Having started at the scenic Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott on Wednesday, May 8, this year’s 9th edition of annual British Marine Federation (BMF) Marina Conference was attended by marina professionals, coming from all over the world. The event was sponsored by Walcon Marine.
The Conference welcomed many delegates some coming from as far as Brazil and the US with others from Turkey and Europe, was opened by Nicola Walsh, CMM UK and European Chairman, in which she expressed her hopes that ‘new ideas and tips’ would be imparted and that everyone would leave ‘inspired’.
Derek Williams, Director of The WOW! Awards, gave the first talk of the conference which focused on heightening employee engagement. Sarah Dhanda, Senior Federation Director of the BMF spoke on the subject of ‘how to generate enthusiasm for boating and watersports’. Sarah touched upon taking inspiration from the BMF’s American and Australian counterparts on attracting a larger and wider audience. The Yacht Harbour Association’s (TYHA) Manager, Gareth Turnbull and Mieke Veugels CMM discussed how to capitalise on marina staff and how to create favourable first impressions and retain customers.
A field trip was organised to BMF member, MDL’s Cobb’s Quay Marina, situated in Poole Harbour. Conference attendees were given a tour of the impressive facilities of this 1090 berth marina followed by a visit to Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) College, one of the highlights being a visit to the multi-million pound lifeboat simulator.
Certified Marina Manager (CMM) and Certified Marina Professional (CMP) presentations included Jon Pridham, Managing Director of Cowes Yacht Haven receiving his CMM Certificate, the 314th CMM certificate awarded. Robin Walters, founder of Walcon Marine, was awarded the Honorary Certified Marina Professional in recognition of his dedication and contribution to the industry.
A popular new addition to the conference was the breakout sessions which gave delegates the chance to attend three out of four talks of their choice, the subjects included Hiring Top Performers, Legal Challenges, Marketing – Capitalise on Opportunities and Environment – Best Practise, Legislation and Resources.
Emanuele Rinaldi CMM, Director of ESEAR Marina Management Solutions & TYHA World Assessor, who attended the conference said: “The 2013 Marina Conference has been absolutely useful. It is good for meeting people and catching up with the world’s best marina professionals each year. The content of the talks and the speakers have been excellent. I really enjoyed the conference and I think that every year the content is better. The annual Marina Conference is an event that can’t be missed!”
Nicola Walsh commented, “A lot of passion was demonstrated by the key players in the industry, and this was apparent to the delegates. With updates on targeted topics via presentations and workshops I left the Marina Conference feeling inspired and armed with new tips, ideas and contacts, ready to play a more effective part in the marine industry.”
The BMF’s Sarah Dhanda said: “The BMF Marinas Conference was, as always, a fantastic event for Marina Managers and professionals. The inclusion of an industry field trip and topical breakout sessions this year ensured that the conference remained relevant to all those attending. We were delighted to welcome an increased number of International delegates including several from Brazil.”