The Holy Grail for athletes is an Olympic medal, for actors and actresses it’s an Oscar and for journalists it’s a Pulitzer Prize. For marina operators, it is a Gold Anchor awarded by the Surry, UK-based The Yacht Harbour Association (TYHA) that is the highly coveted symbol of a quality property. Over 150 marinas in 24 countries participate in this internationally recognised accreditation scheme where ratings are endorsed by the Royal Yachting Association, International Council of Marine Industry Associations and the British Marine Federation. Island Global Yachting (IGY), headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, has not one but five of its marina properties granted 5 Golden anchors each. The latest is the Blue Haven Marina in the Turks & Caicos, part of the Blue Haven Resort, which the TYHA presented its highest accolade of five gold anchors in November.
“As one of the largest marina owners and operators in the world, we recognize the need and value to continue to evaluate our product,” explains Kenny Jones, MBE, executive vice president of operations at IGY Marinas. “THYA and the Gold Anchor Program are a perfect external vehicle to assist us in assessing and actioning any short falls. The award has proven to be a massive motivator for the staff at the respective facilities, as it gives them a credible external recognition for all of their hard work”.
The goal of the Gold Anchor Award Scheme, first established by THYA in 1986, is to assist boat owners in locating berthing options that have been well vetted for high standards of quality and service. To this end, THYA’s bestowing of one or more Golden Anchors to a marina entails a four stage process. First, a marina that completes and submits a satisfactory application and self-assessment form receives 1 Golden Anchor. Secondly, there is a marina assessment. Participants have to achieve 100 percent on over 30 criteria such as clean and adequate toilets and showers, robust and well maintained piers and walkways, and a waste recycling program in place, for example, plus receive a high score by an assessor. Thirdly, a mystery shopper personally calls on the marina and submits their results sometime between the application submission and when the gold anchors are given. Fourth and finally, marina operators are asked to distribute an anonymous online survey to all of their berth holders and responses can earn the marina additional points.
An assessor of IGY’s Blue Haven Marina made the following comments about the property: “Arriving at the facility, it was obvious that the enthusiasm and level of pride for what has been developed at Blue Haven, has fully infected the staffs’ morale and personalities. The ambience of the marina is overshadowed and enhanced by the very high quality hotel and shared facilities.”
Four other IGY marinas have been awarded Gold Anchors. Yacht Haven Grande, in St. Thomas; Isle de Sol in St. Martin; and Rodney Bay in St. Lucia all received 5 Gold Anchors from THYA in 2012. In 2013, Marina Cabo San Lucas received 5 Gold Anchors, plus won the International Marina of the Year Award, an honor only given to the TYHA’s Gold Anchor accredited members. Isle de Sol earned runner up to this overarching award also in 2013.
For more information on IGY marinas, visit www.igymarinas.com.
For more information on the THYA, visit www.tyha.co.uk