Marinas are an incredibly unique and challenging workplace. Often comprised of smaller highly skilled teams, their success largely depends on their employees. As such, hiring for marinas also presents its own set of challenges. Candidates are highly skilled, and for most positions an in depth understanding of marine systems is required. Above all, and in all positions, hires should be self-motivated, able to adapt to quickly changing environments, and willing to adopt an “all hands on deck” attitude. In this flash course you’ll find a collection of sample job descriptions, compensation and benefits data, marina management companies and more.
Every marina is unique but it helps to have a starting place when planning or promoting a new job. Below you'll find a collection of sample job descriptions for common marina and boat yard roles. Are we missing one? Reach out to us and we'll keep the collection growing.
The General Manager is responsible for leading the day-to-day operations and ongoing growth and development of the property while keeping the guest at the forefront of every decision.
General Manager Responsibilities
General Manager Qualifications
The Facilities Team is responsible for creating a safe and pleasurable guest experience through maintaining the highest-quality facilities.
Facilities Director Responsibilities:
Facilities Director Qualifications
The dockmaster is responsible for the day to day operation of the marinas, docks, and dock staff, while ensuring a pleasant and safe experience for customers.
Dock Team Lead Responsibilities
Dock Team Lead Qualifications
The Dock staff are generally the first point of contact with the customer and are responsible for operating the fuel dock, running the pump out facilities, and catching and securing lines for incoming boats.
Dock Staff Responsibilities
Dock Staff Qualifications
The Marina Finance Director is responsible for managing all aspects of the Marina's long term growth and financial health. They oversee the financial operations of the company.
Finance Director Responsibilities
Finance Director Qualifications
The Marina Human Resources Lead is responsible for overseeing all responsibility of the HR department, including but not limited to enforcing company policies, interviewing applicants, and managing existing staff benefits and pay.
Marina Human Resources Lead Responsibilities
Marina Human Resources Lead Qualifications
Customer Service Representatives utilize their knowledge of yacht systems to work with customers to schedule service and maintenance of their vessels.
Customer Service Representative Responsibilities
Customer Service Representative Qualifications
Download editable versions of all of these sample job descriptions here
We asked marina managers and owners for their recommendations for job boards. While word-of-mouth and tapping into your network is still the most popular method of finding talent, there are a number of job boards that came up as well:
Marina Staffing Services
There are a small handful of recruitment and staffing services out there that specialize in marinas, ship builders and shipyards.
If you are operating more than 1-2 assets, or your operation is highly complex, you may want to consider hiring a management company. There are a handful of management companies widely used today.
Managing over a dozen marinas across the United States, F3 Marina is a well-run management company with deep expertise in marketing and financial. Their services include all aspects of waterfront development and management, including; marinas and adjacent upland property, such as multi-family and retail.
Oasis services run the gamut but they specialize in design and build services, vendor management and inventory management. They operate a wide collection of marinas across the continental United States.
USMG has experience operating Caribbean and Latin America marinas, as well as all U.S. markets. They are versed in the unique set of requirements, laws, and regulations that each market brings and cover services from asset management to day-to-day operations, marketing and sales.
Working with marinas of all sizes and types from condo-owned properties to commercial marinas, Trident has expertise in accounting and reporting, human resources, environmental concerns, risk management, workplace safety, marketing, advertising, and customer service support.
Not ready for a full management company but want to supplement your team with specific services like website development, marketing, social media, pricing strategies, staffing, or positioning for a sale? Dockwa, a marina management software platform, offers a la cart services as part of its enterprise software tier. Disclaimer: this website, Marinas.com, and Dockwa.com are both owned and run by The Wanderlust Group.
Marinas.com and the Association of Marine Industries (AMI) recently ran a compensation survey across 400 marinas in North America and Canada. You can download the complete survey findings to get the full benchmarks on wage compensation. Here are some highlights.
General Managers: The average annual wage for a marina general manager was $85,895 in the survey responses. General Managers who had gone through a certification program had a higher wage by about $5000 a year.
Marina Manager: The average annual wage for a marina manager is $69,894 in the survey responses
Dockmaster: The average annual wage for a dockmaster was $45,806 in the survey responses.
Dockhand: The average wage for a dockhand was $14.36/hr in the survey responses.
Each of these average wages varied greatly by region. See the full report for regional breakdowns to make sure you’re comparing against similar marinas. You’ll also find salary data for forklift operators and yard managers in the report.
In a 2020 survey of 372 marinas, the following are the most common benefits offered by marinas to their full time employees.
Our survey participants also mentioned various other benefits; these include the list below. The majority of businesses participating in this survey did not say the below benefits. Still, they may provide you with “outside the box” thinking on supporting your employees.
Download the full compensation report
Structuring Your Dock Team
How you structure your dock team will depend on the size of your guest base and diversity of your offerings, but for larger operations, we recommend organizing your dock team into sections called “zones”. Similar to servers in large restaurant, each zone has a different Dock Team Member assigned to it every day of the week. This ensures that you’ve got coverage for the full marina - not just the most appealing portions to dockstaff - and also enables you to circulate staff for more well-rounded training and development.
Incentivizing your dock team
In 2020, Stock Island Marina developed a tip share model to incentivize their dock team. They noticed that their Dock Team was gravitating towards the more lucrative zones like the fuel dock and transient docks while neglecting the zones with our long-term guest base and infrastructure that required less tip yielding services and more warmth, enforcement, upkeep, and maintenance. It didn’t take long to recognize that they needed to tweak this service model and add an incentive that would promote teamwork and ensure that every type of guest and every inch of the property was receiving the attention needed. They decided to create a tip-sharing program.
How it works:
The Dock Team tips are pooled daily, matched by the organization at 25%, and split according to the number of hours worked in a given shift.
The tip sharing program had a number of benefits. It ensured the integrity of the zone structure and motivated the team to address each guest as the most important guest no matter the location or what the need may be. Because of the matching program, it also had the added effect of promoting organizational loyalty in an industry that constantly fights dock staff churn.
How you staff your marina is the single most impactful choice you can make in your guest experience. Too often it gets rushed amid the understandably busy day-to-day of running an operation. Investing in this process, bringing on the right people and incentivizing them properly can save you time down the line in turn-over and also act as a magnet for other talent down the line. There's a lot that goes into running a marina, but if you read the comment cards and Marinas.com reviews, you'll quickly notice how much of it hinges on the interactions guests have with your team. Good luck and happy hiring.