A 3% rise in berths to some 70,000, marina revenues up by a third, and a 17% rise in 24m (78.5ft)-sized berths are key findings in the latest bi-annual Club Marine Health of the Australian Marina Industry Survey.

The 2017 survey is the third edition of this marina sector review which has now provided extensive trend data over a six-year period. Out of a total of 320 marinas in Australia, 44% participated in the 2017 survey, the largest number so far. The survey is carried out by the Recreation Marine Research Centre at Michigan State University for the Marina Industries Association (MIA), based in Sydney.

The key findings from the surveys over the 2012/13-2016/17 period include:

  • Steady demand for marina boat storage with national storage occupancy at 85%
  • 38% of marinas have summer waiting lists for berth spaces
  • 3% increase in supply to approximately 70,000 spaces
  • Supply of 24m-plus berths grew 17% over this period
  • Marina gross revenues up significantly increasing 32% to A$3.2m
  • For the 2016/17 period capital expenditure was on average A$850,000 per marina
  • Average marina payroll has increased 33% over the six-year period
  • Growth of 96% over six years in the number of contactors employed at marinas

The report’s author, Dr Ed Mahoney, said: “The 120-page report is one of the most, if not the most, scientific and practically-relevant marina surveys conducted anywhere in the world. 25% of the known Australian marinas completed all three surveys over a six-year period and this provides the rare capacity to compare various performance measures over time.”

MIA chairman Andrew Chapman said: “The survey has been a key platform in MIA’s long-term strategy to support the sustainable development of the marina industries.”

Colin Bransgrove, MIA executive officer, added that the survey “highlights the importance of marinas as valuable employment hubs within local communities.”

Over the six-year period there has been a 30% increase in the number of marinas providing social or recreational programmes or activities for the general public. Investment in environmental protection more than doubled.

Bransgrove commented: “These trends reflect the industries growing role as providers of community recreational, social and environmental services and leadership.”

Club Marine chief executive officer Simon McLean said: “Club Marine is proud to support this important research project. We are committed to providing thought leadership to the recreational marine sector. This marina research is a most valuable addition to our understanding of the business of marinas and to the lead role they can play supporting the growth of recreational boating.”