During the COVID-19 crisis Australian club and commercial marinas and boatyards have had to think quickly to deal with the sudden drop in demand for boating and related services. Innovation in the re-deployment of staff has also been necessary.

Victoria and North QLD have been the hardest hit by COVID-19 according to Marina Industries Association (MIA) CEO Colin Bransgrove. “Victoria has the most restrictive of State government directives while in North QLD the decimation of the tourism sector is equally impacting our members across the region. Innovative thinking has been critical where there is some demand for services. Strategy adjustments in line with the changing circumstances is going to remain essential during what may be a long recovery phase.”

At Sandringham Yacht Club in Melbourne, staff re-engaged under the JobKeeper scheme are doing a wide variety of tasks including marina maintenance, cleaning, free of charge member boat washes, home delivery of foods, groceries and take away food and they have also introduced podcasts, a drive-thru car wash for members coming down to pick up food and a very popular community connect offer – which has brought 50 Members’ businesses together. The Club CEO Richard Hewett said “the immediacy of the shutdown meant we had to move very quickly and remain very agile in our thinking and decision making – and our mission is to use our resources including staff in activities that connects us with our members in a bid to try and stay relevant and offer value”.

At one Perth Yacht Club the learn to sail class that previously attracted 20-30 people is now offered as multiple small group classes with a ceiling of nine people to ensure compliance with the latest COVID-19 directives. Many boat yards are offering a range of value-add incentives to customers to bring forward boat maintenance and repairs.         

To support the sharing of innovative ideas during the COVID-19 recovery the MIA is hosting an on-line meeting of members on the 13th May. Marina members from the Middle East to NZ will be participating.  Further details on this and other MIA activities to support members during the pandemic can be found on the MIA website.