2023 MARINA DAYS EVENTS & IDEAS
Changing up Marina Day to Marina Days (any day between Memorial Day, May 29th, and Labor Day, September 4th) has given marina owners and operators more flexibility in scheduling their summer-time events. If you already have events planned for your Marina Day, that’s great news! You’re ahead of the curve. If you’re reading this article because you want to add to your event and are looking for additional ideas, or even if you’re thinking about hosting your very first Marina Days Event, then you’ve found the perfect resource. Having been a part of the planning and execution of a Marina Days Event, I’ve been able to navigate some of the issues that are specific to marinas that many other venues offering outdoor activities may not be subject to. (See What I Learned Hosting Marina Days)
We’ll start with some of the basics that most everyone will look forward to.
- Drinks & Beverages
- Boat Rides
- Kid Friendly Activities
- Face Painting
- Cardboard Boat Racing
- Contests (Eating, Cooking, Fishing, etc)
- Presentations & Demos
Even if you have the ability to make food onsite, a little creative planning can make your Marina Days more fun. Think about eating contests, like hot dogs or watermelon. Barbecue is always a summer favorite. Sponsor a competition among your slip holders to create BBQ teams and have the public judge the winner (make sure this is a shorebound event!)
Don’t forget your due diligence – make sure you coordinate with your local health department, so all codes are met, and all permitting is order. In my experience, they will help you any way they can – they want your event to be successful too, and food poisoning will definitely ruin the event.
DRINKS & BEVERAGES:
No summertime event can be considered without at least some kind of drink or beverage – even if food isn’t being served, you’ll want to address this.
Because Marina Days is during the warmest part of the year, you’ll want to take steps to ensure your visitors have ample opportunity to drink fluids. The possibility of heat stroke and heat exhaustion can easily hurt your turn-out. At the very least, make arrangements to have cold water available if you don’t already.
Other great drinks include iced tea and lemonade, both of which are usually inexpensive when made in bulk. If you don’t have a central location for dispensing food, you may want to consider having several locations to offer drinks. This all depends on the logistics of your marina, available labor and your anticipated turn-out. Making beverages from powdered packets or bags gives you the added advantage of being able to store unused quantities for other events.
A big favorite is the “Beer Garden.” Depending on the services and products you offer, you may already have a liquor license. If you don’t have a liquor license and anticipate serving beer or other alcoholic beverages, do your research early – in some venues, liquor licenses have a long lead time or are constrained in availability. One solution is to have a local service organization, like the Shriner’s Club or Eagles, sponsor the beer garden.
What better way to promote your marina then to offer free boat rides. For many marina owners this goes the core of their business. Marinas wouldn’t exist but for the boats! If you have a boat dealership on premise, this can turn out to be a win-win situation. Promoting boating can only help your business in the long run, growing your customer base.
Nothing is as exciting to a new would-be boater than to go on a boat. You have a captivated audience who has already shown interest in boating. During the ride is an excellent time to profess the benefits and fun of recreational boating and fishing, and why your marina is the best to offer slip services and other amenities.