Penton Hook, on the non-tidal reaches of the River Thames, became the first marina to be acquired, founding the group in 1973.
After protracted negotiations we purchased Windsor Marina in 1976. One of the few custom-built marinas on the Thames, it was developed in 1974 by Meeks of Marlow who originally had just a slipway and boatyard on the site. Tucked away on the south bank just outside the town, it’s now become an intimate and friendly haven on the Thames.
Our first saltwater site was purchased at Cobb’s Quay in Poole, plus two river marinas at Hartford, on the Great Ouse and Upton-upon-Severn. With a total of 1,200 berths this was a significant leap in size, doubling the size of the company overnight.
Bray Marina acquired, increasing the company’s presence on the Thames. After discussions with berth holders, redevelopment of the marina began with upgraded berths, shower and toilet facilities and landscaping shaping it into the country park it is today.
We stepped in to rescue a floundering marina project in Torquay. This turned out to be a complex development involving a multi-story car park, retail units, and the rehabilitation of the Edwardian Pavilion, which proved to be a sensitive and expensive restoration task.
Howards’ Way was first aired in 1985, dubbed the ‘Dallas of the sea’ it was the BBC’s answer to the American super-soaps of the 80s. The ‘gin and Jag’ set of the Solent coast were seen as providing perfect material for a Sunday night drama. Hythe Marina and Ocean Village were depicted from their initial development and used as filming locations. In order to keep experienced sailors on the edge of their seats, storylines emphasised big events in the sailing calendar using real footage, with characters taking part in very believable mocked-up participation.
Dean and Dyball accepts MDL’s takeover offer of £18.5m adding Dartside Quay, Millbay Marina Village, Hythe Marina Village, Ocean Village, and Shamrock Quay. The deal also included a 50% share in Queen Anne’s Battery.
Our UK headquarters moves from Windsor Marina to Outlook House at Hamble Point. The marketing team has new offices built in the space of an old squash court.
MDL becomes the sole operator of Queen Anne’s Battery, Plymouth. “On a sunny evening when the marina is busy with live music from the bar and restaurant – I don’t think there’s any better place on the whole of Plymouth waterfront than QAB,” said the then Marina Manager.
BT Global Challenge fleet set sail from Ocean Village Marina. The brainchild of Sir Chay Blyth took a fleet of one-design steel yachts, crewed by ordinary men and women, round Cape Horn and through the Southern Ocean covering a distance of some 29,000 nautical miles.
MDL purchase Saxon Wharf, just north of Shamrock Quay on the River Itchen, with a commitment to invest around £6 million in the site. The development offers refit and repair facilities to leisure and commercial vessels up to 75 metres.
A deal agreed with Wifi SPARK following trials at Torquay Marina proved a big hit as Wifi was rolled out across the marina estate. As the technology improves small upgrades are made and the dream of working from a boat becomes a reality.
120 solar panels installed on the roof of the Saltmarsh Building at Cobb’s Quay Marina, and 210 panels on the top deck of Ocean Village multi-storey car park as part of our green plan to help reduce our operational impact on the environment.
We won a PBO (Practical Boat Owner) Green Award for ‘Best Service and Support’. Our Marketing Director commented: “We are delighted to have won this prestigious award and to be recognised for our efforts in reducing our environmental impact.” Well done team
MDL signs deal to grow network to 70 marinas across Europe joining French marina operator Segamor to offer cruising opportunities to berth holders. The deal, signed at Tullett Prebon London Boat Show, and still running today through the Otium points-based loyalty scheme, allows berth holders to join “Passeport Escales” to gain access to free visitor nights at marinas in France, Spain and Portugal.
The five-star luxury Southampton Harbour Hotel and Spa officially opens at Ocean Village Marina. It costs from £175.00 per night, and has a spa, gym and even a small cinema for guests. Platinum Plus Otium members can redeem points to get free access to all the hotels facilities when their boats are moored in Ocean Village, making the city centre marina an even more exciting destination.
The South Coast Boat Show launches at Ocean Village Marina. It’s judged a stunning showcase for global power and sail brands. The show has now become a secured event in the marine calendar and already has the colloquial nickname of ‘the buyers show’ for its focused approach.
Our Otium Rewards loyalty programme is launched. Latin for leisure time, Otium gives MDL customers the chance to generate points from purchasing services, which can then be redeemed on future services. Its specifically designed to give more choice about how customers discounts can be used.
We offer new glamping accommodation in four large bell tents at our Mercury Yacht Harbour and Holiday Park.
Our Wi-Fi network is upgraded to WiFi 6 bringing the next generation of wireless infrastructure to our marinas and providing a faster connection to boats.
The MDL team includes experienced and professionally qualified specialists in all facets of marina development and marina operations. As well as the UK base, MDL has an office in Spain with an experienced representative. During the course of 50 years’ operating in the marina sector, we have developed a complete in-house management and development resource that is not only self-sufficient but broad in its experience and knowledge. Meet the Team
The beautiful locations of our marinas deserve special consideration if we are to enjoy them in years to come. MDL recognises that virtually all the activities of the Company, and that of our customers and tenants, have some impact on the environment. That is why MDL is committed to environmental improvement, employs a dedicated Environmental Policy Manager and supports The Green Blue; the environmental awareness campaign for the boating community. Read More
Since 2018, we’ve been investing in solar panels to efficiently convert the sun’s energy to be used on-site. By working with Your Eco, we’ve now got close to 1,000 solar panels on buildings at five of our marinas, which in 2020 generated 120,346 Kwh of electricity. View the Data
Over the last two decades, the MDL Sail Training Awards has given more than 140 young people the sailing adventure of a lifetime, in recognition of their personal achievements in the face of adversity. Inspirational young people between the ages of 12 and 18 are selected for a week’s sailing trip on board Prolific, operated by Ocean Youth Trust South. Read more
This Marina Life is our monthly podcast, talking all things marinas, boating and the marine environment for those who share a love of the water. In each episode, marine podcaster, Ceri Hurford-Jones, is joined by members of the MDL senior management team together with leading experts, partners and berth holders across the MDL community to discuss a wide range of trending topics, from exciting marine innovations and events to pressing green issues. Listen Here
At MDL we’re well aware that its people, not pontoons, who ensure our success. That’s why we go to great lengths to choose the right people to join us – energetic, enthusiastic and talented individuals who share our passion for first-class customer service. If you’re thinking of working in marina management, administration or are interested in marina operations generally, there’s no better place to make your career. View our vacancies
When it comes to successful marina operations, no other company has more experience or offers greater expertise than MDL. Established in 1973, we’re now Europe's leading marina group currently operating 20 major marinas and boatyards and managing over 7,000 berths.
Through Passeport Escales, we offer the largest marina network available from any operator – over 160 marinas in the UK, Spain, France and Portugal.
Set in 22 acres of beautiful parkland on the River Orwell, Woolverstone Marina and Lodge Park is the perfect escape from the stresses of everyday life. Our luxury lodges are designed to bring you closer to nature, with numerous walking and cycling routes within easy reach. If you’re looking to get out on the water, there is a sailing school located at the marina and yacht chartering closer to town.
Mercury Yacht Harbour and Holiday Park offers the choice of self-catering accommodation, available all year, or campsite and touring facilities open from March to October. The park is ideally situated for reaching the many attractions in Hamble and the surrounding areas.
MDL Marinas boasts a variety of large and small industrial, office, and retail properties in prime marine locations, all available on flexible lease terms and at competitive rents. Managed by MDL Marina Estates, we provide full facilities to over 400 tenants in the extensive marine trades and services, all with access to MDL’s customers, marinas and boatyard facilities.