The Mumbai Port may soon have a state-of-the-art marina, which will cater to yachts that visit or are based in Mumbai and promote the city as a world-class tourist destination.
This comes in the backdrop of the Mumbai Port Authority (MbPA) floating tenders for the development of a marina at Princess Dock in Mumbai Port.
An area of approximately 9.02 hectares has been allocated for the development of the marina.
According to the bid document, the project estimated to cost about Rs 575.19 crore will be implemented with a public private partnership component on a design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis.
The project shall have a concession period of 45 years including construction period of three years.
Earlier in August 2021, the Port Authority had floated tenders for its proposed marina on the Princess and Victoria docks. However, the plan to develop the marina failed to take off due to lack of bidder forcing the port authority to restructure the project.
The Maharashtra Maritime Board had made attempts to set up a marina at the Gateway of India and one near Radio Club but the project did not take off. CIDCO has also planned a marina in Belapur Navi Mumbai, but the project is yet to take shape.
What Is A Marina?
A marina or dock is where yachts and other small vessels can moor up to get supplies and fuel and for maintenance checks. Unlike a port, which accommodates large passenger and cargo ships, a marina is a small basin. Often, they can be home to several small luxury yachts.
A marina not only provides a secure environment for yachts and boats, but also offers related services like maintenance, spare parts, accessories, housekeeping and fuelling. There are options for recreational facilities and restaurants. Thus, they have the potential to create a large number of direct and indirect employment opportunities.
For a country with a vast coastline of over 7,500 km and a rising tide of millionaires, India hardly has a marina to park its luxury yachts or pleasure boats. The country’s lone operational marina is at Kochi but there has been little movement in this direction up the western coast.
The Kochi International Marina was developed by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation and has started operations in 2010. Further, in February 2023, former Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai announced setting up of a marina at Byndoor in Udupi district.
The Princess Dock at Mazgaon in south Mumbai, where the Mumbai Port is proposing to develop the marina, was built in the eighteenth century during the British rule in India to manage the increase of maritime traffic in Mumbai.
A key reason for setting up a marina in Mumbai is the high number of yachts that visit or are based in the city.
Moreover, the fleet anchors the Gateway of India monument, requiring owners to step on board via a small slipway or, in the case of larger yachts, hire tenders to ferry them around. Having the most number of privately owned leisure boats, it is a ready market for marina.
Due to unavailability of a designated marina in Mumbai, at any given time, around 200 small leisure boats can be seen moored near the Gateway of India.
Considering all these factors, as well as the historical-cultural importance of Mumbai, the project implementing authority has decided to create a marina equipped with all the typical services of the best marinas in the world and open the “city to tourism by sea”.