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What's happening at Jachthaven Biesbosch this season?

Watersport on the decline? Not in the port of Drimmelen

Progress At JHB Jan 2020 BN Destem News

21 January 2020

As a team we are proud of this fun and positive article that appeared today in BN De Stem.

 

WATER SERIES | Water in all its forms is an essential part of our lives. In five stories the newspaper BN DeStem examines different aspects of this primary necessity of life. This story: water recreation.

 

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Source: BN De Stem | © BN De Stem - Henk van Ingen 21-01-20 - News

Photo: Marina Manager, Renate Ilmer: “We hope to have waiting lists soon.” | © Foto: Pix4Profs/Joyce van Belkom

 

There is a strong wind that drives the drizzle rain ahead and makes it feel water cold despite the 10 degrees this January morning. Boats rock back and forth in the water, and every now and then a car drives over the large terrain that surrounds the marina at Jachthaven Biesbosch.

A greater contrast with the enormous activity that usually prevails here during a beautiful summer’s day is hard to imagine. The marina office with its bright red roof serves as a beacon for every visitor and is clearly visible from afar.

“When I started here almost seven years ago, the occupancy rate was around 60 percent, now we're at 96 percent. We aim for 100 percent and hope to have waiting lists in the future.” said Renate Ilmer, Marina Manager

Renate Ilmer is in charge of the team that consists of 18 employees during the recreational season, from 1 April to 31 October.

Gateway

We climb the stairs together and arrive at the top floor of the office from which you have a nice overview on two sides of the largest inland marina in Western Europe that can accommodate 1400 boats. Here is the gateway to the Biesbosch where you can spend hours relaxing on various watercourses. During the season, the port is open 7 days a week and employees speak to people from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Hundreds of thousands of people settle here every year.

“The canal gulls of the Zilvermeeuw alone have 100,000 visitors every year. We have around 2000 visitors who berth their boat for one or more days. But the three boat rental companies are also doing good business, "said Ilmer.

Photo: The headland at the marina in Drimmelen on which holiday homes may be built.
© Pix4Profs / Joyce van Belkom

Until 2013, the marina was in the hands of the municipality. They had ambitious plans. Huge amounts of recreational homes and tower blocks would be added to the port. But the housing crises hit hard and the shortages were quickly increasing. Moreover, the port itself was not working well and the municipality saw no other way out than to sell. And they sold the whole site in 2013 to the current owner, Yacht Havens Group from Great Britain.

Ilmer: "When I started here almost seven years ago, the occupancy rate was around 60 percent, now we are at 96 percent. We are aiming for 100 percent and hope to have waiting lists in the future. Although there will always be room for passers-by. “

Boat owners

In recent years, more and more reports have appeared that show that water sports are on the decline and boat owners are increasingly aging. In Drimmelen, they are not seeing this. On the contrary, they still see the port continue to grow.

A great deal has been invested to achieve that growth. In good sanitary facilities, but also in other facilities. There is, for example, an indoor playground, a kids' club and a large outdoor playground with BBQ facilities where recreational homes and residential towers were once provided.

Floor area

"The outdoor playground is very popular. Schools from the wider area like to come here for a day and also our regular customers and visitors like to use it."

There are various restaurants and eateries in the port area, which, according to the marina manager, also significantly contribute to the growth of the port. She therefore regards it as a joint achievement of all the entrepreneurs involved. What she sees as a huge improvement is the Spar supermarket that was built last year with a floor space of no less than 400 square meters.

The touring boats of the Zilvermeeuw alone have 100,000 visitors each year. We have around 2000 visitors who berth their boat for one or more days.

"People wanted to stay here for several days in the past, but often had to cycle to Made to do their shopping. That turned out to be a real obstacle. Now there is a huge supermarket and it really makes the difference. We are very happy with the entrepreneur who has taken this step. This is also very important for the residents of the village. "

For a few years now, campers have also been able to visit the site that has set aside 18 places for this. They register at a booth, check in and out there and have access to their own sanitary building.

"Many motor home owners are former boat owners. They like to stay here for a few days. Actually, there is much more demand for places than there is space. But we are basically a port and are sticking to this number of places for the time being."

Seasonal

Water sports is primarily a seasonal activity. But Jachthaven Biesbosch wants to change that and actually run 365 days a year. One of the entrepreneurs is installing hotel rooms while there is also a B&B in the harbour.

The port itself has plans for the construction of 15 luxury recreational homes on the Amer land tongue.

“We are still in the design phase, so I can't tell much about it yet. But they are recreational houses in the more luxury sector. You have to think of amounts of between six and seven tons. "

Stew evening

Despite the massive nature of the port, the port team is doing everything it can to keep the service as personal as possible. That is reflected in the extended opening times during the season, but also in all kinds of parties that are held. There will be a stew evening later this month for the annual berth holders. Pontoon drinks are held per cluster of berths and there is an annual themed party at the start of the season. The costs of this are largely coughed up by the port.

 

Bron: BN DeStem | © BN De Stem - Henk van Ingen 21-01-20 - Nieuws