Marina YE (Yarra’s Edge), was first opened on January 1st, 2005. The brand new marina was built in conjunction with a residential development in Yarra’s Edge. In the last 10 years, the marina has grown in size along with the residential development. We speak with Marina Manager Allan Cayzer, who sheds some light on one of Australia’s most exclusive marinas.
“When we opened back then in 2005, there was nothing like our marina in Victoria. We are purely a residential marina in front of a number of apartment housings. Due to this, we introduced a lot of services that were not seen in marinas at that time.” States Allan. Focusing heavily on customer service, the Marina introduced private bathrooms and provided towels and toiletries for their guests. In addition, marina staff actually meet every boat that arrives in the marina and assist in tying them up. “We went away from the club atmosphere, to what we consider a high class marina where we look after the members as well as their boats.” Explains Allan. Along with 24 hour security for all berths, the marina also provides a lounge and is equipped with wireless internet to ensure clients have a pleasant and relaxing stay.
Although Marina YE is primarily residential, it is also a very unique and popular destination. Located at the doorstep of Melbourne, the marina is steps from the CBD. A leisurely stroll will lead clients to Crown Casino, numerous restaurants as well as a DFO for their shopping needs. “We are vitally involved in tourism.” Says Allan. The marina is also conveniently located near the convention centre and the exhibition centre. “This is a place where you come and stay to walk to the Australian Open at the Rod Laver Arena. There is something for all sport fans nearby.” Adds Allan. Marina YE is a short distance to the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground), Australia’s largest stadium, as well as the Etihad Stadium. “There is no marina in Victoria that can offer that, which is what makes us quite unique.” Proudly states Allan.
If sports is not your cup of tea, you can visit the Melbourne Arts Precinct. Situated right beside the MCG, this interesting area hosts unique performances and displays. “We are the sporting capital of Australia, but I must say our arts precinct outstrips the sporting areas for patronage.” Says Allan, who witnesses a larger number of visitors steering toward art events than sporting events. The marina also hosts events such as the Boutique Boat Show held in October. It also offers a view of the nearby Bolte Bridge and come nightfall, visitors can return to the marina to take in Melbourne’s bright and picturesque cityscape.
Marina YE operates with maximum staff, however the marina does not do any maintenance on the boats. “We are simply here to operate the marina, so this creates a lot of career opportunities for tradespeople.” Advises Allan. With a high level of ownership, boat owners at the marina are reluctant to work on their boats themselves. This has created a lot of work for local tradesmen and the marina attracts mechanics, radio technicians, upholsters as well as detailers.
Marina YE currently retains Gold Anchor Accreditation and supports the Clean Marina Program to promote a sustainable boating culture. It is also part of the Yarra’s Edge Business Association, where Allan is an executive member. “We are heavily involved in the promotion of Melbourne and the Yarra River in general, which we are proud to be an important part of.” Explains Allan. Staff at the marina are all well trained and regularly attend marina courses held locally or internationally. Allan himself is off to the United States for a course with his wife to accompany him to attend the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show to check up on what’s new. In January, their dock master will also visit Fort Lauderdale to attend the International Marina and Boatyard Conference. “We are constantly looking at the opposition to see what might help our efforts to remain at the top of the ladder.” Says Allan. Marina YE is also heavily involved in the Marina Industries Association of Australia where Allan lectures at their courses as well as attends their conferences. “We are also members of the local Boating Industry Association of Victoria and are always willing to lend them a hand when required.” Adds Allan.
Allan describes a unique issue the marina faces due to its location. “We are seeing the Yarra River silt up because of the lack of maintenance dredging. “We are finding the river is getting shallower as it has not been maintained for a number of years.” Allan continues with a major issue the industry faces as a whole. “The industry in general still has to keep lifting the bar to be better and better. Our biggest opponent is the recreational caravanning industry. Caravan parks are constantly looking to be better and offer their patrons more, which is why we have to do the same thing. We have to compete with other recreational activities and become better and better at what we do.
By the end of 2015, Allan will have completed his 52nd year in the industry. Starting out when he was just 15 years old, Allan gradually saw the industry grow from the primitive times of timber wharfs and slip ways, up to the modern floating marinas and maintenance facilities we have today. “Not only have I seen these changes, but I have also been a part of it. My 52 years have seen a constant growth and the level where marinas and myself are at now, is certainly the highest level I could have ever expected to achieve in customer service. From a point of housing boats, this marina is exceptional and I’m very glad to be here. However, it doesn’t stop there, because next year we are looking to make further improvements.” Advises Allan.
In the upcoming weeks, Allan will be studying coastal engineering, not only for the benefit of Marina YE but also for his work on other projects. “I’m working on improving the ability of breakwaters, to handle what unprotected sites put up to us. Marina YE is an extremely protected site and an absolute paradise as far as wave and wind action, but I’m still involved in other projects. These projects are on open water, which gets more wave action. So from a personal perspective, I want to improve my personal knowledge to see what we can do there.” Explains Allan.
Being at the centre of the most livable city in the world, Allan states; “We enjoy what we have and we want others to enjoy it as well. Some say, the best thing about coming to this marina is having us meet them and not having to worry about anything, which to me is a huge compliment that we enjoy getting. We want to help people and show them Melbourne. We welcome international and interstate guests and we know they will be amazed at what Melbourne has to offer, particularly as a boat owner pulling up right in the middle of the city.”