What a year we have had...! It seems that 2022 has whizzed by which plays testament to the volume of activity this year at Liverpool Marina.
To recap, here's a round up of events since the start of the year; the good, the bad and the lessons in between with a little of what we have planned for 2023...
In February, we were hit with another storm - Storm Eunice! Our team worked together to minimise the storms impact ahead its arrival by fixing untidy and slack mooring ropes and attaching extra ropes where required, closing off all potentially hazardous areas for risk of flying debris . Winds hit us at over 70mph over a number of days. We suffered the loss of some roof tiles and a handful of pontoon breakages which were quickly rectified once it was safe to do so.
The male & female w.c & shower refurbishment completed in March. The new facilities was one of the major projects to be completed this year and just one of the many improvements made to the marina facilities.
Yard clear up
Following on from the storm repairs and shower refurbishment, we continued our improvement efforts by focusing on our external areas. The yard which was once unsightly with weeds, building debris and every structure a different colour, was transformed by our team into a much more presentable area which featured new a new recycling area, planters for Berth Holders to grow their own vegetables and an on-brand blue cabin for the lads!
The introduction of our new car park management company Smart Parking was not a smooth ride initially! New ANPR cameras were installed prematurely to us being able to gather the data required to whitelist all eligible vehicles, leading to car park chaos! Nevertheless, following several meetings with Smart Parking and a bit of graft in the office, we managed to remove all illegitimate PCNs issued and introduce a new process for registering vehicles which has since been working well.
Fuel prices soared in February when Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and continued to rise through early March. This led to very large increases in fuel prices to new record levels in early and mid-March. Our prices jumped from 0.90p per litre up to £1.73 per litre. To minimise the impact on our customers, we cut our handling charge by 10%. Recently the prices have began to stabilise again with Diesel at £1.20 per litre for domestic. We are working closely with several suppliers to bring this price down again in the new year.
Jet washing programme commenced
Blue Point Marine Services were instructed to carry out the jet washing twice a year, once in April and again in October. This work strips the pontoons of the build up of dirt & decay which can contribute to slips and trips. It also helps to highlight any worn or potentially hazardous planks for the team to replace during their routine planking programme.
Keeping with the theme of aesthetic improvements, we painted both Coburg & Brunswick bridges to match the rest of the exterior buildings. The bridges were transformed from dull steel, to our bright brand blue!
Feedback surveys were sent out earlier in the year with the next one due in January. Feedback is strictly anonymous and enable us to better understand your needs. Many improvements made this year have been made on the back of the feedback submitted so please do continue to complete the surveys when they're sent out. We publish the results of these feedback requests online, so keep your eyes peeled for updates online.
Health & Safety online
In 2020, whilst Covid-19 forced us to temporarily close, we focused our attention on improving our health & safety with the introduction of quarterly health & safety inspections. This year, in light of your feedback, we improved our customer transparency by publishing our health & safety inspection reports online. These reports will continue to be published and any questions or concerns are welcomed. The next inspection will be due in January 2023.
Car park clear up
Once we have cleaned up our yard areas, we focused on the entrance of the marina and turned our attention to the tidying up of the car parks. Darren took this project on like a trooper and worked tirelessly to grapple with the weeds which had become embedded. We also renewed the white lining and erected beautiful hanging baskets on the car park lights to brighten it all up for our customers!
The feedback you gave us told us that you wanted to be better informed about what was going on behind the scenes. We reintroduced our team meetings to improve the communication internally, and published our meeting notes on our blog so you were in the loop. Over the last few months, our maintenance team have been focusing on a major dredging project and the office have been focusing on tidying up our CMS data however, team meetings will resume again in January.
New MMS - Harbour Assist
In April, we launched our new Marina Management software - Harbour Assist. As the leading marina management software provider used by the likes of BWML, Castle Marinas, Aquavista marina & Boatfolk marinas, we were excited to introduce a software which would streamline our office operations. The roll out of this software was done in three phases; firstly to tighten up our existing data (you may remember when we stuck printed boat names to windows!), secondly to transpose that data into the software and conduct the data snagging required and the third phase will be to combine our financial software. Phase three will roll out in the new year which may lead to some disruption with invoices and payments whilst we work our way through the teething issues expected. We will be sending further updates about this project from January onwards.
To date, the new MMS has been a great success and has enabled Erin to manage incoming and departing vessels & boat movements. It also enables us to run detailed reports on our customer categories and behaviour which in turn, will help to direct our attention to where the business needs it most.
New CCTV roll out
The old CCTV in place was insufficient in terms of quality and there simply were not enough cameras to cover the furthest extremities of the marina. The renewed CCTV project was worked on with our electricians DPS Technical over several months to establish the correct points, angles and type of cameras for location, and to ensure the electrical infrastructure was prepared for the installation.
The new CCTV bolsters the marinas security facility and is available to marina management 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
New Post Room
Your feedback told us that the post bag which used to sit at the front of reception was not only unsightly, but a GDPR concern for non berth-holders. During the shower refurbishment, we installed a new secure post room which provides a private area for all mail and deliveries, away from customers at reception or bar customers passing through. It's made even more secure thanks to DB's practical joke signage!
Name the pump out boat
Your feedback also told us that you wanted us to run more marina activities & events and be more present on our social media updates. This year we have upped our social media presence on Instagram and Facebook, running several competitions and providing behind the scenes updates.
Whilst our pump out boat was undergoing a fresh makeover, we ran a competition asking you to name our pump out boat. The winner was Jimmy with Ship Happens!
Workboat lifted & repaired
Our pump out boat was looking a tad tired and had needed a refresh for some time.
Thanks to Bluepoint, 'Ship Happens' looks much cleaner, brighter and ready to take on whatever would get thrown at it!
Our old signage was outdates, off brand and unclear. New signage was planned across the entire marina external areas which provided berth holders with updated maps, emergency phone numbers and clear H&S warnings. We hope you like the new signage as much as we do!
The family business extends past the Beards, as brothers Kevin & Phil joined the team in 2021. Sadly Phil had to leave us to return to his contract in Saudi, which was shortly followed by Kevin who left us to spend time with his family. Following their departure, we recruited Darren, Dan's son to come on board! Darren has been a fantastic asset so far and his enthusiasm for even the most mundane jobs keeps us all motivated!
Kevin has since returned to work with us again and there will always be a place for our Phil when he returns home.
Dock Wall Refresh
Once the car park was cleared, Darren focused his efforts on the dock walls which were overflowing with shrubs. Taking care to watch out for wildlife such as nests built into the wall, Darren stripped the walls of the weeds and shrubs where possible whilst preserving the natural habitats of the animals who made home there.
Weather station foyer updated
Within the customer feedback survey, one berth holder had pointed out that our weather station was not on in the foyer as it was a few years prior. We teamed up with DPS technical to create a bespoke weather chart app which is displayed on the screen in the foyer. The screen also shows lock times and is updated monthly.
Coburg lights renewed
Another piece of feedback from the survey sent out was that you felt there was insufficient lighting in the evenings in Coburg yard. Our electricians installed new security lighting which lit up the yard like a film set initially! Thankfully, the lighting was turned down just enough for visibility without causing anyone any headaches.
Following the storm damage to BC, the entire leg was removed and rebuilt along with fingers with new planks, electricity & water supply. New life rings were fitted and wifi boxes reinstalled.
To ensure our blocks are placed correctly and the chains are adequately fitted, we conducted a chain inspection using third party divers.
New Security Gate on Brunswick Many of you highlighted your concerns around security on Brunswick during the feedback survey. It was clear that we needed to find a way to separate access from the "party boats" to the rest of the Brunswick Dock. A new security gate was therefore installed at the bottom of the gangway for berth holder access only.
Electricity price increases announced
From May, we were working with three brokers to establish a fair new price per unit on our electricity which was due to come out of contract on the 1st of October. Unfortunately it was probably the worst time to go to market for electricity as Russias war with Ukraine had caused the market to essentially explode, with one broker calling it apocalyptic". Despite battling for several months, our electricity price per unit was finally locked in at £1.21ppu but for one year only. The government support scheme was only recently announced to be 0.21ppu until April which brings the resale price to £1ppu.
Despite this being incredibly high, we know from industry experts that these prices are sadly set to stay for the foreseeable. Whilst domestic prices are capped, commercial
prices are not and we have been advised to expect to be paying in the region of 0.60ppu once this contract has come to and end.
Celebs on Site!
On a more positive note, we had some exciting times this year with two TV opportunities! We had ITV on Brunswick filming for the new drama 'Nolly' available to stream on ITVX in 2023, and we had Channel 4's 'Celebrity Hunted' too. With the help of our berth holders, we managed to successfully hide 'The Speakmans' away from the hunters until they managed their escape!
Fire safety plan renewed
In light of the recent fires at Torquay Marina, Conwy, Seabrook Harbour & Marine in New Orleans, Queensland, Corfu and most recently another one in Connecticut Marina, we teamed up with Merseyside Search Fire & Rescue to ensure they had up to date plans of both docks, renew and update our fire evacuation plan and conduct fire training for berth holders and staff.
Our map layouts have been updated with the fire safety equipment labels showing you where you can find an extinguisher and a rotary bell as you can see below.
Merseyside Search Fire & Rescue along with the local fire station and Steve Cartwright from Safepoint came to the marina on the 15th of December to conduct a fire safety presentation. Thank you to those that attended that session, we hope you found it useful and informative.
In 2023, MSFR will be conducing a mock fire emergency where they will test out their equipment against both docks of the marina. This exercise will be imperative to ensuring should a fire emergency happen, the fire crews know exactly how much hose is required and where to station their vehicles for best access.
Across Brunswick dock from the lock entrance was head dredged in the main channel and across to HMS Eaglet removing silt down to an around 4 metres. The team have spent almost 200 hours dredging over the last few weeks taking regular dip tests to check the depth along the way.
2023 - Berth Holders Committee Meetings
A number of berth holders have mentioned the idea of a Berth Holders Committee to us, and we are delighted to announce that we are well on the way to this committee being formed. The idea is to collate berth holders feedback and deliver it back to us in a consise and tangiable format with which we can make an action plan from. This is a berth holder initiative and all info will be coming from the committee members directly in 2023. We have agreed a one week turnaround from feedback being delivered to management, to management responding/ forming a action plan.