Looking back on 2019 with #MyMDLSummer

Posted: 10th October 2019

Now that the summer has come to an end, we’ve been reminiscing on what an amazing time we’ve had with you all this season. Whether you enjoyed the fantastic events at our Torquay Marina or spent some family time in our luxury lodges at Woolverstone Marina, it’ll be one we won't forget!

If you came to the Southampton International Boat Show this September, or you follow us on social media, you may have seen our #MyMDLSummer competition with our preferred insurance partner – Towergate Insurance. We wanted to see your fun-filled days out and trips in the form of summer snaps for a chance to win a £100 voucher of your choice. If you took part and shared your summer with us, thank you. We loved seeing you out enjoying yourselves at our marinas and beyond. The lucky winner has now been selected and that person is… Hannah King, who keeps her boat with us at Torquay Marina!

She shared a lovely collection of images from her boat out on the water, and she took her gorgeous little dog with her, who seems to love the water as much as she did! We thought these photos encompassed the joy of summer. Congratulations Hannah!

Make sure to follow us @mdlmarinas and Towergate Insurance on Facebook and Instagram for future competitions, you can find them at @towergateboatinsurance.

And don’t forget, as an MDL berth holder you get 20% off your boat insurance with Towergate Insurance*

To get a quote call 0344 980 8243.

*20% discount will be applied to the premium, before Insurance Premium Tax and Customer Service Charge. Minimum premium of £125 for jet ski, £100 for RIB and £75 for all of craft is applicable. The discount is not applicable on dinghies. Discount is only valid for MDL berth holders. Discount is subject to underwriting acceptance. Available to UK residents only. MDL Marinas Group Limited is an Introducer of Towergate Insurance. Towergate Insurance is a trading name of Towergate Underwriting Group Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England, company no. 4043759. Registered address:
1 Minster Court, Mincing Lane, London EC3R 7AA, United Kingdom.

Looking back at a fantastic 2019 Southampton International Boat Show

Posted: 30th September 2019

We've had another fantastic year at The Southampton International Boat Show. It was a pleasure to welcome over 3,500 members and their guests to our waterside lounge over the busy ten days of the show. The weather was amazing allowing our complimentary hospitality to be enjoyed from the balcony in the sunshine with stunning views across the show’s marina. However, the hot weather didn’t stop visitors enjoying our freshly ground artisan coffee – new this year! 
Joining us on our stand were some brilliant guest speakers, talking and giving demos on a variety of interesting topics, including: Lifejacket care and maintenance by Ocean Safety, the British Keelboat League by RS Sailing and Safe Supping courtesy of Sean White at WeSUP. The delicious gin tastings from HMS Spirits, with its nautically themed gin, also proved particularly popular.
Our #WhyKnot competition made a welcome return. Knotters of all ages competed to tie four knots in the fastest time possible to win a fantastic stand up paddleboard lesson and lunch for four at any WeSUP centre.
Four inspirational young people were presented with their Sail Training Awards on the stand by Lord Iliffe (Patron, Ocean Youth Trust) and Michael Glanville (Managing Director, MDL Marinas). The presentation was the culmination of an exciting journey for the prize winners who completed a potentially life changing five-day trip aboard Prolific with Ocean Youth Trust South.
Also announced were the results of our annual ‘MDL in Bloom’ competition. Shamrock Quay was crowned as the most green-fingered marina team across our 19 UK locations, winning Outstanding Overall Site.
Thanks to the amazing generosity of our members, participating in our daily charity hour and raffle, we raised a fantastic £2,065 over the 10 days. Our chosen charities, Ocean Youth Trust South and Blue Marine Foundation, will receive £1,032.50 each in support of the amazing work that they do. Thank you to everyone who contributed.
In keeping with the show’s overall theme of sustainability we went to great lengths to reduce our environmental impact of being at the show. Working with our waste management company, Suez, we recycled everything we could. From glass bottles to dry mixed recycling, we had separate on stand bins and boxes for the different waste materials, including a TerraCycle snack recycling box, specifically for sweet and chocolate bar wrappers. 
If you didn’t manage to join us this year, then please check out our boat show video above!
Although the main boating season may be coming to an end, there's still plenty going on in our marinas. Keep up to date with all the latest news, events and offers and stay in touch on your marina’s Facebook page.

Join us at Southampton International Boat Show

Posted: 8th September 2019

This year’s Southampton International Boat Show (13-22 September) is just a few days away and we’re looking forward to welcoming berth holders and visitors to our stunning waterside stand (E52) overlooking the boat show marina. 
This year on our stand, we’re giving one lucky boat owner the chance to WIN an incredible year’s berthing at any of our UK marinas for the entire 20/21 season. But don’t rely on fate to get a great berth with us. Book an appointment in advance with the MDL team to chat about berthing at one of our stunning marinas - BOOK HERE. You’ll receive expert advice, welcoming hospitality and the chance to find out more about all the benefits that MDL Members enjoy. Plus, visitors can join our visitor rewards scheme, which offers a seventh night’s free stay at any MDL Marina. 
“A berth at an MDL marina is more than just a place to keep a boat,” says Maxine Lane, MDL’s Head of Marketing. “It opens up a whole world of adventure. It’s really worth visiting us at the show to start the conversation about the benefits of berthing with us, including complimentary stays at 150 UK and European marinas in our extensive network. The boat show is a great opportunity to find out more.”
All visitors to our stand will also be in with the chance to win a stand up paddle boarding (SUP) lesson and lunch for four at any WeSUP centre in our knot tying game, #WhyKnot. Making a welcome return to our stand this year, entrants will show off their skill by tying a sequence of knots in the fastest time possible to win this fantastic prize.
A Southampton Boat Show special, visitors can also book our 2019 winter boatyard and berthing offers at last year's prices.
Exclusive Benefits for existing members
MDL members will, as ever, benefit from exclusive hospitality in our members’ lounge. The balcony offers a wonderful view over the boat show marina, ideal to enjoy a complementary drink while listening to the brilliant array of guest speakers. Our line up so far includes: 





Friday 13th September

All day

Towergate insurance. On stand all day to discuss exclusive benefits for MDL members.


Saturday 14th September


‘What SUP’. Suitable equipment and safety for people launching ­­­­­­­­SUPs from their boats and in busy marinas. 

Sean White, WeSUP

Sunday 15th September




Helpful tips and advice on lifejacket care and maintenance. 

Cocktail demonstrations followed by Gin O’clock! 


Mark Jeffery, Ocean Safety

Ben Maguire, HMS Spirits Company

Monday 16th September





The British Keelboat League and why it's important to keep inspiring people to take part in our sport. 

Cocktail demonstrations followed by Gin O’clock! 


Riki Hooker, RS Sailing


Ben Maguire, HMS Spirits Company

Tuesday 17th September


Helpful tips and advice on lifejacket care and maintenance.

Mark Jeffery, Ocean Safety

Wednesday 18th September


‘MDL in Bloom’. Rewarding our green-fingered marina teams for their hard work in ensuring our sites look their best.

Presented by Scott Farquharson (Manager Ocean Village Marina) 

Thursday 19th September



The 2019 ‘Sail Training Awards’. Recognizing a once-in-a-lifetime sailing opportunity, undertaken by young admirable people.

Presented by Lord Iliffe (Board Chairman, Yattendon Group Plc) and Michael Glanville (Managing Director MDL Marinas) 

Friday 20th September


Gin demonstration followed by Gin O’clock!

Ben Maguire, HMS Spirits Company


Our list of events is growing every day, so come back to see what’s new!
There will also be a charity raffle, raising money for both Ocean Youth Trust South and Blue Marine Foundation, in our members’ lounge with a fantastic prize donated by Musto. Worth over £300, Musto has kindly gifted a wet weather suit, consisting of jacket and trousers (BR1 Trousers and Corsica Jacket). To be in with a chance of winning, simply purchase raffle tickets in our lounge at just £1 per ticket with all proceeds going directly to these two amazing charities.
Members are in for a real coffee treat this year! We’re serving complimentary freshly ground, eco roasted artisan coffee including Espressos, Lattes and Flat Whites. A range of other chilled drinks will also be on the menu.
Members can also take advantage of complimentary parking at Ocean Car Park in Ocean Village Marina, which is just a short walk away from the show. Simply hand in your parking ticket when presenting your card at our member’s lounge and we’ll register your car details, permitting you to exit the car park for free. 
We look forward to seeing you at the show!


Space saving: MDL Marinas opens new storage facilities

Posted: 5th September 2019

If space is at a premium onboard or at home, we have the solution. Sixteen brand-new purpose-built stores are now available for rental at Shamrock Quay as well as eight at Dartside Quay, and twelve at Penton Hook and Windsor marinas respectively (all units are 36sqft).
Eleven of our sites across the UK now have storage facilities with each site offering a wide range of unit sizes. Rental prices start from as little as £10 per week (weekly, monthly and annual rents are available).
Whether its boat gear, household items, or even furniture, the onsite storage provides secure and convenient access 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The largest units (170sqft) are available at Cobbs Quay and Ocean Village marinas. Smaller shed facilities are available at Hamble Point Marina, Mercury Yacht Harbour, Northney Marina, Port Hamble Marina and Woolverstone Marina. Plus, there’s land storage available at Dartside Quay and Saxon Wharf.
Perfectly sized for boating gear such as sails, boat spares and tools, there are storage containers available at Hamble Point Marina, Hythe Marina Village, Saxon Wharf and Mercury Yacht Harbour. 
“As a boat owner, I am delighted that we’re offering this opportunity,” says Maxine Lane, Head of Marketing. “I know only too well the space that boating equipment eats-up onboard or in the garage, so onsite storage at our marinas is perfect for so many reasons. They’re secure and easily accessible, and there’s ample car-parking. We’ve also got trolleys on hand for loading / unloading gear. But obviously we’re open to people using our facilities to store other items too!”
Find out more about the storage options here or ask one of our friendly team who’ll be on hand at Southampton International Boat Show, on our stand (E52), to answer any questions.

Changing Lives at Sea – the MDL Sail Training Awards

Posted: 1st September 2019

On the 6th April six young people embarked on a life changing five-day sailing experience having won a place onboard the Ocean Youth Trust South’s flagship, Prolific, through our Sail Training Awards. Pictured are: top (L-R) – Alex, Millie, Ella, Josh, and below are Katie and Adam.

The awards were created to reward inspirational young people between the ages of 12 and 18 who have overcome adverse personal circumstances, or shown other exceptional accomplishments and achievements and rely on third party nominations from people who are in contact with young people, including teachers, guide or scout leaders, youth group leaders, friends and employers.

We’ve run the Sail Training Awards, in conjunction with OYT South, for over 30 years and the number of nominations has grown year on year.

Once the nominations are in, the hard work starts for our team. We go through all the nominations and choose just six who will be awarded the opportunity to go on the voyage. 

“All the children have their own story as to why they should be included, it is really hard to choose the final six,” says Hazel Craik who organises the Sail Training Awards.

This year’s winners, Josh Loman (14), Alex Salisbury (13), Adam Slim (12), Millie Nation (14), Katie Anderson (15) and Ella Plummer (15), completed the five-night voyage which took them from Ocean Village Marina in Southampton around the Solent and further afield to Poole and Portland.

The experience included night pilotage, a tour round Cowes RNLI Lifeboat Station and an impromptu man overboard recovery session when a bucket was dropped over the side. Each also earned their RYA Start Yachting certificate. This is a recognised qualification that can be kept in their Record of Achievement, used as evidence of transferrable skills or potentially lead to the start of a more enduring relationship with the sea and sailing.

In 2017, following a nomination from teachers at his school, Ciaran Robinson won a place on Prolific. Not only was this a ‘trip of a lifetime’ for Ciaran but has completely opened up a whole new side of life for him.

“The voyage taught me important tools for life like perseverance, communicating and teamwork. I enjoyed it so much that I have already been back as crew,” says Ciaran. “Gaining a place on Prolific has been the best opportunity that I have been given. It has definitely changed my life and shaped who I am today.”

Ciaran is now waiting to be old enough to undertake his RYA Day Skipper qualification and hopes to then volunteer for OYT South and become a member of their ‘incredible’ team.

MDL will host a presentation of the Sail Training Awards at the Southampton Boat Show where the young winners will receive their trophies and a memory book. This book is a compilation of photos from the trip coupled with the OYT South’s personalised sail report, detailing where they went, what they did and each individuals’ highs and lows from the journey.  The presentation at the Southampton Boat Show highlights how important it is to give children the opportunity to go sailing and possibly change their lives at sea.

“They come back off the boat as different people – we look forward to offering the opportunity to more children,” comments Hazel.


HMRC Consultation on Red Diesel

Posted: 6th August 2019

On the 15th July 2019 HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) launched an open consultation on the implementation of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) judgement on diesel fuel used in private pleasure craft.

Consultation description

This consultation outlines how the government intends to implement the judgment by requiring private pleasure craft to use white diesel for propulsion, and seeks evidence about the impact this will have on users of diesel propelled craft operating in UK inland waterways and along the coast, and the companies that supply diesel to them.

The responses will be used to help determine whether a period will be required for suppliers, known as Registered Dealers in Controlled Oils (RDCOs), and users of diesel fuel, to adapt to using only white diesel for propulsion of private pleasure craft and, if needed, the length of any such period.

Register your views

The consultation is open to boat owners and HMRC is inviting views on the proposed changes. You can register your views via the following link before the consultation closes on Monday 9th September 2019 at 11:45pm. We are working with our marine industry body, British Marine, to maintain the use of red diesel and we have also contacted HMRC to discuss the matter. When an outcome is decided, our response will be in line with Government legislation.

Thames Valley & London Boat Show at Penton Hook Marina

Posted: 27th March 2019

We're delighted that Penton Hook Marina will be hosting the inaugural Thames Valley and London Boat Show from Friday 12th to Sunday 14th April.

This free to attend brilliant event will have over 25 new boat brands on display (afloat and on the hard) as well as marine merchandise, services, clothing brands and chandlery.

Boat brands include Sealine, Jeanneau, Cranchi, Glastron, Bayliner, Alfastreet & Orkney plus many more.

The friendly show will also feature food and drink from the Big Red Bus, Mr Hobbs Henley Gin, and live music on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

“We decided to set this up as a local boat businesses’ open weekend, but it’s now so much more,” explains Chris Manners from TBS Boats, the organiser of the show. “We’re delighted at the way that is has grown. As well as all the top boat brands we’ve got many ancillaries too, like finance and insurance, and other exhibitors. Plus, April is the ideal time to view new boats as many offer immediate delivery.”

Penton Hook is Britain's largest inland marina, set in 80 acres and with 575 berths. It’s on one of the loveliest reaches of the River Thames, close to the vibrant town of Staines-on-Thames and about a mile downstream from Runnymede where King John signed the Magna Carta. And, as it’s such a large site, it’s the perfect setting for the show.

“We’re excited to be hosting the new boat show here,” says Paul Hallas, MDL's Thames Marina Manager. “We pride ourselves on doing anything that we can to support our tenants, members and the local community. Plus Penton Hook’s a lovely location and the weekend will be the perfect opportunity to show off what we have on offer. For example, as well as terrific facilities, we’re within walking distance of Thorpe Park. And, for all those thinking about a berth on The Thames? We’re more than happy to talk you through all the benefits of berthing with MDL and our other Marinas.”

The show is free to attend and will run from 10am each day.

Penton Hook to host inaugural Thames Valley & London Boat Show

Posted: 11th February 2019

The inaugural Thames Valley & London Boat Show at Penton Hook Marina in Chertsey is a 3 day event with over 20 new boat brands available to view including Sealine, Jeanneau, Cranchi, Glastron, Bayliner, Alfastreet and Orkney, plus many more. With such an exciting variety on display we’re sure there will be something of interest for everyone.

A large range of marine merchandise and services including chandlery, servicing and engineering, clothing, insurance, the RNLI and finance companies will be available for advice, guidance and some retail therapy. The show will be both ashore (marquee covered in case of rain!) and afloat accessible from our dedicated new boat pier.

April is the ideal time to view new boats as many offer immediate delivery and part exchange is welcome. Come and immerse yourself in the world of boats and all the great things they have to offer.

Spend time soaking up the atmosphere - bring the family along to enjoy relaxing, eating and drinking whilst viewing great boats afloat and ashore. Food, drink, music on Saturday & Sunday and glorious sunny weather (we hope) await.

For more information about the Thames Valley & London Boat Show, keep an eye on thamesvalleyandlondonboatshow.co.uk.

Thames Valley & London Boat Show

From 12th April 2019 until 14th April 2019

We are extremely pleased to announce that Penton Hook Marina will be hosting the inaugural Thames Valley and London Boat Show from Friday 12th to Sunday 14th April.

This is a 3 day event where you can view over 20 new boat brands, marine merchandise and services including clothing brands and chandlery. There will be also drink and food available via the Big Red Bus and Mr Hobbs Henley Gin and a live band playing on Saturday 13th April. The venue and entrance for the boat show is at Gate 5 and there will be marshals to assist and help you.

Best of all the boat show is FREE to enter!!!

For More Information
Call: 01932 570055
Email: Chris Manners
Website: https://www.thamesvalleyandlondonboatshow.co.uk

Winterising your motor boat

Posted: 21st January 2019

Despite the exceptionally mild start to the winter, the threat of a sudden cold spell may be just a forecast away. If we get another beast from the east, or even just a standard seasonal cold snap, is your boat prepared? asks Neale Byart, editor of Motorboat Owner.

Winterising is the act of protecting your boat, its equipment and contents from the ravages of the winter weather. Failing to carry out any preparation for winter can result in expensive damage to the engine, domestic water system and even your soft furnishings. 

While many marinas, such as MDL, offer lifting capabilities and boat yard services at heavily discounted berth holder prices to help keep your pride and joy in tip top condition with hull scrubs, anti-foul and other maintenance, there are practical steps you can take while berthed.

Here we break down the process of winterising your boat into three categories. First, there is the ‘must dos’. These are the jobs that you should carry out as an absolute minimum, and look after the areas most likely to be affected by a cold spell and most costly to put right. Next we have the ‘good to do’ list. These are jobs that it would be worth considering, as they will keep other parts of your boat fresh and undamaged by winter ravages. Lastly there is the ‘also consider’ list. These are jobs that are good to get done at this time of year. Possibly because they will give you an early ‘heads up’ if anything is wrong, allowing you plenty of time to get things fixed before next season, or maybe just because it means your boat will be in a better state of readiness to go in the spring when the weather finally breaks, meaning you can get back on the water with the minimum of work.

Must do

The most important, and expensive, item on your boat is its engine or engines. Seriously cold weather can cause water in the cooling system to freeze and expand. This in turn can crack any part of the cooling system, including the engine block itself. 

On a raw-water cooled engine you can choose to simply drain all cooling water, but if the water is salty, you will still be leaving behind a certain amount of potentially corrosive mixture. Far better is to mix up a solution of antifreeze and run it through the engine, either by pouring it into the raw water strainer, lowering the sterndrive into a container containing the mix or by using some engine flush muffs. 

Engines with an enclosed cooling system will still have some raw water inside certain parts of the cooling system, such as heat exchanges and raw water pumps. Again this can be drained or purged using the same method as above.

Even though engine blocks with an enclosed cooling system are protected by the antifreeze that the coolant should have within it, it is worth remembering that this should be changed every couple of years to ensure its efficiency. On an engine with an enclosed cooling system, you should, at least, test the enclosed antifreeze mixture to ensure it is capable of doing its job. 

Domestic water system

Perhaps the most common form of frost damage experienced is to the boat’s domestic water systems. The best thing you can do to protect this part of the boat is to completely drain it. You can simply run your taps until the tank runs dry, and this will remove most of the water from the system, but there will still be enough trapped water inside the pipe work and taps to cause damage. Once the tank is empty, take the supply hose from the tank and using a dinghy pump blow water out of the system by opening one tap at a time. Don’t forget any taps out in the cockpit or on the transom, as these are the most vulnerable. You can then leave all taps open to allow any remaining water a bit of expansion room, if required.

Don’t forget to drain your water heater. If you have a calorifier, just take off the lower hose. If you have a gas water heater, it should have a drain cock that you can simply undo. Check your owner’s manual for its location. 

If the worst comes to the worst and something does goes awry, many marinas offer boat maintenance and engineering. MDL’s network even welcomes outside contractors onto marinas with its open yard policy, plus for MDL members there is often substantial discounts from onsite tenants.

Good to Do

Make the most of winter offers which are offered by marinas like MDL and get ahead of the game with a quick lift and check for hull damage, scrubbing and anti-fouling. Plus, your marina manager or onsite chandlery will be able to tell you which anti-foul you should be using in the local area. 

Soft furnishings can take a bit of a beating in a cold and potentially damp environment. If you can, take them off the boat and store them at home somewhere dry. If you can’t take them home, or have nowhere to store them, you need to ensure the boat remains as dry as possible. Fix any leaks, ensure all covers are in good condition and all cover fixings are in place. You could consider running an electric dehumidifier for a few hours a day if you have access to a reliable source of power. If not, you may be better off ensuring good ventilation through the boat by leaving a hatch or porthole or two open. Just make sure that they are ones that won’t let rain in. 

The boat’s exterior is fully exposed to the worst of the weather so consider giving the boat a final wash and then apply a generous coat of a good quality wax. You don’t have to polish the wax off until the spring, when doing so should reveal a nicely preserved and shiny boat beneath. 

If you have any grey or black water tanks, have them pumped out and flushed through, leaving them empty and clean ready for the next season. Don’t forget the little grey water shower sumps. These should be emptied, which also gives you an opportunity to clean the filter to ensure another year of trouble-free service.

Using a good corrosion protection product, give the engines, mechanicals and any exposed electrical items a good spray. While you are working in these parts of the boat, perhaps also grease any movable linkages and squirt some grease into any grease points.

The subject of fuel tanks is a thorny one. Our recommendations would be to leave petrol tanks as empty as possible and diesel tanks full. A full diesel tank will ensure there is minimal internal tank surface left for condensation to form on, keeping your fuel as free of water as possible. Petrol, on the other hand, does not keep well, particularly in a vented tank, so you would be better off starting the new season with a fresh tank of fuel. Adding a fuel stabiliser to any petrol that does remain in the tank should help ensure it keeps it fresh enough to start the boat in the spring and get you to the fuel berth.

To ensure that your batteries make it through the winter, check the electrolyte levels, top up if required, and ensure that they are fully charged. If possible, give them a trickle charge, or a sporadic short charge, during the winter to keep them in top condition.

Also consider

These are not really winterising jobs, but are good to do now for a number of reasons, but mainly because it means that, come spring, the boat should be in a ‘ready to go’ state with no nasty surprises lurking.

Change the engine oil. Old engine oil contains contaminants that can harm the internals of your engine. If you change the oil now, the clean fresh oil will coat and protect the internal running surfaces. It will also provide an early ‘heads up’ of any problems such as water or fuel contamination.

Change your sterndrive or outboard gearbox oil. It is not uncommon to find water contamination here, so you don’t want to leave that water in contact with your gears all winter. It will also give you a few months to get the source of the problem fixed, making use of a quieter time of year for most marine engineers. If you leave it until spring, you may find yourself at the back of a very long queue.

Check your props for damage. Like good engineers, the people who refurbish propellers get very busy in the spring, so get the prop off and in for repair early, if required.

Lastly, check your safety equipment. Items such as lifejackets, liferafts, PLBs, EPIRBs and firefighting equipment all have service requirements and/or expiry dates. Winter is a good time to get these items serviced, or hunt out some well-priced replacements.

If you’re berthed at a great marina, you can always ask for advice from the marina staff. MDL’s marinas offer members a a 30% discount on boat yard services and have 13 boatyards across the UK network – with lifting capabilities for all types of boat. The company offers inclusive storage ashore and with 500 tenants across its network, MDL always knows someone who can help.