Martinez marina expenses stable, revenues higher since dredging

MARTINEZ, Calif. – The Martinez Marina has experienced an upswing in its revenues and has stabilized its expenses since the city dredged the area in 2017, Jim Haynes, chief executive officer of Almar Marinas, said Tuesday.

In California, Almar Marinas manages the Oakland, Treasure Isle, Marina del Rey, Westport, Peninsula Yacht and Bahia marinas, in addition to the Martinez Marina.

Haynes gave a report Tuesday night to the Parks, Recreation, Marina and Cultural Commission, saying that slip revenues were $311,581 in 2016.

Income from that source rose to $328,286 the next year, and so far this year, the slip revenues are $354,751. Haynes said increased occupancy accounts for the revenue improvement.

Most of the 108 boaters using the marina, 57 live in Martinez. Another 13 come from nearby Benicia. Others come from Concord, Fair Oaks, Pleasant Hill, San Jose, Vallejo, Walnut Creek and Northern California cities.

The marina’s Area 3 is a guest slip, heavily used by the Martinez Yacht Club and members of other yacht clubs that come to visit Martinez, he said.

In the future, Area 3 also may become a ferry stop, said Community and Economic Development Director Christina Ratcliffe.

She said one company has lost interest in starting a local service, but another organization has begun talking to the city about making stops here.

“Nothing is in stone,” she said, but she’s attended “positive meetings” that include discussions of a shallow-draft vessel that could handle the marina’s depth. Ratcliffe said she’s optimistic that ferry service could be provided to Martinez sometime next year.

Haynes said the ferry service currently under discussion would be smaller than what the city has had in the past, but he added that “there’s a component in the works that would improve the marina at no cost to the city.”

The marina also has a bait store that saw its income rise dramatically in the past year, he said. However, that increase can be credited to multiple variables. He credited most of the income to “the type of bait we got this year.”

But if the fish are biting in San Francisco, charter boats will take their clients there instead of Martinez, he explained. Those clients will spend money in those other places instead of at the local marina.

“The weather can be a factor,” he added.

Income at the bait store was $61,061 in 2016. That rose slightly to $64,319 last year, and in 2018, has reached $95,788.

Haynes also provided the Commission with total revenue figures – $471,494 in 2016; $491,568 in 2017; $560,032 in 2018.

Expenses were lower in 2016 – $405,561 for the year – because the marina had lost an employee and wasn’t paying that position’s salary. Once back at full staff in 2017, the outgo was $429,566. Expenses have risen slightly this year, to $430,593, Haynes said.

The marina has several activities and events during the year and joins in other city celebrations, Harbormaster Olivia Ortega said.

It participated in Fourth of July activities on Main Street, has seen the annual fishing derby grow from an inaugural 50 children to 150 in its 13th edition this year. She said Tuesday she was looking forward to the marina’s third car show that took place Saturday. It’s an annual collaborative effort with Lighthouse Christian Church, which also uses it as a toy drive for underprivileged children.

The marina has two swap meets each year, at which Allied Waste gives away free compost, and is the site for yacht club cruise-ins by clubs from other Bay Area cities, she said.

It is host to visits from school children who learn about the offshore water and the fish that live there, and the children also like to look through powerful binoculars that were given to the marina by Martinez Police Department.

And it will provide its dinghy to the Main Street Martinez’s Trunk or Treat event, she said.

Haynes said revenues could be increased further with more activities, such as kayak concessions.

Continued dredging is important to the marina, which Haynes said is not in great shape. “It needs help,” he said, explaining that a breakwater structure that isn’t functioning correctly needs to be fixed before work on the docks could start.

Silting is affected by prevailing winds, by water and other contributing factors, he said. “The fence isn’t doing much to help.”

Several assessments have been done on the marina, including an update sent to the Martinez City Council about a year ago, before the most recent dredging started, said Michael Chandler, deputy director of administrative services. To undertake rehabilitation of the marina could cost millions of dollars, he said.

The most recent dredging was done at the end of 2017, and the procedure is done about every five years, “the furthest extent you want to wait,” he said. Now that there is more clearance to the marina, it’s seeing more traffic, he said.

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