Last year we announced an exciting collaboration with the Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE), Land Rover BAR and the University of Portsmouth to restore native oysters to local waters. Our aim was to introduce one million oysters by the end of 2017 to help clear up the Solent.
Following a successful trial at the Land Rover BAR pontoon, plans were made to continue towards the one million oyster target by the end of this year. To launch the project’s roll-out across our solent marinas, we welcomed broadcaster, traveller and adventurer, Ben Fogle to our Port Hamble Marina to launch the project.
As someone who spends a lot of his time immersed in nature, protecting the environment is very important to Ben: “My experiences traversing the world’s oceans have opened my eyes to the scale of marine destruction. The humble oyster is an incredibly powerful ecosystem engineer, capable of filtering 200 litres of water a day and supporting marine life. Restoring the native oyster to the Solent would be another step closer to turning the tide against the large-scale degradation of our oceans, and giving something back to the UK’s inshore waters which provide us with so many benefits.”
The native oyster population in the UK has halved over the last 25 years. The restoration of the native oyster will provide ecological and social benefits for the region by helping to improve water quality, foster valuable habitats which are otherwise being lost to future generations and re-establish an important strand of the economy on the south coast.
The oysters are housed in unique cage-like structures, designed and built by MDL Marinas, which are suspended off pontoons in Hamble Point, Port Hamble, Sparkes and Saxon Wharf, as well as pontoons at the University of Portsmouth and the pontoon installed by MDL Marinas at Land Rover BAR HQ.
BLUE is leading a coalition of fishermen, marine and local authorities, scientists and conservationists to significantly increase the population of native oysters by 2020, with the long-term aim of achieving sustainable stocks, improving the quality of water in the Solent, as well as benefiting the ecosystem and inshore fisheries.
MDL is proud to be involved in this innovative CSR initiative and we are looking at rolling this scheme out around the MDL Marinas network. Dean Smith, Commercial Director of MDL Marinas, said: “Helping to restore the native oyster population, an important part of the local ecosystem which removes pollutants and provides habitats, is one of the many ways that the boating community can give back to the ocean and improve the local waters around us for our future enjoyment.”
The cages are marked out along the pontoons with plaques, next time your down at one of our marinas, be sure to keep an eye out!
This year has been another fantastic year for MDL Marinas and its Freedom Berthing members, with our network expanding to 124 marinas across Europe with Passeport Escales, perfect for weekend breaks or longer adventures.
In addition to the UK and Italy, Passeport Escales allows MDL members to explore a stunning array of destinations across France, Spain and now Belgium too, all from the comfort of your own boat. With the addition of Ostend in Belgium, sailors can enjoy the varied landscapes of Europe’s Atlantic coasts, to Porto Deportivo Cangas in Spain, before heading around to our very own Sant Carles Marina on the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.
Over the last year alone our members have benefited from over 15,000 visitor nights across our European network, saving on visitor fees whilst experiencing the joys of sailing further afield. Popular destinations include Cherbourg and Jersey in the Channel and Roscoff in Brittany
From the wild, rugged coasts of the Belle-Île in Brittany, to the cultural hub of Bilbao with its impressive Guggenheim museum, Passeport Escales provides a gateway into Europe that all MDL members can enjoy.
With Freedom Berthing, our members also benefit from fuel at cost, free wifi, discounted boatyard services, great socials and the option to explore the UK’s coastline and waterways in any MDL Marina at no extra cost.
At this year’s Southampton Boat Show, MDL revealed its new Platinum membership package for the magnificently transformed Ocean Village Marina.
The marina has been undergoing an extensive redesign and refurbishment since 2015, as part of a five-year investment strategy set to be complete in 2020. The latest chapter in its £3.5 million transformation was the opening of the five-star, luxury Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa.
The 85-bedroom hotel has been designed to emulate a super yacht and is ideally positioned on the edge of the promontory projecting into the marina. It boasts a spectacular rooftop destination bar, as well as the award-winning Jetty restaurant, which offers panoramic views across the Solent.
The MDL Platinum package marries together our unrivalled Freedom Berthing package – which includes complimentary stays at over 100 marina destinations, free WiFi and fuel at cost – with full membership to the hotel’s luxurious spa and gym facilities. This includes indulgent treatments, a hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam room and relaxation areas. Additionally, all Ocean Village Marina members will be able to enjoy discounted food and drink in the hotel’s restaurant and bars. An exclusive concierge parking service is also being introduced, along with brand new state-of-the-art, pontoons being installed.
Dean Smith, Commercial Director at MDL Marinas, commented: “We were delighted to launch our new Platinum membership package at Southampton Boat Show. The regeneration of Ocean Village Marina is truly remarkable and we were thrilled to unveil its ongoing transformation with the opening of the luxurious Southampton Harbour Hotel & Spa. The marina is positioned in the very heart of the maritime city and epitomises its cosmopolitan personality. Ocean Village is now one of the most desirable five-star marina locations in the UK.”
The work at Ocean Village doesn’t stop there though; the modernisation of the pontoon berths will be complete by the end of the year and the marina is also being configured to accommodate much larger yachts, creating easier access than ever before for all boat owners.
Dean continued: “Ocean Village embodies our ultimate marina experience, marking a new era for MDL Marinas which champions not just sailing but the plethora of associated leisure opportunities, from wining and dining, to retail therapy and spa days. With the enhanced five-star offering, we are encouraging people to secure their berths as early as possible to avoid disappointment.”
Find out more about the Ocean Village Marina Platinum Package.
For 30 years MDL Marinas has been proud to host its Sail Training Awards, which celebrate the exceptional accomplishments of young people or those who have overcome adverse personal circumstances.
Once again this year we gave five very deserving young people the opportunity of a lifetime, sailing aboard the training yacht, Prolific, on its maiden voyage after refurbishment, with the Ocean Youth Trust South. The five lucky winners were taught key skills, such as rescuing a man overboard, pilotage planning, as well as sailing the vessel itself.
At TheYachtMarket.com Southampton Boat Show, we presented three of the five young winners with their trophies. We were also delighted to welcome so many visitors to our stand for the relay rowing challenge - your support helped us to raise vital funds for the Ocean Youth Trust South.
Mark Todd, Chief Executive of Ocean Trust Youth South, said: “Over the last three decades, we have met many truly inspirational young people through the MDL Sail Training Awards. Throughout the 30 years, MDL Marinas has given us tremendous support and, without them, we wouldn’t have our magnificent boat, Prolific, back in the water – so it was very fitting that they supplied so many of the young crew members for this voyage. The MDL award winners are always highly deserving and inspirational young people and this year’s winners were no exception.”
Find out more about the Ocean Youth Trust South.
If you're a planner then we've got good news for you; grab your 2018 diaries and a cup of tea and make note of the fantastic calendar we have in store for you next year!
With members' parties, fireworks, BBQs, fishing competitions, classic car shows, boat shows and open air cinemas, there's plenty for everyone! What's more, even when there isn't a dedicated event on there's always plenty to enjoy in your local MDL marina, so if you ever find yourself at a loose end, it's always worth heading to your boat to see what's on.
See what events are happening at your local marina below, with your downloadable social calendar for 2018, or see what's happening around the network to plan your weekend trips away!
Four members of staff at MDL Marinas’ Shamrock Quay in Southampton have been recognised for their bravery after rescuing a woman who fell into the water at the marina.
Mrs Chrissie Cockburn, a member at Shamrock Quay, lost her balance and slipped from the pontoon into the water. The incident, which happened on 26 May 2017, was seen by Marina Manager, Jonathan Walcroft and Marina Supervisor, Barry Radband, who rushed to the scene, alongside Boatyard Supervisor, Andy Trim and Marina Operative, Colin Cool. Andy and Colin were first to jump into the water, quickly pulling Chrissie, who was facedown and unconscious, from the water.
In recognition of their actions to save the life of Chrissie, the team of four from MDL have been awarded with Royal Humane Society commendations. The Royal Humane Society awards are presented for acts of bravery in the saving of human life and for effecting successful resuscitations. Thankfully, Chrissie went on to make a full recovery.
Commenting on the incident, Chrissie said: “I am extremely grateful to my four rescuers for their swift actions. Unfortunately I was not wearing a life jacket at the time as I was simply walking along the pontoon from my boat, Ilkallia. I tried to steady myself, but misjudged the distance to the hose reel station and toppled into the water. I’m now fit and well and back enjoying life on the water.”
The Royal Humane Society Awards were presented to the team from Shamrock Quay by Lesley Robinson, Managing Director at MDL Marinas. Lesley commented: “We’re extremely proud of the team at Shamrock Quay. Without their swift action, the outcome could have been a lot different. Our marina teams all undergo extensive first aid and life saving training, but it’s very rare that their skills are put to the test in this way. It’s great to see that they all kept their heads and their training kicked in. Congratulations to Jonathan, Andy, Barry and Colin on their Royal Humane Society Awards, which are very much deserved.”