With good international air links, fantastic cruising grounds and good availability of facilities and services, locations such as St Maarten, St Barth and Antigua have traditionally been some of the most popular superyacht cruising destinations in the Caribbean. However, in recent years, new destinations have begun to emerge as regional rivals. Port Louis Marina on Grenada, for example, provides a fully serviced superyacht marina which is an ideal gateway to the unspoilt islands, reefs and cays of the Grenadines. On St Lucia, the fully serviced Rodney Bay Marina recently completed the installation of approximately 30 superyacht berths for vessels up to 80 metres. However, these locations still have some catching up to do in terms of attracting superyachts from their more established competitors in the north.
Traditionally popular destinations in the northern Caribbean have certainly not been standing still either. For example, the opening of Yacht Club Costa Smeralda Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands (a new, modest yet state-of-the-art marina with 38 slips for vessels up to 88 metres) has enhanced the existing reputation of the archipelago to superyachts as a proven and developed marine leisure market.
Given the steady increase in the number of yachts being built, it is safe to predict that the superyacht fleet will continue to grow for years to come. The demand for berths and support services will also continue to rise. It is important for marina owners and operators to provide for the increasing demand in 30-metre plus space and to understand the requirements of yacht owners and crews who are not just looking for a location to berth but buying into the lifestyle and experience a destination marina can offer.
It is anticipated that there could be as many as 3,000 new yachts over 30 metres by 2030.Although the Caribbean is a vibrant superyacht hub, average berth prices remain below Mediterranean levels. The pressure in popular areas is likely to drive the development of new facilities. The Caribbean currently offers around 70 marinas with superyacht facilities (compared to 200 in the Mediterranean). In popular cruising areas, the demand for berthing larger vessels significantly outweighs supply, with nearly 50% more boats than berths in the 100 – 150m bracket, so there is still great development potential, particularly for marinas catering to this market.