Updates on Covid-19

Posted: 13th May 2020

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Boating Bonus | May 13th 2020

To celebrate the easing of lockdown restrictions, and the brilliant news we can now get back on the water, we’re delighted to announce a Back to Boating Bonus for all of our loyal annual freedom berth holders and annual freedom berth dry stack customers.

There is no doubt it’s been a challenging period for us all and as we continue to operate under some government restrictions for the foreseeable future with our services not quite as slick and comprehensive as we might like them to be, we wanted as promised to share with you how much we value your loyalty. In addition to our Boating Bonuswe will across this year be launching a new and exciting range of products. Don’t forget to register to our all new Loyalty Scheme Otium by clicking here.

As mentioned in our communication earlier today we are so proud of our teams, how hard they have worked in difficult circumstances to look after your boats and our marinas. But we do recognise that you have been able to use some of your Freedom Berthing benefits, not because of poor weather but because of Government restrictions in place.

Therefore we are giving you the option to receive 40% cashback of the pro rata value of your your fees for April 2020, or putting 50% of your pro rata April fees on account, which you could use for lifting, storage, fuel or any other MDL Marinas service. You can if you want to donate that money to charity, the choice is yours.

But that’s not all whatever you decide  we are also holding 50% of your pro rata fees for May 2020 against your up-front early settlement renewal price when we ask you to renew for 2020/21. If you would like to renew early and take advantage of this offer now then please let us know separately. 

What do I need to do?

You’ll need to go online and claim your bonus by 31st May 2020. Obviously, terms and conditions apply but in essence, annual freedom berthing customers and annual freedom berthing dry stack customers can receive their April bonus as cash back, or hold it on account, or chose to donate it to either the RNLI or Ocean Youth Trust, South. The Back to Boating May bonus will be automatically applied when making payment for your annual Freedom berthing renewal for 2021/22.

We’re doing this to celebrate being back on the water, and as a little thank you for your patience over the last few months. It’s been tough for everyone involved in the MDL family – our team, our tenants and, of course, our wonderful customers, but hopefully we’re through the worse and ready to enjoy a brilliant summer of social distancing and sailing.

Please go online and choose the way you want to receive your bonus via this link. You must make your choice by 31st May 2020 in order for it to be processed. You can’t claim your bonus after that date.

Update from our MD - UK Boating Returns | May 13th 2020

Return to boating - Your next steps for returning to boating and watersports at MDL.

As promised, we plan to continue to update you all in the changes to Government guidance and restrictions as they unfold. Many of you will be aware of uncertainty as we await specific government guidance on boating or the opening of leisure boating by the harbour and river authorities.  

As a reminder the Government have updated their message from “stay at home” to “stay alert” and you can now visit your boat, following our social distancing rules for maintenance and checks. However, you will all be familiar with the Governments advice;

  • Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home
  • If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • Do not meet others, even friends or family. You can spread the virus even if you don’t have symptoms.

 
These should be observed in all parts of life including boating and visits to the marina.

Like you, we’ve been eagerly following the latest developments in the Government’s rightly cautious approach to easing the lockdown.  While we were delighted to be able to welcome customers back to our marinas for maintenance and security checks on their boats, we were cautious about our customers putting out to sea given the added pressures that could put on emergency services. We continue to await further clarification from harbour and river authorities about their understanding of where boating sits in the bigger picture, thinking about the ‘spirit’ of the guidelines and ‘common sense’.  It’s no secret that people travel a long way to make the most of MDL’s beautiful marinas, so we were also careful to point out that, under the eased regulations, people are still not allowed to stay overnight on their boats.

Now we have further clarification from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Forestry Commission, Environment Agency and Natural England who have said all forms of water sports practiced on open waterways, including sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, rowing, kayaking, surfing, paddle-boarding and the use of privately-owned motorised craft (in line with the guidance issued by the relevant navigation authority) are allowed. We are delighted that recreational boating is now allowed in England.

We understand that you’ll be keen to get out on the water as soon as possible, and we are going to do everything we can to help facilitate that, within the boundaries of keeping our team members, and berth holders, as well protected as possible.

It will take a few weeks for our ‘new normal’ to settle, so please be patient with one another and our teams across the marina on the pontoons and respect any additional requests made by our team members as they develop and adapt social distancing protocols for specific areas. For the time being our teams will be unable to take lines for customers and assist in the normal way, at peak times and particularly this coming weekend the team have been asked to close the marina office doors and to only walk pontoons when social distancing can be maintained. Please keep the marina office phone numbers with you so you can contact us for assistance and to answer questions. 

Please follow the rules; going boating as a sport is a gift and if the authorities believe rules are not being followed or social distancing is not actively maintained we face a further lock down. Please “Stay Alert”.

You’ll want to know what happens next. You can find details of the plans here, but here’s a quick summary.

Boats on berths
If your boat is already on its berth, you are welcome to come and go from the marina as you please, making sure that you adhere to all the social distancing guidance in place. As mentioned above, you will not be able to stay on your boat. You are respectfully asked to move freely through the marina from your vehicle to your boat and away from the marina to enjoy your sport as quickly as possible. Please do not linger and be aware of the government’s rules about groups of people and being with people not in your household. Your travel to the boat is for exercise and sport it is not for hospitality and leisure.

Boats in boatyards
We will do our best to return boats to the water as soon as we can. We will contact owners who have a boat out of the water and design a launch plan around their needs. Please wait for your marina office to contact you about your yard’s launch plan as they’ll be juggling where each boat is, the team members phased return, the refresher training of that team to keep your boat services safe and as professional as possible and other customers.

Because of the logistical jigsaw, we are not going to accept priority bookings, so please do not ask.

If you require a lift out, you may book one in advance with your marina office – we anticipate starting lift outs from 1st June. You may see lift outs happening at your yard; these are for our business tenants and part of their commercial operations and not for leisure customers.

Can I attend my boat launch?
For the next four weeks we ask you not to attend the launching of your boat. This is so our team can operate freely around the boat yard while maintaining social distancing and operating inside of their risk assessment. Once your boat has been launched and the team have returned to the boat yard you may collect it. Remember no food and beverage is open on site, the marina offices are closed, facilities only offer toilets so there is nowhere for you to go. Please do not arrive expecting to attend your launch the team will be unable to fulfil your request.

Boats on dry stacks
We absolutely want you to be able to get out on the water when you want to go, but you’ll understand that we’re going to be very busy and we need to maintain social distancing between you, other customers and our team. For the next 8 weeks (or until we communicate differently)  please book your launch slot at least 24 hours in advance. We know that this is a big change, but we’re sure you’ll be patient as we settle into the ‘new normal’ and find ways to reduce the booking in advance time. Your boat will be launched and made ready for you to collect, when you return it to the berth we will pick it up after you have gone and possibly the next day.  Please also carefully follow all instructions given by our team members to make sure there is no pontoon crowding and / or rafting. For commercial customers please contact the marina manager directly.

Boats in marina locks
Our marina teams at Hythe and Chatham will be running queues to access the locks, given that it is not possible to social distance in a packed lock. The queuing systems may include staggering boats in the lock to maintain distance, and not including smaller boats (like RIBS) in between bigger boats. The marina teams will assess the boats waiting and will endeavour to put the best queue system in place for the challenge they’re presented with. You are asked to please be patient, contacting our teams to express your concerns will hold up operations, please work with them, respect them and remember, there are still significant restrictions in place across the country, we expect to refine operations as government guidance changes.  

Fuel services
For the next 4 weeks marine fuel will be offered on a limited and pre booked basis only. The reason for this is we are expecting peak demand and must maintain adherence with Government guidance. Booking slots will be 30 mins apart and you are asked not to arrive before or after your allotted time, the team will not be able to collect lines from you or have more than one boat on the fuel berth at any one time. We will unfortunately not be able to service everyone, please do not book fuel if you don’t need it at this time. Fuel at some marinas will be available during the week when demand will be much reduced so please consider carefully your boating needs.  You can book fuel by calling your marina on the main line or emailing 

Berth holder new season packs
As mentioned in my previous communications your new season packs are ready for you to collect. Please be aware that we will not be issuing new season packs at the weekend, only during week days so please consider when best to visit. In addition if you would like your pack or new access cards to be sent to you in the post please email your marina who will be happy to help. Remember there are no marina access codes in operation it is card access only.

As with all of the measures above, we’re asking our customers to be patient, and to respect all social distancing guidance and the ways in which our marina teams respond to the individual challenges each marina presents. As you know, we couldn’t be prouder of our marina teams who have been looking after our marina network. Our teams have, in some cases, been treated inappropriately by some customers in recent weeks. We respectfully ask for your patience, understanding and above all adherence to the rules to avoid a further lock down. Please show them your support as we adjust to our ‘new normal’.

General Update | May 12th 2020

Your next steps for returning to boating and watersports at MDL.

As promised we plan to continue to update you all in the changes to Government guidance and restrictions as they unfold from various authorities, British Marine and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

As much as we want to get back out onto the water, we want to make sure we are getting it right so that we can make your phased return to boating the best it can be.

When we have further clarification (at some point tomorrow) Michael Glanville our Managing Director will update all our customers and tenants to let you know if you can get out on the water and what to expect at your marina. We are aware that a handful of harbour authorities have approved some leisure boating this evening while others have not yet. We hope to clarify either way as early as possible. If you have a direct question please contact Tim Mayer, our Sales & Marketing Director, here and in the meantime we look forward to seeing you for maintenance and boat checks. 

We understand that you’ll be keen to get out on the water as soon as possible, and we are doing everything we can to help facilitate that, within the boundaries of keeping our team members, berth holders, and tenants as well protected as possible. Please wait for clarification before you take your boat out.

General Update from our MD | May 10th 2020

Under guidance, the Government has announced easing some of its lockdown regulations. This now means:

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Work from home if you can
  • Limit contact with other people
  • Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

We have social distancing measures in place and look forward to welcoming people coming to perform maintenance and security checks on their boats. And while we understand the reasoning behind the government's decision to ease lock down rules, in the way it has, we share your frustration about not being able to get out onto the water just yet. We are waiting for any leisure boating changes from the port authorities and will keep you updated.
 
We're so proud of our marina staff who have been taking care of the site, our buildings, our customers' boats, and keeping an eye on our tenants' premises. They’ve been making sure that everything is as it should be for your arrival, including appropriate social distancing signage and safe systems of work. We’re doing everything we can to keep both staff and customers safe, and to make our customers experience the best it can be for the months to come as we all adjust to our ‘new normal’
 
During lockdown the teams have been busy with a limited amount of commercial lifting and have ensured contractors have been onto our sites for essential maintenance. Under the new guidelines, more of our tenant businesses will be back in their offices with staff working on site. So when you visit, please make sure you adhere to the guidelines above. If you need to make a booking or have any specific questions or want to discuss a boat movement please contact your marina. We ask that you please give us as much notice as you can and we'll try our absolute best to fulfil your request. 

Your season pack is now ready to collect from your marina office. In there you will find 2 access cards, tide tables and information about OTIUM (an exciting new rewards package), plus partner offers like discounts on valets, and maintenance. In the meantime you can check out the offers on our website.

It’s been a challenging few months for everyone; thank you for all your patience and understanding.
 
As we keenly follow the results of the restrictions lifting, and ease our way out of lockdown we’ll be making an exciting announcement that underpins all of the reasons for continuing to berth with MDL.

General Update from our MD | April 17th 2020

Our Managing Director has written a letter to all berth holders, click here to read the full piece.

General Update from our MD | April 7th 2020

The past few weeks have been tough for everyone. This is the first time in our 46 years that we’ve not seen a hive of activity around our marinas at the start of the boating season; thank you for following Government guidance and making our core team's job safer. We understand how frustrating it is to put taking time out on the water on hold.

The marina team on the ground has been doing a fantastic job looking after your boat while you can’t be there, checking lines and adjusting fenders. Don’t forget, if you’re got any concerns or you need anything checked, please contact your marina by phone or email. You can find contact details on our website.

The harbour authorities have also been very clear; Leisure facilities within harbours are now closed to the public. We fully support the guidance from the RYA regarding recreational boating in the UK during these restrictions and they strongly urge recreational boaters to respect the Government rules so that those who may become ill do not increase the pressure on local services and facilities.

While we appreciate you’re unable to enjoy all of your berth holder benefits just seven days in to the new berthing season, not because of snow or gales and the other things that sometimes hamper our boating, but because we’re all playing our part to protect each other, the NHS and to save lives by following Government guidance. As you know, we continue to look after your boat, maintaining the marina, supporting our tenants so that, long term, we can still offer you the same unrivalled value and high standard of service you have come to expect.

If your boat is stored ashore on our annual Freedom Berthing package, please don’t worry about incurring additional storage fees, as in most locations you can either stay ashore free of charge or use your winter entitlement now. And when it’s time to launch your boat, we’ll work extra hours and at weekends to ensure you can get back to boating as quickly as possible. 

To help answer any general questions you may have, we’ve put together some FAQs which you can view here. If you have any other questions that are not covered, please don’t hesitate to contact your home marina. 

We also wanted to let you know about some of our fantastic tenants who are finding innovative ways to move their businesses online to continue to provide a service while we’re all stuck indoors. We've compiled a list on our website, which you can view here.

We are well aware of the pressures some berth holders and tenant businesses are having at this difficult time, please do keep in touch with our dedicated marina managers who are on hand to answer any questions or concerns you may have.  

Hopefully it won’t be too long until we can all get back out on the water and enjoy good times again. In the meantime, please stay at home and please stay safe.

Notice to Mariners from ABP Southampton | April 3rd 2020

Please see the Notice to Mariners from ABP Southampton regarding COVID-19 and Recreational Boating here.

General Update from our MD | March 27th 2020

As news reaches us of China finally seeing a drop-off in the number of cases of Covid-19, and the potential lifting of some restrictions, we very much hope that by the summer of 2020 we will be able to get out on the water once more.

However, as we are all aware, for the safety of all our staff and customers we have to strictly adhere to Government guidance for the next few weeks. We know how hard it has been, and that it's going to get harder the longer (and stronger) the sun shines, so thank you so much for your continued support as we all adapt to changing rules.

Here's a quick update on where we are now.

In line with the Government's four key rules of leaving home, these are the only permittable reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible.
  • One form of exercise a day – for example, a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of your immediate household.
  • Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

All of our leisure services such as fuel berths and visitor berthing launches closed earlier this week and the majority of our commercial tenants have now temporarily shut. As you know we were keeping access to the marinas open for them and a core minimum staff who will be there to keep your boats safe and secure.

As a reminder our teams are also following the rules, only travelling to work if they cannot work from home and if absolutely necessary and at all times observing social distancing rules and other precautions to help stop spread of the virus.  There will be members of marina teams on each site all day, every day.

You already know how well we look after your property, and rest assured, that's not going to change. On a daily basis your marina team will: visually check each pontoon, manually check each line and also respond to any specific requests you may have where possible.

As ever, if you need to get in contact with one of your marina team over the next couple of weeks, you can email or telephone. Our marina receptions will remain locked until the Government rules change, but one of our team will answer your enquiry as soon as they can even if it’s while working at home.

In the meantime, we'll continue to keep you updated with any news via social media and look forward to connecting with you there. We'll be sharing details of relevant delivery services, competitions and sailing skills that you can work on at home to help keep you entertained until we can all get back on the water safely. Don’t forget if you would like us to bring your boat to you by sending a video or photo taken by one of our team then please let us know.

General Update from our MD | March 25th 2020

We wanted to remind all our customers of the latest Government rules regarding ‘staying at home’ and only travelling when ‘absolutely essential’. As such, for the benefit and protection of our own teams, we are taking measures to ensure MDL sites can be accessed by the following people only:

  • Our core staff who are making sure your boat is safe and secure.
  • A very limited number of commercial tenant businesses where the staff cannot work at home. These businesses are not open to the general public.


As you may already be aware our facility blocks and marina offices are now closed.

However working in line with the Government's working guidance our team are maintaining the safety and security of your boat observing social distancing rules and keeping themselves safe.

Our telephones, social media channels and emails are all still on serviced by a dedicated team of staff in the majority working from home. If you have to leave a message we will get back to you and I thank you in advance for your support and patience.  Please do not visit a marina site unless you belong in the two categories outlined above.

We know that all our berth holders and tenants will continue to act responsibly to help stop the spread of the pandemic by not visiting the marina sites under any circumstances for the time being.

In the meantime, we’ve had some great questions from our customers and thought the list of Q&A's below might assist many in the coming weeks. So here’re some details you might need to know.

Perishable goods
A few of you have contacted us to say you’re worried about perishable goods left on your boat. Our marina teams are happy to remove items from your boat and dispose of them safely. Please email your marina office if you have similar concerns. You can find contact details on our website. 

Self-isolation
People shouldn’t self-isolate on their boats. This will put our staff and tenants at unnecessary high risk.  Self-isolators will be much more comfortable at their primary address. Plus, coming to the marina – unless you belong in the two categories above – means you will be breaking Government guidelines.

Security of boat
The Government has told us all that we must stay at home and work from home where possible. The critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households. That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for very limited purposes. We have core marina teams who, taking all necessary precautions, continue to look after your boat on your behalf. We are setting our teams up to be able to do personal video and photos of your boat please contact your marina office to arrange. If you have a particular concern about your boat – like an electrical appliance being switched on – please email your marina office and they will check it for you.

Booked services
If you have booked a lift to undertake maintenance on your boat or similar and have not heard from a member of our team, please email your marina office for an update.

Second residences
The Government has made it very clear that travel to second residences, like caravans or holiday cottages, is not permissible. Unless you belong in the two categories outlined above (MDL staff or commercial tenant businesses), please do not visit the marina sites.

Taking exercise
While we are all currently allowed to take exercise each day, and while we know our marinas are beautiful destinations, please do not access the site unless you belong in the two categories outlined above.

Until we can all get back on the water – which we hope will be just in time for a glorious summer season – rest assured that we’ll be taking really good care of your boat, while you take really good care of yourself.

 

General Update from our MD | March 24th 2020

This morning I wanted to update you on the latest changes at MDL Marinas following the Prime Minister’s announcement. Like all businesses, MDL is committed to protecting its staff, tenants and berth holders during the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, in line with the UK Government restrictions:

You must stay at home, only leaving for the following very limited purposes:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible.
  • One form of exercise a day for example, a run, walk or cycle alone or with members of your immediate household.
  • Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home


Please rest assured that my team are looking after the safety and security of your boat while you are at home and we will be using our digital assets over the next few weeks to bring your boat to you, helping you to view it and the marina from the comfort of your home. Don’t forget to connect to your marina’s Facebook pages to stay updated.

We will continue to monitor the Government guidance closely converting the guidelines into practical advice for those who have to work on MDL sites. This is changing day by day.

We’re also talking to our network of marinas across Europe to understand how they’ve been impacted and to learn from their best practice. We’re balancing keeping people healthy, keeping people working and always keeping people’s boats safe.

For now, if you have  booked a lift out or back in to the water we will be contacting you directly to make arrangements personally for you and your boat,  Please note whilst many of our office staff are working from home as they have been for the last week our phones, email and social media are on ready for you to talk to us. Our teams are on hand to assist with your questions. You can also use our centrally managed email address; enquiries@mdlmarinas.co.uk.

Thank you for your ongoing support by following the Government's guidance.

Best wishes and most importantly, please stay safe.

 

General Update from our MD | March 21st 2020

As you know, at MDL Marinas our primary focus is looking after our colleagues, customers and our tenants. It’s a challenging time for all of us, but we’re doing everything we can to be there for you in these unprecedented times. We’d like to take the opportunity to thank our teams in the marinas and working behind the scene for their dedication. For their protection and others, please maintain at least 2 metre social distance and keep office visits to a minimum. 

At the moment your marina team is implementing extra daily cleaning protocols which include disinfecting door handles, gate keypads, reception areas and, of course, washroom facilities. They're maintaining the recommended distance from one another, using hand sanitiser and following the latest UK Government guidelines to help keep you and our marina teams safe and secure. 

Rest assured that we’re working hard to ensure we are looking after your property. We know how much you want to check your boat, but please don't visit the marina if you're feeling unwell. If you’re on site and feel unwell, please get home as soon as possible and stay safe. As we all are, it’s important to follow the latest Government guidelines as appropriate. 

As always our experienced teams will be making their regular checks. If you have a specific concern, perhaps you think you might have left an electrical appliance switched on, or you just want to see a video or photo of your boat in the sunshine, please email or call your marina team and they will gladly help. Remember, you don’t need to visit the marina to have a service completed on your boat, just contact your marina team.  

This is a fast moving situation, and we will continue to monitor the latest UK Government advice.

 

General Update from our MD | March 17th 2020

As you're aware the Government's response to Covid-19 is changing on a day to day basis, but at the moment we're glad to report that all our UK marinas remain open. 

As well as keeping the marina offices and facilities even cleaner than usual, our friendly teams continue to look after your boat for you, hold your keys if applicable, and maintain tight security across the estate. Obviously we're being careful to adhere to Government advice, but we're also committed to making sure you get the prompt, efficient services you need. If your boat needs work we're more than happy to facilitate that as boat lifting will still take place for valets, anode changing, or simply storage. Give us a ring to discuss your options.

That said, with the need for some households to self-isolate for 14 days, there may be occasions when we are unable to provide all that we typically offer. Please check your marina's Facebook page, our website, or telephone the marina office in advance if you require specific services like boat lifting and fuel.

We're busy planning new dates for any events which may be postponed and look forward to welcoming you to them, whenever they end up taking place.

We’re keeping a close eye on how things are progressing, paying particular attention to the advice given by the Government, but currently we’re still here to help.

 

Status Update from our MD | March 13th 2020

We know you’re getting bombarded with lots of news about coronavirus at the moment, but we wanted to let you know it’s business as usual at MDL.

As the health and well-being of our berth holders, tenants and staff is our highest priority, we have arranged for additional cleaning across all sites, with particular attention on multi-use items such as door handles and keypads as a preventative measure. Additional stocks of hand sanitiser have also been ordered and will be available in the marina facilities and offices.

We’re monitoring advice given by the Government. Should the situation change, we have plans in place and will keep you informed via email and social media.