Making Bahamian Cruising Safe
The ATM maintains constant contact with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, its private engineers and the Port Department encouraging the repair and maintenance of Aids To Navigation (ATONs) around The Bahamas. In the past two years, many lighthouse lights and other lights that are crucial to safe navigation have been fixed. We are also advancing with government the need to dredge and properly mark certain entrance channels.
Keeping an Eye on Security
We keep an eye open for illegal activity of all kinds and send regular alerts to our network on about any activity of concern. We maintain contact with the government and lobby for increases in penalties, where we deem it necessary.
Promoting Marinas & Fishing
The ABM promotes member marinas, and the cruising and sport fishing industries. We work closely with the Ministry of Tourism at trade shows, supplying support for boating flings, and information to Florida yacht clubs, marinas, boatyards and more. We publish a map that promotes Bahamian marinas, yachting and sport fishing, copies of which can be obtained through www.bahamas.com and the 1-800-Bahamas toll free number.
Between Fall 2016 and Fall 2017, the ABM will be expanding its presence at South Florida boat shows to include booths at the Palm Beach Boat Show, Trawler Fest at Riveria Beach, Stuart Boat Show and possibly the Yacht Brokers Show on Miami Beach. We will continue to support the Ministry of Tourism booths at the Miami Boat Show and Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. We’ll also be a sponsor at the 2nd Annual Bahamas Yacht & Travel Show in Nassau in December.
Sea Ray Delivery Program
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and the BOIPB asked the ABM to support Sea Ray’s Dream Delivery program. This involved organizing special rates and assisting in media coverage. The program, developed by Sea Ray, offers buyers of L-Class yachts a free orientation of their new yacht in The Bahamas, where Sea Ray pays for many of the voyage’s costs.
Dock Staff Data Base
The ABM is in the process of compiling a comprehensive contacts database of dock staff around The Bahamas. The immediate purpose is for sharing on the upcoming website but this also is a first step with regard to training. The ATM has been asked by members to create a printed book of dock staff for each marina so they can share navigational knowledge with their colleagues and visiting yachts.
The ABM has created several new categories of Allied Membership to encourage wider participation in industry matters and to broaden fundraising and relationships with the yachting, boating and fishing communities, here and abroad. Captains and owners of vessels can become members for $50 annually, small businesses for $250, and students for $50. The aim is to have every boat owner and small business become a member.
Marketing to Large Vessels
The informal Bahamas Superyacht Association, which brings together ABM members whose marinas are capable of handling large yachts is taking steps to provide reassurance to give superyacht captains confidence in visiting certain destinations within The Bahamas. The ABM, under the Ministry of Tourism, plans to hold seminars and presentations at superyacht boatyards and yacht shows with new electronic charts of the verified shallow water routes. ABM has agreed to create a presentation kit showing captains appealing itineraries and destinations throughout The Bahamas. The idea is to educate captains and to dispel the perception that The Bahamas, with its shallow waters, is a “risky” destination for large yachts.
Helping Members with Special Problems
The ABM helps individual members with particular problems, speaking to government with our unified group’s voice. Problems range from giving voice to needs for increased or improved air access, to dredging harbours and channels, or problems with regulations of various kinds.
Why Membership is Important
Everything we do helps all marinas and the yachting industry but we can’t do our job without the marinas’ support, both funding-wise and in forming good policies.
Government only wants to deal with one official association to form policy and deal with yachting, fishing, taxing, and customs and immigration issues. We’re the main focal point for government and we have to get our voice heard together. That is why we formed.
The Association Of Bahamas Marinas or ”The ABM” comprises 31 marina members, a large majority of The Bahamas’ tourist-related marina properties. Our mandate is:
- To promote our marina members.
- To protect the industry’s interests and grow the industry as a whole.
- To leverage and coordinate with the Ministry of Tourism’s promotional efforts.
- To work with the private sector BHTA and promotional boards, the BOIPB, NPIPB and GBITB.
- To liaise with many other government departments such as Customs, Immigration, Health, Agriculture & Fisheries, Information Technology, and Finance.
- To liaise with law enforcement and military such as the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Royal Bahamas Police Force, and the US Coast Guard.
- To liaise with NGOs such as The Bahamas National Trust, The Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Service.
- Take the lead in solving problems that affect yachting, marine tourism, and marinas—such as broken and malfunctioning aids to navigation (channel markers, navigational lights, buoys, etc.)
- To lobby government against deleterious polices and excessive taxes.
ABM’s Bahamas Cruising Map
Early every year we publish a strategic marketing piece: The Bahamas Cruising Map which has proved to be a popular and powerful marketing piece.
- The ABM Map offers an amazingly well-targeted distribution to Florida marinas, brokerages, yards and yacht clubs to reach thousands of yachts, captains and yacht owners in South Florida.
- The ABM Map is the most popular piece at all the major boat shows.
- We personally deliver the map to all significant marinas in Florida between Stuart in the north and Key Largo in the south—where 95% of all our yachting and fishing business comes from or comes through.
- The map is the main collateral item used by the Ministry of Tourism’s Vertical Markets Department for promoting Boating and Fishing when encountering captains, marinas, yacht clubs and boat yards.
- The map is used as the main fulfillment when enquiries about yachting and boating come into the 1-800-Bahamas toll free number and the www.bahamas.com web site.
ABM’s Many Successes
Thanks to the support of members, the work of the executive directors and industry partners we have made a big difference in a short period of time. We believe the marina industry in The Bahamas is still very much in its infancy, and is presented with tremendous growth opportunities. Since our founding in 2009, we’ve enjoyed many successes:
- Working with the Police to bring about a significant reduction in boat thefts.
- Helping the Ministry of Tourism revamp the boating, sailing and marina part of the www.bahamas.com website to become more user-friendly.
- Creating a direct link on www.bahamas.com to member websites to facilitate bookings.
- Publicizing industry promotions and working with BOIPB, GBITB, and the NPIPB.
- Ensuring ABM representation at major boat shows.
- Reversing highly restrictive fishing catch limits.
- Expanding the quality, power and distribution of our ABM Bahamas Cruising Map in South Florida and elsewhere.
- Convincing the government to reverse a sudden doubling of the cruising permit entry fees and fighting the foreign yacht backlash.
- Working with The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association to significantly lessen the impact of Value Added Tax on our industry.
- Successfully advocating Government to lessen the impact of price controls by increasing the allowable fuel margin.
- Successfully advocating for the elimination of customs duties on marine parts for repairs.
- Advancing with government improvements to the boat entry clearance process.
- Convincing government not to implement draconian flats-fishing regulations that would have greatly damaged The Bahamas’ bonefishing industry.
The ABM is taking the lead to effectively plan for our industry’s future—moving to implement a strategic development plan that we developed four years ago. We’re also looking to create an Economic Impact Study for our industry to show government the importance of the marina industry to tourism and local island communities.