A new report from British Marine entitled ‘The Marina and Moorings Market in the UK’ shows that the country’s marina sector produced revenues of £222m in 2016, up 0.3% on 2015. The report for last year covers 563 marina and mooring companies that employ nearly 3,000 full-time staff, a small drop on the previous year.

The positive news is that the report records a fifth consecutive year of growth, proving the sector is both robust and innovative in the face of some difficult trading times. The report, using figures taken from 2016, included a survey of occupancy levels in spring this year, offering the first piece of in-depth analysis of the UK’s coastal and inland operations.

Undertaken by British Marine, the trade body for the UK’s leisure marine sector, the report includes both members and non-members among the 563 businesses included. It also identifies key trends over time and provides both key capacity and occupancy information for marina operators as well as a valuable range of key metrics at a national level. With two dedicated reports on the coastal and inland sub-sectors, it offers further in-depth analysis.

Coming just over a year after the ‘Leave’ vote in the EU Referendum, the report shows that the sector, like many others, experienced a dip in business optimism. But it rebounded quickly, taking immediate advantage of the depressed sterling and the subsequent increase in visits from overseas sailors and tourists, and a broader UK customer base. Berth occupancy is reported to be at its highest levels since those of 2013, with both inland and coastal marinas at 88% of capacity.

Business confidence across the sector is high at +58%, with British Marine members reporting positive performance across major marina trades. This is considerably higher than the +29% reported across the whole UK marine industry. Some innovative business thinking is helping keep this sentiment high and tackle some of the challenges facing the sector and the wider marine industry. Challenges like an ageing market and the low value of sterling, which has seen inland marinas and moorings offer more residential berths, and coastal marinas invest in dry stack storage and facilities for smaller boats.

Jon White, general manager of The Yacht Harbour Association, the British Marine marina association, commented: “These growth figures, while modest, are extremely encouraging and the analysis should provide our members with an invaluable economic picture from which to grow or develop their businesses. It is great to see so many marina and mooring operators across the inland and coastal waters of the UK develop innovative ways to deal with an ageing customer and an economic climate that is still proving challenging.”