Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Phuket's Boat Lagoon Marina: Thieves or Incompetent?

Seeking an explanation for how a business operates can be a real challenge.  Take Phuket's Boat Lagoon Marina.  Like most places with a favorable warm climate and lots of nice sea side beaches, Phuket has a larger demand for marina berths than there is supply.  Boat Lagoon Marina was one of the first on Thailand's Andaman Sea coast and filled a need for yacht berths and a large hardstand area for repairs.  Many vendors moved into the rental areas to provide services and some of them are really first rate.

However, as time has passed the Boat Lagoon Marina has become rather shabby, the marina basin is perpetually too shallow due to its design and, unlike newer Phuket Marina's, it is only accessible a few hours on a few days each month.  The rich Thai owners have expanded their resort business that focuses on bus loads of middle class Chinese and weddings for middle class Thais.  The other focus is the Princess Yacht sales business of one of the family members.  They have squeezed the other yacht brokers out.

We first came in the the marina in 2011 when repairs were needed on SV Villa G.  Nai and Toe of Phuket Inter-woodwork did a great job and we returned in 2016 for a refurbish.  As we saw when we returned last week, their work was first rate.

Now for the rub.  We paid for 12 months berthing in advance.  We went out of the water and onto the hardstand 8 months for the work to be done.  We booked our return into the marina berth a month ago, all confirmed by email and again last week in person.  However, today when I went to get our berth number for tomorrow's launch, I was told that there was no space in the water and that we would need to wait until next month.

Now I do know that airlines and hotels overbook; yet they usually try to be accommodating and provide alternatives.  Phuket's Boat Lagoon Marina had no interest in sorting out the problem.  We have a room in their Marina resort, but they did not offer to extend it or do anything to be helpful.  Simply put: its not the marina's problem!  Wait a month and then see if we will launch you sailboat...

Now I ask you, is this over-booking and rude treatment just incompetence or they simply being thieves by not providing a service they have been paid for a whole year in advance?

I feel badly for the hardworking vendors and shop owners in Phuket's Boat Lagoon Marina.  They pay high rents, work hard, train good workers and get the short end of the Marina's stick.  Most of them quietly complain that business has been dropping slowly and continuously over the last five years.  Many have moved out.  The yacht brokers have all moved to Ao Po Marina (a beautiful place with 24/7 access).  Half the stores or workshops are empty now, but the Marina management does not seem to care.

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