entirely un-crewed, using advanced technology to streamline booking and planning, enabling users to utilize touch screen systems to plan and book the next Marina Pod en route.
There is something appealing about a berthing option that 'will revolutionize the boating experience by providing essential and high-end services on the water with greater quality and convenience than those currently offered by traditional marinas.' but perhaps even more exciting is how floating Marina Pods address the need for resolutions throughout the entire industry which prioritizes protecting our oceans and our resources.
Protecting Our Oceans One Pod at a Time…
The Marina Pods plan starts with just one pod, in Croatia, showcasing the concept in a real-life setting and allowing the industry and industry investors to see its forward-thinking features, namely 'environmentally friendly, clean energy alternatives… (which) meet the demand for berths and moorings.'
The pods are 100% off-grid and self-sufficient. They provide renewable energy from solar systems, alongside desalination systems for freshwater supply and numerous other essential services such as waste disposal, emergency shelter, WiFi, and supply replenishment.
Most importantly, when compared to traditional marinas, the design of the pods prioritizes low environmental impact, utilizing the tried and tested SeaFlex® Mooring System, enabling the preservation and maintenance of natural habitats even as they provide berthing opportunities in remote locations of natural beauty.
The plan is to deploy floating Marina Pods in clusters of six across a radius of around three hundred nautical miles. These clusters will provide one hundred and two slips, meeting the growing demand for mooring opportunities as well as boaters' preference for off-marina locations which, according to the creators' 2017 survey, most found to be too expensive, too overcrowded, too loud, too dirty and polluted and visually disappointing. It is time for a new solution.
As well as providing safe moorings in otherwise unavailable locations, the design of the modular system allows for upgrading of existing provisions, furthering the potential of the plan.
Keeping Natural Beauty Beautiful
While everything so far is sounding positive, one concern around making remote locations accessible and utilizable is whether this renders the area a place of not so much natural beauty; is this the case with the floating Marina Pods? The design concept is simple, modern, and relatively non-detracting; check this video for a quick tour of the visual design. The business plan and success are based on placing a pod every thirty nautical miles creating a route of safe mooring and service accessibility for skippers to follow.
There could be some grumbles around these modern pods dotting the vistas of our most beautiful coastlines, but the concept's ecologically sound practices and respectful design outweigh any concerns. Coastal ocean views are generally perceived as pleasant when there are boats to admire. The founder expects the business will 'aggressively expand during the first five years' with high occupancy, so most of what you will see is safely moored boats.
Alongside sound environmental practices that protect our oceans, we also want to know there's a good balance between enjoyment and expenditure. Ocean-based hobbies can come with high price tags attached, and mooring is no exception to this rule. Marina Pods plans to go into the market with tariff rates around 25% below its competitors, creating affordability to most users and perhaps strongly appealing to the growing flotilla demand for individuals and charter companies. Smaller slips will average around €52 per night up to about €420 per night for the larger vessels. Off-season fees will drop dramatically to keep the pods full year-round and provide a feasible alternative for longer-term offseason berthing.
Floating Marina Pods are ticking the boxes for berthing demand and oceanic protection at reasonable price points. Writing this blog is a good reminder that it is time to take that sailing holiday around Croatia, and perhaps stopping at a pod soon.
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Heather Barbour is a product expert, a degreed communications and business professional, and an adventurous, entrepreneurial travel writing enthusiast originally from Raleigh, North Carolina. Heather is a PADI-certified Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) and holds a Silver Advanced Open Water Instructor certification from SSI, having logged more than 300 training classes over the last four years