Miami has a shining new jewel of a marina garnering attention from around the globe and attracting the elite of the charter and yachting world. Island Gardens Deep Harbour marina is one of a very limited number of mega and super yacht only marinas worldwide which can dock a bevy of mega yachts of all kinds. In January, Deep Harbour opened for business with Marieke van Peer at the helm. Van Peer has achieved the leadership role as marina manager at this unique and prestigious facility through hard work, determination and a drive to excel.
Dutch born to nomadic parents, Marieke spent her childhood living in a dizzying array of countries from New Zealand to Singapore. Her wanderlust and independence were fostered through this childhood travel. Deciding university wasn’t for her and demonstrating her self sufficiency at age 17, she moved out of her parents’ house to London, then to Amsterdam. There she started a banking career in foreign currency exchange. During an around the world trip, Marieke was presented with an opportunity to move to the United States. Initially moving aboard a yacht in Fort Lauderdale, soon she found the yacht docked at Miami Beach Marina. It was there Marieke’s career in marina management began. She has never looked back.
Marieke began at the front desk where she enjoyed the challenge of configuring the yachts within the marina. After she worked her way up the ranks from front desk supervisor to office manager, Marieke received an opportunity to move to Bahia Mar in Fort Lauderdale. She knew the opportunity to work with a large corporate marina would open up new experiences and opportunities to her. It did just that. After managing Bahia Mar for a couple of years and gaining both a great perspective and an appreciation of corporate marina management, she was offered the marina manager position back at Miami Beach Marina. Marieke hoped with the growth at Miami Beach Marina a regional or international position might develop with time. Her dream was to be involved in a marina’s development, construction and subsequent management. That opportunity would come, however with another company.
Flagstone Property Group offered her a position last October managing its new marina – part of a large development in progress on Watson Island in Miami to include high end hotels, residential units, retail space and multiple restaurants. Marieke was involved in construction meetings and was on hand throughout the build. She became familiar with all the inner workings of this unique marina. Being a Med-mooring marina – where yachts can side-dock a pier or back to it, tying off to special submerged chains and cables – its design allows for an almost limitless arrangements of yachts to maximize dockage with no finger piers to get in the way. On the massive 22-foot wide docks spanning over 33,000 linear feet, yachts up to 550 feet can be docked. Difficult to accommodate yachts such as 100-foot catamarans and 100-foot plus sail yachts, with drafts up to 21 feet, can easily be placed in multiple locations throughout the marina. Challenges such as learning the incredibly flexible but complex electrical system with individual output available from 50 amps to 480 amps were just a process for Marieke to allow better service for the marina’s clients.
Now that the construction is completed Marieke handles all aspects of running the marina from overseeing and working with staff to back-office operations and working with customers, making them all repeat clients.
“I love what I do. Having to kill snakes and put out fires is intense and rewarding, but cultivating an awesome team and having fun is important too. I am nothing without the great people I have working with me,” Marieke says.
Her experience and Certified Marina Management credentials qualify her in dealing with this exclusive client base (which she likens in many cases to a business to business venture with each yacht represented as a company). She points out quality of service and competence are keys, and works closely with her team to make sure all yachts’ needs are seen to and space is utilized efficiently. As the marina evolves through its first year, Marieke expects her staff to grow to 12. You will often see her on the piers or in the offices doing whatever it takes to get the job done.
Marieke advises anyone wanting to follow in her footsteps that hard work and a willingness to ask questions will open doors, and starting from the bottom will allow for the best lessons and experience. Marieke is a shining example of how hard work, determination and the ability to win over customers can get you an office with the best view in Miami.