How Do You Find The Best Marinas In The World?

One of the ways to find a really good marina is through The Yacht Harbour Association, (The TYHA). It was established to help boat users find good quality marinas and help marina businesses improve their services and operate to high, modern standards. Each year they publish their TYHA Marina of the Year Awards, whereby nominated marinas become better informed about what their customers value most, helping them to provide a better service to the public, improve standards and ensure that boaters enjoy their sport wherever they go.

The Awards, now in their fourth year, recognise the best of over 160 Gold Anchor accredited marinas from around the world. The winning marinas are voted for in certain categories, UK Coastal (over 250 berths), UK Coastal (under 250 berths), UK Inland, International and Superyacht. This year saw the launch of the accolade “Marina of Distinction”. To achieve this high honour a marina must rank as a category finalist over three consecutive competitions. On the third year, they automatically receive the title “Marina of Distinction”.

The marinas to receive the “Marina of Distinction” award in 2017 are:

Superyacht Marina of the year 2017

  • Porto Montenegro

UK Coastal Marina of the year 2017 (over 250 berths)

  • Mayflower Marina – Plymouth, UK

UK Coastal Marina of the year 2017 (under 250 berths)

  • Southampton Town Quay, UK

International Marina of the year 2017

  • Marina de Vilamoura - Portugal

Those to receive Marina of the year awards 2017 in their various categories are:

  • Largs Yacht Haven
  • Poole Quay Boat Haven
  • Church Minshull Aqueduct Marina
  • Karpaz Gate Marina
  • IGY Isle of Sol

So what makes those marinas who have gained the prestigious “Marina of Distinction” award so special? Here are a few details about each.

Porto Montenegro

By Daniel Nyul (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

It is located in the beautiful UNESCO protected Bay of Kotor, a winding bay of the Adriatic Sea in southwestern Montenegro and is surrounded by spectacular, untouched mountain scenery. Lord Byron described Kotar Bay as “the most beautiful encounter of land and sea”. It is attributed to be the deepest natural harbour in Southern Europe and is said to contain 42,000 species of fish.

The world-class, full-service marina is complemented by luxury waterfront homes for rent or sale, international dining opportunities, lively bars and a huge range of sports, leisure and cultural activities. It has 450 berths ranging from 12m to 250m, with both short and long term options available. Onsite facilities include fuel dock with tax and duty-free fuel, 24hr yacht assistance, a multi-lingual marina team, chandlery and maintenance facilities, tax free wines and spirits, CCTV security, internet facilities and a state of the art Yacht Club. Since its launch in 2010 the Yacht Club has set out to challenge the standards of the world’s most prestigious yacht clubs and today it is an established, world class, centre.

Close to the marina there is an abundance of water and mountain sports including kitesurfing, wake boarding, scuba diving, hiking, mountain biking, skiing, canyoning, off-road motor biking, white water rafting and an adventure park.

Mayflower Marina

Ian T [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Situated in the historic port of Plymouth, South Devon, UK, this marina is in a sheltered, central location in one of the finest deep-water harbours in the country. The Sutton Harbour lock gate is operated 24/7 monitoring both tide height and weather conditions, ensuring safe mooring all year round. Mayflower offers three berthing

options, Sutton Quay, West Pier and Guy’s Quay and offers berthing assistance, fully staffed reception, free wifi, excellent wet rooms and showers, electricity and water and complimentary newspapers, tea and coffee.

Nearby are some of the best cruising waters in the UK, while in the old quarter of Plymouth there are places to eat and drink and you can visit the historic Barbican and the Hoe, “Smeaton’s Tower” lighthouse and the Plymouth Lido.

Southampton Town Quay

Located on the eastern shores of Southampton Water, in Hampshire, on the south coast of the UK, the marina offers unrivalled views of Southampton’s busy maritime activity and excellent access to the famous waters of the Solent. The marina is accessible at all states of the tide, with safe and secure berthing and is open from 7am to 11pm every day. It is well serviced with experienced staff on hand for advice and information.

Not only is it in walking distance of the city’s cultural quarter, shopping centre and countless restaurants, bars and theatres, it is also the perfect base for exploring the South Coast. The Isle of Wight, Beaulieu River and Poole Harbour are within easy cruising distance and a little further afield is Cherbourg, the Channel Islands and the Brittany coast.

Marina de Vilamoura

By Eduard Marmet (Marina de Vilamoura) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Vilamoura is the largest marina in Portugal and has a firm commitment to offer the highest standards of service and hospitality. It has 825 berths, can accommodate vessels up to 60 metres and offers the highest quality services to sailors and vessels. The marina not only has a modern and well equipped boatyard offering specialised technical services, the Marina quay is an exciting area for cafes, bars and restaurants, with shops, supermarkets and boutiques close at hand.

Three kilometres of golden sands lay directly before Vilamoura, Praia da Falesia being renowned for its stunning beauty, colourful sandstone cliffs and its strict environmental management. There is a huge range of activities which may be enjoyed in the area including boat charters, fishing, scuba diving, windsurfing, water skiing, paddle boating, to mention just a few.

The TYHA Gold Anchor award scheme has been auditing marinas throughout the world for over 25 years, subjecting them to rigorous tests. Any marina with a Gold Anchor rating will have worked hard to get it and will be well worth visiting.

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