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Crisis Management: Is Your Marina Prepared?

Natural and man-made disasters can happen anywhere, and affect any structure. That’s why every home or business, including boat marinas, should have a solid emergency plan in place. Whether it’s a fire, violent storms, or an oil spill, your whole marina community can be affected, so it’s vital that your plan incorporates both your staff and marina customers.

Here’s how to start:


  • Gather your staff together and decide on emergency roles and responsibilities for each member. For example:
  • One staffer can be responsible for keeping marina information updated, including all vessel descriptions and personal contacts.
  • Another team member can oversee all emergency equipment, such as checking on fire extinguishers and ensuring they’re in working order.
  • Other staff members can coordinate calls in an emergency situation and contact appropriate personnel for assistance.
  • Some members can be responsible for turning off the marina’s gas, electricity and water mains, if necessary.

It’s also a great idea to invite long-term boat residents to the meeting. If interested, they can be a valuable addition to the management team, as well.


A boating community is typically close, so naturally, residents should be involved in emergency procedure. Arrange a meeting with your customers and staff to ensure they’re familiar and comfortable with your strategies.

  • Go over highlights of the emergency plan.
  • Introduce them to your Crisis Management Team.
  • Take customers on a tour of the marina, showcasing safety equipment storage and utility shut-offs.
  • Advise them on general safety, ensuring they know that first priority is always to avoid injury.
  • Remind customers about checking their mooring lines regularly and securing furniture, grills, and sports gear when wind and weather is problematic.
  • Talk about helping others who are in danger without risking their own wellbeing (i.e. In a potential drowning situation, never jump in the water—call for help, throw a floatation device if possible, or take a small boat to reach person in distress).
  • Review protocol for a range of emergency situations, including fires, sinking boats, flooding, storms, environmental pollutants, and other crises.


Make sure all vessel residents have emergency numbers on-hand, including a 24-hour number for the marina or a designated Crisis Management team member. For serious emergencies, they should dial 9-1-1 first, and then contact the office/team member.


Give customers a quick checklist so they can form their own emergency plan.

  • Understand what natural disasters could occur in each season
  • Prepare for those possibilities by storing ample supplies
  • Check and test on-board fire extinguishers
  • Have emergency numbers programmed into phones
  • Know the marina’s layout, including location of safety equipment
  • Get to know boating neighbors so you can easily check on each other
  • Have a backup plan for accommodations in case you must evacuate vessel

Is your marina prepared in case of emergency? Are your customers familiar with your plan? Let us know about your crisis management strategies!

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