By David Robinson

With Bermuda being among the possible venues for the next America’s Cup series in 2017, a new marina project has been put forward for the South Basin of the former Royal Navy dockyard.

The plan was initiated by WEDCo, the West End Development Corporation, which has been involved in redeveloping the dockyard since 1982.

WEDCo general manager Andrew Dias told the Bermuda Sun: “The South Basin in the dockyard could be transformed into a state-of-the art marina and boatyard. The move would create jobs as well as make the west end a hub for passing superyachts.”

The project involves an 11-acre development site and would include the building at the eastern end of the basin, which would connect with the arm of the marina. Inside this arm would be the marina berths, a boatyard facility and the headquarters of Bermuda Marine & Ports. The number of marina berths has not yet been finalised.

Dias told the Bermuda Sun: “The vision is to revitalise the maritime industry; it’s part of our culture and heritage. In order to do that we need to attract overseas vessels to get back to the glory days and we need a designated area to do that. So we formed South Basin Development Ltd to create a marine industry area.

“Within this area,” he added, “we will house Marine & Ports, a very large boatyard with the capacity to lift boats of up to 600 tonnes or 76m (250ft). In addition, we are looking to establish a marine training school that would offer career prospects for Bermudians. There is huge scope to get Bermuda a slice of the superyacht market.”

It is thought that around 80% of the world’s superyachts go past Bermuda every two years.

An application for planning permission for the project, including the bridge and approval for the 11.1-acre reclamation, is due to be submitted in September. The new marina is seen as a possible base for America’s Cup yachts if Bermuda wins the race to become the venue for the 2017 series. Once planning permission is gained, the build time would be about 18 months.