Port Denarau Marina in Fiji is planning to significantly increase its number of superyacht berths by the end of this year. Nine new berths will be added to Jetty C. By David Robinson.

Nigel Skeggs Peter Busfield

L-R: Nigel Skeggs, Peter Busfield and NZ High Commissioner Mark Ramsden

Fiji’s leading superyacht berthing facility, Port Denarau Marina, is planning to significantly increase its number of berths by the end of this year.

Already this year, two 75m (246.25ft) berths have been completed and there are plans for nine more. The new ones will comprise four of 85m (279ft), two of 65m (213ft) and three of 35m (115ft). The berths will be added to the existing Jetty C because there is no space for a new jetty.

“The investment in the new berths is around FJ$700,000 (US$340,000),” says Nigel Skeggs, managing director of Port Denarau Marina. “But to utilise them all we need to dredge, which we are hoping to do this year at a cost of FJ$950,000 (US$465,000).”

Total Marine from New Zealand supplied the new berth pontoons.

Skeggs adds: “With the extension without dredging we have added an additional two 75m berths for this season. Once dredging is complete we will increase our capacity further with an additional 3 x 30m, 3 x 85m and 2 x 65m berths. This will not add to the marina staff, but will make a huge difference to the economy. Our average spend per superyacht is a little over FJ$300,000, meaning the economic benefits are exponential.”

In addition to the increase in superyacht berths, Skeggs told IBI that a major expansion of the marina announced several months ago is still planned. This will include a new 200-berth marina, a new shipyard and many other facilities.

As to superyacht visits, Skeggs reports: “In 2015 we had 54 superyachts visit Fiji. This year started a little slow but we are looking at an extended season with pre-bookings through to the end of November, which is encouraging. So far we have had 23 superyachts visit and we expect to have around 55 this year.

Recently Port Denarau Marina and the Port Denarau Yacht Club was the location for a joint Fiji-NZ ‘Open Day’ and New Zealand day promotion of superyachting in the South Pacific. Held under the banner of South Pacific Superyachting, 26 New Zealand companies met with Fijian industry representatives plus superyacht captains and owners of international cruising yachts.

Presentations highlighted the diverse range of refit services and maintenance capability in New Zealand, together with destinations and marinas. Vessel owners and local marine representatives engaged one-on-one, discussing options and facilities including marine products, support equipment and vessel agency services. In conjunction with the Island Cruising Association, there was also a range of seminars covering passage planning between Fiji and New Zealand, destinations in New Zealand, weather patterns, Customs clearance and Biosecurity requirements.

Peter Busfield, executive director of NZ Marine, says: “It was a successful event and a pleasure for our companies to work with the Fijian marine industry, plus assisting owners with the information they need to maximise their experience in the South Pacific region.”

Skeggs adds: “Working as a cohesive unit to move yachts through the South Pacific is a step that will produce real benefit for superyacht marine and tourism industries within the region. And that means tangible benefit for the regions’ economies and a rapidly developing, adventurous new cruising ground for the global fleet to discover.”