MDL partners with the Blue Marine Foundation

Posted: 16th November 2017

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 you're down at one of our marinas, be sure to keep an eye out!

Find out more about Blue Marine Foundation and Land Rover BAR.


Freedom Berthing: Yet more benefits for MDL members

Posted: 16th November 2017

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.

Find out more about Freedom Berthing and Passeport Escales.


Freedom Berthing and Passport Escales

MDL's Marinas release event dates for 2018

Posted: 14th November 2017

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!

Bray Marina 2018 Social Calendar

Brixham Marina 2018 Social Calendar

Chatham Maritime Marina 2018 Social Calendar

Cobb's Quay Marina 2018 Social Calendar

Hamble Marinas 2018 Social Calendar

Hythe Marina Village 2018 Social Calendar

Northney Marina 2018 Social Calendar

Ocean Village Marina 2018 Social Calendar

Penton Hook 2018 Social Calendar

Queen Anne's Battery 2018 Social Calendar

Saxon Wharf 2018 Social Calendar

Shamrock Quay 2018 Social Calendar

Sparkes Marina 2018 Social Calendar

Torquay Marina 2018 Social Calendar

Windsor Marina 2018 Social Calendar

Woolverstone Marina 2018 Social Calendar


2018 Marina Social Events

MDL Launches Official Partnership with Beds on Board

Posted: 15th September 2017

MDL Marinas has launched a unique integrated partnership with leading online boat accommodation platform, Beds on Board, marking its continued position as a pioneer within the marine industry.

In a world-first tie-up between a marina group and a sharing economy platform, the exclusive partnership will provide MDL’s members with a fully managed service to rent out accommodation on their yachts. The platform allows holidaymakers to access unique getaway experiences in unrivalled locations across Europe, whilst offering the boat owner a tried and tested model through which to securely rent out their vessel.

Dean Smith, Commercial Director at MDL Marinas, commented: “Within the tourism industry there is a growing appetite for alternative, unique accommodation and we’re thrilled to offer our members access to this audience through our partnership with Beds on Board. The platform will offer our members a hassle-free, safe and fully-managed approach to book out accommodation on their yachts, helping our members to create additional value through their boat ownership.

“At MDL Marinas our unshakeable benchmark is to maintain a leading position within the industry, so it is essential we continue to evolve and provide access to services such as Beds on Board. Our dynamic network of marinas across the UK and Europe are situated in a variety of stunning locations, affording users of Beds on Board the opportunity to experience a stay on the water and see the local area from a novel perspective.”

Launching in 2015, Beds on Board is a peer-to-peer marketplace that allows owners to rent their boat to guests looking for an alternative to traditional accommodation, such as hotels and bed & breakfasts. Users of the site can search for boats in their desired location, before chatting to the owner through a secure Message Centre. After a stay, both the user and owner are encouraged to write reviews in order to grow trust and the community.

Co-founder of Beds on Board, Jason Ludlow, added: “This exciting partnership shows our commitment to working with the marine industry to help grow the boating community and to help owners offset their costs. We’re looking forward to working with MDL to offer their members a managed solution for renting their boat on bedsonboard.com.”

Existing MDL members can list their boats at bedsonboard.com.


Young Sailing Talent Celebrated at 30th Anniversary Sail Training Awards

Posted: 15th September 2017

Six deserving young people who won a place on the 30th Anniversary MDL Sail Training Awards voyage will be officially presented with their trophies by Eamonn Feeney, Chairman of Ocean Youth Trust South, on Tuesday 19th September at 3pm (stand E52). The youngsters returned from their trip earlier this year after spending five days at sea with the Ocean Youth Trust South, on the maiden voyage of its refurbished vessel, Prolific.

The MDL-sponsored awards, which have been running for 30 years, offer admirable young people - carefully selected due to their exceptional accomplishments, or for overcoming adverse personal circumstances – the opportunity of a lifetime aboard the training yacht. 

The passage commenced from MDL’s Ocean Village Marina and the team made their way down to Dartmouth, being taught along the way how to sail the vessel, before circling back along the coast. During sailing, the team carried out drills such as rescuing a man overboard and pilotage planning, whilst having plenty of fun in between. Upon returning to shore, the young sailors deservedly earned a ‘Royal Yachting Association Start Yachting Certificate’.

Adrien Burnand, Head of Marketing at MDL Marinas, commented: “Our Sail Training Awards are a hugely important initiative for us, which we have undertaken with Ocean Youth Trust South for an amazing 30 years. It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip for those selected, honouring them for their remarkable achievements at such a young age. We look forward to this day at Southampton Boat Show each year, as it’s a fantastic chance to hear all of the stories and see what an inspiration the trip has been for everyone.”

Mark Todd, Chief Executive of Ocean Youth Trust South, added: “Over the last three decades years 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.

“We have a long track record of using adventure under sail to give young people the skills to succeed in life – the skills that individuals, families, schools, employers and communities need – and MDL’s generosity plays a key role at the heart of all our work.”

For more information, please visit www.sailtrainingawards.co.uk.


MDL Marinas and Ocean Youth Trust South Celebrate 30 Year Partnership

Posted: 27th April 2017

MDL Marinas and Ocean Youth Trust South have come together to celebrate an incredible 30 years of partnership, marked this month with the maiden voyage of the Trust’s new sail training vessel, Prolific. Young sailors from across the south of England took part in the intensive voyage, which included six inspirational young people who were chosen as worthy winners of MDL Marinas’ annual Sail Training Awards.

OYT South is a Hampshire-based charity which specialises in using an ‘Adventure Under Sail’ concept to help young people develop confidence and the essential problem solving skills needed to succeed in life. MDL Marinas and OYT first came together in 1987 to create the Sail Training Awards, which recognise the outstanding efforts of young people who have faced exceptional challenges, or have gone above and beyond to support others.

Three decades later and the annual awards are still going strong. This year’s MDL winners included George Hopwood, Ciaran Robinson and Alexandra Corrigan, all from Hampshire; Adam Gianfrancesco from Surrey and Rachel Mosley from Torquay.

The maiden voyage of Prolific saw 11 young people in total take to the Solent for a rigorous four-day sailing trip. The passage commenced from MDL’s Ocean Village Marina and the team made their way down to Dartmouth, being taught along the way how to sail the vessel, before circling back along the coast. During sailing, the team carried out drills such as rescuing a man overboard and pilotage planning, whilst having plenty of fun in between. Upon returning to shore, the young sailors deservedly earned a ‘Royal Yachting Association Start Yachting Certificate’.

Adrien Burnand, Head of Marketing at MDL Marinas, said: “Everyone involved in the transformation of Prolific has been eagerly awaiting its maiden voyage, and it’s fantastic that such a worthy team of young sailors marked the first passage. Combined that this is our 30th year of partnership with OYT, the sailing was a truly special experience. Our Sail Training Award winners were chosen for their inspirational attitudes and commitment to supporting others. It’s been a once-in-a-lifetime trip for those selected, honouring them for their remarkable achievements at such a young age.

“Over the last 30 years, the MDL sponsored Sail Training Awards have provided over 150 young people the opportunity to experience a trip on-board John Laing, Prolific’s predecessor, something which has been life-changing for some of our past winners. We are proud to continue to support OYT South with Prolific and the important work that it carries out.”

OYT South Staff Skipper, Andy Viney, commented: “We had a fantastic group of young people for Prolific’s first voyage with the charity, and we were absolutely delighted to be joined by the MDL award winners on this memorable trip. For the last 30 years MDL Marinas has given us tremendous support and, without them, we wouldn’t have this magnificent boat 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. This week has been a great start to Prolific’s sailing career and we are all looking forward to offering more outstanding voyages, in partnership with MDL, as the season goes on.”

Rachel Mosley, one of the young MDL sailors who took part in the voyage, added: “I want to thank MDL Marinas and OYT South for the opportunity to take part in the sailing trip. I thoroughly enjoyed the week and it's really opened my eyes to sailing. The experience has given me the opportunity to go back as a junior boson and learn more about the boat and how the sea staff look after it and keep it running. Thank you again for the amazing opportunity.”

Prolific was bought by the charity in 2015 and has spent eighteen months undergoing a refit and modifications, with close support and sponsorship from MDL Marinas, ensuring it would sail safely and effectively for young people aged between 12 and 25. Prolific provides the opportunity for all to sail onboard, from keen and competent young sailors looking for real adventure, through to vulnerable and disadvantaged people who might never expected the chance to sail.

To see Prolific in action please visit the following link: https://youtu.be/TQ2Elp8AJvw. Further information about OYT South can be found at www.oytsouth.org/charity.asp.


Ben Fogle Supports Oyster Project to Help Clean Up the Solent

Posted: 20th April 2017

Ben Fogle returned to the Solent today, to help Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) - the UK-based marine conservation charity – roll out its plan to restore the native oyster to local waters. The aim is to reintroduce 1 million oysters by the end of the year to help clean up the Solent, the strait that separates the Isle of Wight from mainland England and which once supported the biggest oyster fishery in Europe.

BLUE has partnered with MDL Marinas, Land Rover BAR and the University of Portsmouth to roll out the project across the Solent this April, which involves using a local team of volunteers to fill cages with 10,000 oysters, suspended underneath the pontoons of MDL’s marinas.

Ben Fogle, the broadcaster, traveller and adventurer who attended the University of Portsmouth and is a passionate marine conservationist, worked with a team of volunteers today to aid the process at MDL’s Port Hamble Marina.

Ben, who first became interested in marine pollution after rowing across the Atlantic, commented that his own experiences fuelled his desire to help with the Solent Oyster Restoration Project: “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.”

Today, the first of many thousands of oysters were moved to permanent housing in unique cage-like structures, designed and built by MDL Marinas, which are prototypes that can be used in the future by other marinas and boat owners who wish to help to restore the native oyster. Volunteers are to lower these oyster-filled cages from the pontoons of four MDL Marinas; Hamble Point, Port Hamble, Sparkes and Saxon Wharf as well as the pontoons at Portsmouth University and the pontoon that MDL Marinas installed at Land Rover BAR HQ.

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 many ways that the boating community can give back to the ocean and improve the local waters around us for our future enjoyment.”

The native oyster population in the UK has halved over the last 25 years, while globally an estimated 85% of oyster beds and reef habitats have been lost. The restoration of the native oyster will provide wide-ranging ecological and social benefits for the region over the long-term by helping to improve water quality, foster valuable habitats and re-establish an important strand of the economy on the South Coast.

Leading a coalition made up of fishermen, marine and local authorities, scientists and conservationists, BLUE seeks to significantly increase the population of native oysters in the Solent by 2020 with the long-term aim of achieving sustainable stocks and with the likely added benefit of  improved Solent water quality, ecosystems and associated benefits for local inshore fisheries.

Tim Glover, BLUE’s UK Projects Director explained the significance of the next stage of the Solent Oyster Restoration Project: “Last year we started this project with pilots at Land Rover BAR and the University of Portmouth’s raft in Langstone Harbour (monitored by scientists from the University) which showed that the technique of suspending cages of oysters under floating pontoons can result in healthy reproduction and low mortality. Now BLUE is ready to go a stage further. Our aim is to introduce up to 1 million oysters to the Solent over the course of 2017, mostly into protected seabed sites. We hope this five-year programme will have a transformational effect on the Solent in the long-term.”

Five Reasons To Restore Oysters to the Solent

  1. Oysters can improve water quality by filtering large volumes of water and removing some pollutants  (a single native oyster can filter up to 200 litres of water a day).
  2. Oyster beds provide a habitat and rich food source for marine life and can increase the productivity of the ecosystem.
  3. The restoration of oyster habitats could help to boost some fish populations  and improve catches for both recreational and commercial fishermen over the long-term.
  4. Alongside careful fisheries management it wi help to ensure a sustainable supply of oysters for harvesting in the long term - re-establishing an important strand of the economy on the south coast.
  5. Finally,  oysters provide a range of important ecosystem services that will help to improve the health of an entire waterway providing enhanced recreational and other social benefits for both local communities and visitors to the Solent.


Jo Grindley, CMO/CCO of Land Rover BAR said: “Sustainability is an integral part of our ethos and working alongside our Exclusive Sustainability Partner 11th Hour Racing we are committed to becoming the most sustainable sports team in the UK. With an opportunity to make a real impact on the ecosystem on our doorstep, in partnership with MDL Marinas, BLUE and the University of Portsmouth, we were delighted to host the first trial under our pontoon at our base in Portsmouth. To see the impact that can be made when key companies partner together is particularly exciting and we look forward to seeing the positive effect this project will have in the Solent and hope it will inspire others to take action.”

For more information about BLUE, please click here.


The Countdown to the Rolex Fastnet Race is on!

Posted: 7th April 2017

A key event in any sailing enthusiast’s diary, the eagerly anticipated Rolex Fastnet race returns this summer for what promises to be a high adrenaline and action packed competition. Starting on Sunday 6th August at the Royal Yacht Squadron in West Cowes, the race will attract hundreds of yachts from around the country, all competing for the chance to win the coveted cup.

The intimidating 650 mile racing route is designed to push competitors to the limits, beginning at the Isle of Wight and sweeping the south coast to then battle the unpredictable Atlantic Ocean. Competitors will reach the renowned Fastnet Rock, which lies four miles off southwest Ireland and the route then approaches Bishop Rock and the Scilly Isles to port, before returning to finish off in Plymouth. Racing against the elements, the course is a true test of sailing skill and we can’t wait to see the action!

The Fastnet race is one of the world's oldest offshore races and, with such high volumes of competitors expected, securing a pre-race berthing spot close to the action will be hot competition and essential for racing preparations

We’re urging anyone looking for a location to berth before the race to get in touch early as we have fantastic spaces available at our south coast marinas, but we’re expecting them to be snapped up quickly. Ideally placed close to the start line, our marinas include Ocean Village, Shamrock Quay and Saxon Wharf in Southampton, as well as Hamble Point and Port Hamble, all ideally situated to ensure a smooth start on race day. For those wishing to relax after the race, Queen Anne’s Battery in Plymouth will make the perfect spot to unwind and debrief on the racing events.

Get in touch now to ensure you don’t miss out and, for more information about the Rolex Fastnet race, please visit: www.rolexfastnetrace.com.


Spring forward to the new season with our exclusive Freedom Berthing pack

Posted: 31st March 2017

We’re so excited that Spring is finally here, marking the start of another great season of boating. To kick off the new season, we’ve put together an exciting Freedom Berthing pack to thank you, our loyal members, for berthing with us, as well as introduce new boating enthusiasts to all that MDL Marinas has to offer.

We’ve included a host of gifts to get you started for the new season including, a tide table booklet to assist you with your UK cruising, and your choice of:

  • A set of 4 high-quality unbreakable clear wine glasses for relaxing at sea or in the marina.
  • A Royal Yachting Association (RYA) log book to record your travels.
  • Reeds Almanac 2017. Covering the UK, Ireland and the west coast of Europe from Denmark to Gibraltar.
  • The River Thames Book. Covering the Thames Barrier to Cricklade with the River Wey, Basingstoke Canal and the Kennet and Avon Canal to Great Bedwyn.


Along with a luxury hessian ‘bag for life’ to carry all of your goodies.

There’s also a host of exclusive benefits available for Freedom Berthing members in 2017/18, giving you access to over 100 holidays in the UK, France, Spain and Italy, fuel at cost so you can explore further, and free unlimited WiFi so you can stay connected all year round. We hope you make full use of your benefits this season and we’d love to hear about your adventures. Share your photographs to your social media using the hashtags #MDLRelax, #MDLEnjoy and #MDLDiscover.

With Easter just around the corner, and lots of ‘egg-citing’ events going on at our marinas, we thought it was the perfect time to collect your Freedom Berthing pack. So please pop into the marina office over the Easter weekend and you may even get an Easter treat!

There’s lots to look forward too…

Come and experience our marinas this Easter!


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