Marina owners in Jamaica, Cuba and the
Cayman Islands are discussing closer working practices.
Dale Westin of Errol Flynn Marina in
Port Antonio, Jamaica, Neville Scott of Barcadere and Comodoro Jose Escrich of
the Marlin group of marinas in Cuba met unofficially at the Miami Boat Show to
talk about the possibilities of pursuing joint promotional and marketing
initiatives, revealed Mr. Scott.
“It’s not like we’re a cruise
association or a formal organisation of which we three are a part. It’s still
in its infancy, something we are discussing and something [for which] we
haven’t really formalised a written agreement.
“We have a gentlemen’s agreement amongst
the three of us where we will jointly promote each other’s facilities. The idea
is that we do some joint marketing initiatives, the costs of which would
hopefully be borne by all involved and benefit all involved. The ultimate
objective is to get boats into our facilities.”
The idea has grown organically over the
years, he added.
“I’ve known Dale Westin for several
years from doing boat shows, trying to promote The Barcadere and Grand Cayman
as a yachting destination. We sit together and talk about how things are going
and try and refer business between the two facilities.
“I have some of his brochures in my
marina and he has mine in his. We try to give each other reciprocal business
and feel comfortable referring people to each other’s facilities because
ultimately my recommendation is going to reflect on me.”
Because of this relationship, increasing
numbers of yachts have been to both facilities, with many also going to and
“A couple of years ago at Miami Boat
Show I saw Comodoro Escrich doing a presentation on the marina community in
Cuba and talking about the facilities that are available and the plans for
development of various marinas.
“He also talked about the potential for
Cuba as a cruising ground for yachters, particularly from South Florida. I can
definitely see the potential there once America relaxes the travel ban,” said
Subsequent to the boat show, Mr. Escrich
travelled to Cayman to promote the 60th anniversary of the Ernest Hemmingway
fishing tournament and to tour yachting facilities throughout the island.
“Cuba currently presents a barrier for American yachters and sailors to
reach Grand Cayman, but if the States were to relax its travel ban to Cuba,
they could cruise over there and all of a sudden Grand Cayman is a hop, skip
and a jump from South Florida.
“Cruisers could go from Key West to Havana, then Isla de la Juventud and
Grand Cayman, then back to Caya Largo, perhaps the Errol Flynn marina in
Jamaica, then up to the Keys.”
Mr. Westin said he believed that a relaxing of the American travel ban
would change the complexion of the entire Caribbean.
“Americans have been waiting some 50 years to visit the forbidden island
of Cuba. Its greatest impact would probably be on the Bahamas, which would
likely suffer a temporary reduction in tourism.
“As far as Jamaica is concerned, I believe it will bring a need for
additional marinas across the north side of the island and likely in places
like Bowden, Drax Hall, Falmouth and Montego Bay,” he told the Compass.
The meeting between the marina managers was informal, said Mr. Scott, with
the objective to see if there were any benefits to be had by association or
possible synergies to develop or collaborate on.
“We made formal our informal agreement to promote each other through
collateral materials and each other’s links on our websites and so on.
“By no means do we represent three countries; let’s be clear on that.
We are simply three individuals responsible for three different
organisations who are trying to jointly promote those organisations.”
Ideas include potential sailing regattas that could visit facilities of
all three organisations, plus the possibility of fishing tournaments that are
spaced out in order to allow people to fish on a circuit.
“There are people who sail between tournaments, which are timed to allow
people to do that. We could time our tournaments to lead up to each other so
people who come this far south aren’t just coming down for a tournament at my
place; they could fish here, Jamaica and Cuba, then go on to fish Mexico or
“As well there’s the general recreational cruisers who, on leaving one
marina, have the contact already at the next marina and are able to feel secure
that they are expected at their next port of call and in turn they know what to