A Warm Welcome

Blue Haven Marina attracts the international yachting crowd.

By Kathy Borsuk ~ Photos Courtesy Blue Haven Marina

The scene is quite like a James Bond movie—sleek, luxurious, behemoth vessels moored to massive floating docks. One mega-yacht sports a helicopter pad and car; another an on-deck pool and submarine. Crew attend to the boats with the care given to a queen. Yet rather than a stark cityscape, these pampered leviathans bob in a backdrop of sky-blue, verdant green and a sparkling turquoise blue sea. Their current home is Blue Haven Marina, the Turks & Caicos Islands’ premier international yachting anchorage.

Blue Haven Marina is a hub of activity for boats large and small. Located on Providenciales’ northeastern edge at the Leeward-Going-Through passage, the marina currently includes 100 slips (both side and stern-to) with the capacity to berth yachts up to 220 feet in length and a draft of 9 feet.

Blue Haven Marina is a Five Gold Anchor status marina and has been awarded the Clean Marina Award.

I visited the marina in mid-January, a busy time for General Manager Adam Foster. The facility was close to 100% occupancy, which is the case for much of the year from November through May. Although it was clear that Adam and Operations Manager Portia Mogal had a lot of other things to attend to, they graciously took the time to answer this landlubber’s many questions.

Opened on April 2, 2013, Blue Haven Marina has been attracting the international yachting crowd from inception. This includes boats such as a 377′ superyacht carrying 50 crew, 18 guests and its own gym, spa and pool! Besides offering a private entrance and excellent security (important to boats valued as much as $80 million and often owned by celebrities), Blue Haven Marina staff has the “right stuff” to cater to an upscale clientele.

According to Adam, a primary attraction is the same thing that land-based tourists love:  the TCI’s unmatched combination of clean, clear waters, a pristine reef system, superb scuba diving and snorkeling, and private ivory sand beaches. As well, he adds, “The boaters love to explore the outer islands and cays, and we provide a variety of itineraries to use as a guide. Our location is ideal for adventure, while having amenities and services close-by.”

Arriving at this official port-of-entry is made easy by TCI Customs and Immigrations officers based at Blue Haven Marina, who work hard to make visitors feel welcome while facilitating the country’s laws and regulations. For boats that are too big to enter the channel, Blue Haven provides a yacht concierge service to help them clear customs, re-provision and access any needs these vessel require.

Marina facilities include a state-of-the-art, high-speed fuel system, water, power up to 480v, black and grey water pump-out, cable TV, free WiFi, security, laundry services, provisioning services, showers and toilets, Salt Bar and Grill with sports screen, a business center, and outdoor activities including beach volleyball, a horseshoe pit and more.

All of the amenities of the Blue Haven Resort are available for boat owners, guests and crew. (See page 58/59.) This includes a 51 room resort, 24-hour gym, private beach complete with hammocks swaying among palm trees and a fun water trampoline, infinity edge pool, Elevate Day Spa, Sandpiper Kid’s Club, meeting space, and Market, a grocery store and café. There are also two restaurants on-site, with a complimentary shuttle that allows boaters to dine at sister properties, Alexandra Resort and Beach House.

Once boats are anchored, owners and crew are basically “on vacation,” with the time and desire to enjoy watersports, fishing, golf, touring, restaurants, nightlife and attractions—there is definitely an impact on the local economy. Blue Haven Resort works directly with supermarkets to source and supply yacht provisions and the needs of their chefs, with $30,000 grocery bills not uncommon. They also work with the best of local businesses, including taxi drivers, car rental companies, tour operators and the like to encourage exploration beyond the dock. Portia adds, “We constantly monitor our service providers to ensure they maintain high standards.” All visitors receive an arrival and information guide that lists the best the country has to offer.

In the case where boat repairs are necessary, the marina is proud to refer them to Caribbean Marine & Diesel, a local service they say is “world class.”

When the mega-yachts leave in late spring, they are replaced by fishing vessels on the hunt for billfish and other game fish from May to August. The slower months of September and October gives marina staff time to repair, replace, renovate and repaint. There is also a smaller docking area behind the resort which is fully utilized by smaller local charter and pleasure boats.

Blue Haven Marina is a member of Island Global Yachting (IGY), the world’s leading luxury marina and yachting lifestyle development and operations company, with a network encompassing fifteen prime destinations in seven countries. Blue Haven Marina has also been awarded the Five Gold Anchor Status (the highest rating) by the Yacht Harbour Association (TYHA), along with the Clean Marina Award. Portia is especially proud of this accolade, “We are very strict about how boaters treat our pristine waters. For instance, all fuel and oil must be stored in the boats to avoid spills, all used oil must be taken away, not disposed of in TCI, we offer in-slip sewage pump-out to minimize spillage and vessels must be cleaned with environmentally sound products.”

This is especially important because Blue Haven Marina backs up against the Princess Alexandra Nature Reserve. This 450 acre protected land area encompasses nearby Little Water Cay (a.k.a. “Iguana Island”), Mangrove Cay, and Donna Cay. Much of the northern shore of Providenciales is part of the Princess Alexandra Land and Sea National Park. Included in this protected area is Grace Bay Beach, The Bight Beach, The Bight Reef, Leeward Beach, Smith’s Reef, and a large portion of the northern barrier reef of Providenciales.

In an effort to get people off the boats and into the community, IGY Marinas launched the “Inspire Giving through You” project in 2016. In late February 2017, Blue Haven Marina will be teaming up with the “Extraordinary Minds Ashley’s Learning Center,” a school that caters to children with learning disabilities and who cannot attend TCI’s primary schools. Volunteers will construct an outdoor play area for the children, along with a surrounding fence to ensure their safety. The February 2016 community outreach project assisted the Provo Children’s Home with basic upgrades of the facility, cleaning of interior and exterior areas, and donations of much-needed supplies. Both events were well-attended and the children’s home continues to reap donations from marina visitors. As well, the marina regularly invites children to visit the property and offers summer jobs. Blue Haven also sponsors three boats and six children’s fees to participate in the beloved Provo Sailing Club.

Some of the visiting yachts also use the Blue Haven Resort facilities to host wedding or birthday parties, often utilizing local caterers, florists, DJs and party planners. The marina sponsors two major fishing tournaments in the TCI: The Wine Cellar Golf & Fishing Tournament held every March and the Caicos Classic IGFA Billfish Release Tournament in July.

Adam and Portia have been working around the globe among the small, close-knit world of luxury yachters for a combined total of nearly 30 years. They have built close relationships with many international boat management companies, people responsible for planning, provisioning, running and maintaining the mega-boats for their owners. Through the pair’s contacts and presence at major boat shows and conferences in the US and Caribbean, they are well positioned to encourage trips to the Turks & Caicos Islands.

In fact, Blue Haven Marina was the only TCI group to participate in the prestigious Monaco Boat Show in September 2016. Adam and Portia were very successful in attracting large vessels to visit the marina and putting TCI on the world map as a destination for the yachting industry. Besides being invited to an agency briefing with 20 influential boat captains, while in Europe Adam and Portia visited marinas in France and Italy to raise awareness about TCI for vessels making the annual pilgrimage across the Atlantic and through the Caribbean.

The TCI, they say, is an easy sell. “Geographically it’s perfectly positioned as a main hub between Ft. Lauderdale and the Virgin Islands.” And with Blue Haven Marina’s motto of “aiming to go above and beyond expectations,” it seems that yachters have good reason to add the destination to their cruising itinerary.

For more information, visit www.bluehaventci.com or contact Adam Foster at afoster@bluehaventci.com or call 649 946 9910.

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