At Malahide Marina today, the Irish Marine Federation announced the formation of The Irish Marina Operators Association (IMOA) to represent the growing number of marinas in Ireland.
IMOA is an associate group of the Irish Marine Federation (IMF), and will focus exclusively on the needs of marina operators. Membership of IMOA currently represents coastal marinas, but will eventually be open to Ireland's inland waterway marinas. Speaking at the launch ceremony, Steve Conlon, IMF said, "There has been considerable interest from the marina operators in this innovative venture, with a result that 18 of Ireland's coastal marinas, North and South, have already joined the IMOA with the remaining marinas expressing interest in coming on board."
The objectives of the new association are to provide a forum for marina operators to promote and encourage the growth and development of the marina industry in Ireland and, through a cohesive approach, influence policy, establish high standards, and provide training, promotion and more competitive procurement procedures for the industry.
To help achieve these objectives, the Marine Institute will provide a series of workshops for the group aimed at enhancing the quality of services and standards of marinas in Ireland and establishing a network of European marina operators. This initiative is the result of the Institute's successful partnership bid in an EU Interreg funded programme.
Welcoming the set-up of IMOA, Ms. Anne Wilkinson, from the Marine Institute said, "Ireland has benefited from substantial investment in marina development in the past few years with a growth in the number of marinas rising from 6 in 1996 to 19 in 2003. In marina development terms, Ireland is in an early development stage compared to our European neighbours. Nevertheless our marinas can make a significant impact in regional locations. "
It is estimated that a typical 50-80 berth marina can generate between €500-850K annually for the local economy.
Ms Wilkinson added, "By aiming to stimulate best practice and achieve international marina standards, the IMOA will maximise the potential for growth and development in this sector."