It has been quite some time now that a plan to construct India’s first marina was proposed. Goa and Kochin have the finest cruising waters while Mumbai is the current nucleus of boating in India so it was very difficult to make a decision. Also the coastline between Mumbai and Goa is extremely beautiful and makes it a perfect place for marinas. Eventually Kochi got India’s first marina with a 40-vessel capacity. The state-government body charges around Rs. 15, 000 per month as rent for an 18-foot boat and more for bigger ones. Mumbai is the most preferred place being the centre for the boating industry. There is a need for alternate locations to park luxury yachts as the number of boats in the Mumbai harbor are steadily increasing. Many plans have been proposed for marinas and floating jetties in Mumbai. The Maharashtra Maritime Board had a few months back invited expressions of interest for developing marinas along the coastline of the state.
The approximate cost of the entire project is estimated by the Maharashtra Maritime Board to be around 5 crores. If the proposed plans are accepted then it would become much easier to travel to places like Mandwa, Elephanta caves and Raigad. The floating jetties that will be installed at the Gateway of India by the state government will provide safe and easy access to these places. Over the past five years sixteen people have fallen into the water while trying to board the boat. Although they were immediately rescued it is still risky trying to board the boat in that manner. Construction of permanent jetties require permissions from the ministries of environment for the protection of heritage sites near by and the marine ecosystem.
At present there are only 5 floating jetties that can accommodate sixteen boats. Two more jetties will be added if the proposed tender gets the approval. The consultant for the Mumbai police’s marine wing has advised the installation of floating jetties along the coast of Mumbai following the 26/11 attacks. He has suggested that each jetty shall be equipped with a metal detector to keep a check on the incoming goods on to the mainland. The construction of the marinas and floating jetties will also make sea travel far easier. Each day at least 5000-10,000 people use Gateway of India for commuting through sea. As proper disembarking facilities are not provided the passengers have to jump from one boat to another when they are all lined up next to each other. This proves to be risky and foreign tourists always complain about the lack of proper disembarking facilities.
Marinas and boatyards are critical to develop boating. It gives you the base for all the activities and businesses, and a center for social interaction. If one looks at other nations around the planet one sees many examples of the importance of the yachting sector in terms of job creation, recreation and sportsmanship, tourism, and youth training.
The increasing number of yachts has also given rise to charters of luxury yachts. Indians are becoming curious by the day and their knowledge & interest in boating is definitely seen to be growing. If the Government understands how significant yachting could be for its tourism sector, Mumbai can become the boating destination of India.
Article compiled by Vignesh Iyer