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Panama: Marine Scene Marina – New Mega Facility in the Planning

By Sue Richards last modified May 04, 2011 08:53 AM

Published: 2011-05-04 08:53:03
Countries: Panama

Visiting Cruisers often bypass Panama, or get out of there as quickly as possible once through the Canal, because of the lack of support available to them. There are few options to anchor near Panama city, almost no available marina berths anywhere, no appropriate chandlery facility, no modern structural repair facility, no sailmaker, no rigger and infamously poor service in this sector. The industry is spread around a city that no foreigner can navigate and there is no doubt that a marine precinct is long overdue.

Enter Marina Scene Panama Ltd., run by Mike Barker and Richard Zaleski, who provide services to the cruising community including rigging, electrical, hydraulic and refrigeration services to a New Zealand standard. Says Mike, “It does not surprise me that most cruisers do not choose to stay in Panama, despite its great beauty as a tour destination, as the service to them is execrable. I had visited many times over the years as a ship's captain and yacht and ship delivery man and experienced disappointment on a scale not appropriate to Panama's position as the center of the sailing world, so made the decision some years back to stay and do something about it.“.

Marine Scene’s long term goal is to create a state-of-the-art facility that will put Panama on the world cruising and world yachting events map.

The solution is to construct a proper, full service marine facility, Panama's first, at Vera Cruz, near the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal near the Bridge of the Americas.

The intended marina will incorporate the following features:
- 990 yacht slips from 10m to 25m;
- 35 superyacht slips from 30m to 140m;
- 2 drystack buildings, each for 300 powerboats to 38'
- Hardstanding for 5,500 vessels moved on 2 travellifts up to 150 tonne capacity;
- A specialist multihull slipway;
- A large sailmaking loft (There is no other between USA and Venezuela)
- A boatbuilding facility capable of building vessels up to 16m wide and able to build or repair in high tech composite, traditional woods,steel, aluminium and fibreglass;
- All marine electrical, engineering, mechanical and rigging trades on site;
- Victualling and bunkering facilities appropriate to yacht owners and charter operators;
- World class chandlery;
- Clean environmentally responsible management, operation and processes;
- An assembly point and infrastructure for large sailing and sporting events;
- Educational facilities to bring all up to an appropriately high standard of skill and service;
- A cruise liner docking facility.

The project is expected to commence this year and be completed over 30 months.

Panama has an excellent climate with no hurricane history, superb geographical position, seismic stability, a US dollar economy with advantageous pricing structure, and political stability. Add to these features a friendly population, a multitude of natural attractions, the Canal and the fact that recent hurricane events elsewhere compel thousands of yachtsmen to seek newer, safer havens and perhaps you’ll be asking yourself in the future "Why not Panama?"

Marine Scene recommends that cruisers planning to have work done in Panama contact them in the first instance to discover what services are available to them and where to go to source their needs. Mike explains, “we have been here long enough (me 6 years, my business partner 21 years, our kiwi associate 31 years etc.) to sort out the ripoffs and the incompetent from those intending real service. We've been in their position and are happy to help out without feeling the need to charge for our every utterance, as is often the case locally”.

Contact Mike Barker
Tel: (+507) 67276722