Palm Cay Marina on New Providence’s southeastern coast has sailed away with the coveted title of boaters’ favourite marina in The Bahamas for the fifth consecutive year. Marina Dockmaster Demaro Demeritte revealed the 5-straight win this week after learning that Palm Cay got highest ranked reviews once again on Garmin ActiveCaptain.com, the TripAdvisor-like site for the boating public.
“it’s all about the little things,” says Demeritte, whose team of six works to make every boater feel welcome with goodwill and genuine hospitality. “We get thank you’s all the time from someone who had an unexpected problem in the middle of the night and we were there to help or from someone because we ran out and bought a rum cake when we found out it was his birthday. It’s the personal touches that make people feel welcome.”
Those personal touches are paying off in business and ways in addition to awards. More than 60% of the transient traffic is repeat visitors, some returning on newer, larger boats or with friends on their vessel or, as often happens, with other boaters accompanying them. The 194-slip marina is closer to Exuma than others in New Providence, shaving up to an hour off the journey from Nassau to the northernmost cays in the Central Bahamas. The popularity of swimming with the pigs and exploring the Exuma cays also resonates with visiting yachtsmen. Marina guests are entitled to other privileges, some complimentary, that the coastal residential-resort community offers, including the popular beach bar, swimming pools, restaurant, coffee shop, tennis courts, playground, deli, bicycles, spa and fitness centre overlooking the water.
Demeritte says Palm Cay’s developers gave him free reign for the marina, allowing him to build a business plan around boaters’ needs instead of what he calls the usual format – build a plan and look for customers. “That approach gave me the opportunity to take a chance with a section of the market that others shied away from — sailboats,” he said. “That’s been great.” Demand for larger, multi-hulled vessels has forced the less than decade old marina to expand the width of slips to accommodate the increasingly popular power catamarans suited for the shallow draft Bahamian waters.
The charter business
Bucking the trend of catering to ever larger craft, Palm Cay focuses on vessels up to 65 feet — sportsfish and other recreational vessels or liveaboards like the sailboats, including those in a charter company that selected Palm Cay for its Nassau headquarters. The marina is one of several features that have made Palm Cay one of the fastest growing communities and strongest success stories in Bahamas real estate. Developers, with Minister of Works Desmond Bannister’s hand on the shovel, broke ground on its $100 million One Marina residences overlooking the harbour in November. The first building is 100% sold and sales have started on the second.