Marina Design & Construction: Everything You Need to Know

While marinas might not be quite as big as harbors, marina design and construction is no small task. It involves a lot of planning and understanding of several concepts, from basic to complex. 

Proper knowledge of how the infrastructure works and how it is created is even more important if you are a critical stakeholder in the process. Many people often leave this knowledge un-acquired as they’d much rather not weigh themselves down with it. If you’re here right now, the chances are that you’ve chosen to leave that fold/group of individuals, and you’d like to learn more about marina design and construction. 

In that case, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll be telling you everything you need to know about marine design. Consider it a crash course of sorts. Without further ado, let’s get right into it!

What is a Marina?

In the simplest terms possible, a marina is a fancy dock used for sailboats and yachts. It bears a slight similarity to harbors, where large ships can dock to pick up goods and passengers. However, unlike a harbor, a marina isn’t designed for large vessels as it is often much smaller.

What are Marinas Used For, and Where are They Used?

Marinas are essentially built to enable sailboats and yachts to dock. These boats and yachts could perform several different tasks, including:

  • Ferrying passengers from one end of the sea to another.
  • Bringing bits and pieces of goods into a city otherwise surrounded by water.
  • Giving tourists a view of the city’s ocean.

Apart from these, they could also be used as a recreational spot where people could sit and watch boats come and go. This, however, is entirely dependent on whether the marina construction makes room for it or not. 

Who Needs this Service?

The people who are most in need of a marina live in areas surrounded by water. In islands like that, it wouldn’t make sense to board a large ship to get to another side of the town to pick up a few things when a yacht is available. Under such circumstances, a marina is proper. It gives room for smaller, more versatile boats to dock and do their business.

Is There any Time or Location Marina Shouldn’t Be Constructed?

A marina shouldn’t be constructed in a place where accessibility at all tide levels is difficult or impossible.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Marina Construction


While many people have brought the marina concept under much scrutiny over the years, it has many redeeming qualities. We’ve listed some of them below:

  • They provide an excellent spot for boaters to socialize with a sense of togetherness.
  • Marinas are convenient and take away the stress of hooking up your boat to a trailer and taking it wherever you go.
  • A marina slip can offer protection to your boat from the elements. 
  • They provide excellent access to primary resources all humans need. Between trips, you can dock, take a shower, use the internet, get some supplies, etc.


While marinas are largely beneficial, they have one primary drawback:

  • They could be bad for the environment by increasing water toxicity.

This, however, can be managed with specific rules set in place alongside intuitive design decisions.

Marina Design and Construction

How Do You Get Started With These Services?

  • First, you need to do a feasibility study and plan your business. This will help you see if a marina is even feasible in your current location at all.
  • Form a legal entity to ensure that you’re separate from the business itself.
  • Register for taxes and open your business account.
  • Obtain critical federal and state permits. This is particularly important.
  • Get insurance.
  • Define your brand and establish it.

These, of course, primarily cater to the business side of marinas. To begin design and construction, you need to contact a marina design and construction company. The experts there will guide you on the necessary steps.

What Materials Are Needed or Can Be Used?

Marina design materials that can be used are those that are environmentally neutral. You do not want to be the person who contributes to the damage of the earth. The most common materials, however, are steel, fiber-reinforced plastic, and aluminum.

Marina Design Standards

Various standards currently exist for budding marina owners. Among many others, your marina should have the following qualities:

  • Multiple and easily accessible fire extinguishers.
  • Proper illumination and signage to guide marina users. This is especially important where emergency lights and exits are concerned. 
  • Fire alarms and smoke detectors in compliance with NFPA standards.
  • A first aid kit.
  • Multiple facilities for marina users to use, e.g., showers, bathrooms, etc.
  • Minimum of 5 feet in width for floating docks.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Marina?

The cost of a marina varies from state to state, with numbers averaging around $625,000 in places like Upstate New York and $8,000,000 in places like Florida. These numbers aren’t dependent on location alone. Although, location does play an essential role as busier cities require larger marinas to keep up with traffic. This equals more money spent. 

Beyond that, however, the materials also play a critical role. For example, higher quality steel pipes and materials will undoubtedly cost you a lot more than the cheaper counterparts. Building a marina is quite an investment. However, it is sure to pay off if it’s done right.

When soliciting bids to build a marina, you should remember to:

  • Be as specific as you possibly can. This will encourage people to invest in your idea.
  • Get your bidders talking and asking essential questions.
  • Do not simply go for the company that is offering its services at the lowest possible price.

How to Start a Marina Business

Finally, if you’ll be getting started with your marina business, you’ll want to have the following at hand:

  • A business plan
  • A construction and design company to help you build the marina in the first place
  • An accountant to ensure your finances are in order
  • A business bank account
  • Insurance, etc.