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Developing a Crisis Management Plan for Your Boating Marina

Disasters can strike anywhere and damage any property, including boating marinas. Because of this, marinas need a crisis management plan shared with boaters and staff to help prepare for or recover from catastrophes. 

Here’s how to mitigate crises and help your staff and guests stay prepared.


3 Ways To Create a Crisis Management Plan for Your Boating Marina


1. Identify Potential Threats to Your Marina

Marinas face many potential threats and areas of vulnerability, putting them at risk of significant property damage. Depending on your location, you need a plan to prepare for and recover from disasters. Here are some to consider:


  • Drought conditions drastically reducing lake levels
  • Tornado and/or hurricane
  • Torrential rains leading to a dam breach at your lake
  • Earthquake
  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Environmental damage from toxic chemicals, waste, and oil

The importance of risk assessment can’t be overstated. In fact, has multiple resources around risk assessment, including how to conduct business impact analysis, a business impact analysis worksheet, and a risk assessment tool.

Identifying and assessing these potential threats in your crisis management plan ensures your marina is safe, enjoyable, and prepared for any disaster.


2. Implement Precautionary Procedures

Develop an Easily Accessible Checklist

To effectively mitigate potential threats to your marina, it is crucial to integrate a comprehensive checklist into your crisis management plan. This proactive measure ensures that your business takes all necessary actions to support and assist your boaters and staff during times of crisis.

Although every marina will have different checklists per location and threat, some of the most important things to consider are:

  • What natural disasters could occur, and when
  • Fetching and storing ample supplies in case of an emergency
  • How to check and test fire extinguishers
  • Saving emergency contacts and equipment
  • Identifying backup sources of power
  • Locating an area that can serve as shelter
  • The marina’s layout, including where the safety equipment is
  • Communicating and helping other boaters during a crisis
  • Evacuation routes
  • Backup crisis management plans if you must evacuate

Ensure you make your checklist easily accessible so that it encourages guests to take the appropriate actions based on the type of hazard or threat so they can coordinate a proper emergency plan.

Communicate Your Crisis Plan With Guests

It's vital that in the case of an emergency your guests are familiar with what is expected of them and can easily access that information. Consider having appropriate signage throughout your property as well as proactive communication regarding your guests' game plan if an emergency should arise.

Ensure you: 

Remind boaters about checking their equipment. Inform your guests to check mooring lines regularly and secure equipment, such as furniture, grills, and sports gear.

Review protocol for a range of emergencies. This includes fires, sinking boats, flooding, storms, environmental pollutants, and other crises. This information can be communicated with your guests upon arrival or in their reservation confirmation email.

Include your refund policy. Consider adding information about reservations and refunds in case of a crisis at your marina.

Coordinate a Crisis Management Team

Gather your staff together and designate emergency roles and responsibilities for each member. 

For example, one member should update marina information, including all boat descriptions and personal contacts. Another team member should be responsible for emergency equipment and their functionality, such as checking on fire extinguishers to ensure they’re in working order.

You should also have roles and responsibilities for:

  • Coordinating emergency calls and appropriate personnel
  • Utility management, such as turning utilities off during an emergency
  • Evacuating guests and ensuring they follow protocols


3. Plan for Crisis Recovery

Before a Crisis

In case a crisis does occur at your marina, you must be prepared to initiate a comprehensive recovery plan to reduce downtime and restore your marina to a functioning destination for your boaters.

  • Compile a list of contacts for local officials and voluntary crisis recovery organizations
  • Store all of your important documentation in a protected space, preferably the cloud, to prevent physical damage
  • Update your recovery plan often to accommodate any property changes
  • Ensure your entire staff understands the recovery plan — before, during, and after

During the Crisis Recovery Phase

When creating a recovery plan, it’s mandatory to consider the following steps to implement during the recovery phase:

  • Get in contact with your recorded local officials and voluntary organizations to repair damages and help anyone in need
  • Help ensure everyone on your property is safe or is getting the medical support they need
  • Document the damages and file a claim with your insurance to see what’s covered
  • Begin implementing plans to restore lost resources, including equipment, records, utilities, and technology
  • If you have multiple marinas, funnel your business to your other marinas to prevent significant revenue loss

It’s important to understand that recovery takes time, and all the changes won’t occur overnight. You can talk to all the third-parties involved in restoring your marina to get an idea of how long each process will take. 

While you wait for your marina to be back up and running, ensure you reflect on the incident and take notes of how you can prevent it from happening again. Check your marina for areas of loose wiring, gas leaks, dangerous animals, points of entry into your marina, cybersecurity measures, fire hazards, and more.


Empower Your Team With Top Industry Resources


An extra step that you should take is to leverage the latest industry resources, news, and more to always keep your marina in line with best practices.

If you’re looking for more of the latest marina management tips and precautionary advice from hospitality experts, get your Operational Excellence in Hospitality: Using PMS to Work Smarter guide today.


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