Notes from a Marina Berth Holders Q&A session, with Ingrid Fortunato, Manager of Marina de Lagos

Tuesday, 10th March 2015, Spinnakers Bar

Introduction

A number of berth holders met Ingrid for an informal Q&A session to provide feedback on this winter season in Marina de Lagos.

Topics covered during the discussion included Power Supplies, Security, Marina Wifi, Loyalty and Flag Schemes, Sewage incidents, Bridge Operations, Ladies Showers, Pontoons, Washing Machines, Trip Hazards, Emergency Ladders, and the possible use of a room for “non-commercial use”.

Significant positives were noted. For example, the use of the Hotel Spa facilities for Yoga and Line Dancing, the use of the Marina Hotel Bar for music nights and other events, use of Channel 09 for the VHF Net, continuation of the Flag member scheme, and the exceptional friendliness and helpfulness of the marina staff. Consensus was that it was a very good, well run and friendly marina.

Power

This primarily concerned the recent issues on E Pontoon. Following an extensive fault finding exercise, including problems concerning individual boats, and making some trip switch changes to a number of phases, the situation appears to have been resolved and stability of supply was confirmed by several E Pontoon berth holders.

Security

Several berth holders reported that there was a time when security staff’s responsiveness was in doubt, particularly when the power problems were being experienced during the night, but the issue was also raised in the wider context of a major incident, e.g. a boat fire. It was acknowledged that there was time when the Marina’s VHF capability was compromised, but Ingrid will review the use of VHF radios and channels by the Security staff at night with the company providing security, Securitas. All calls to Security are recorded and reported to the Marina Office daily and all Security staff can speak some degree of English. It was suggested that all berth holders could make a note of all the emergency numbers in their mobiles as a precaution, bearing in mind some may be routed to national centres under some circumstances.

The emergency contact details are shown on every gate and all those are direct/local numbers. The emergency telephones located next to each gangway to the gates have 112 (national emergency number), the reception (working hours only), Lagos Fire Brigade, Securitas’ national number.

This is the information displayed on the gates:

EMERGENCY CONTACT DETAILS:

NATIONAL EMERGENCY NUMBER 112*
MARINA GUARD ON DUTY (1st contact in case of emergency) VHF 09+351 919 560 743
FIRE DEPARTMENT +351 282 770 790*
LAGOS PUBLIC HOSPITAL +351 282 770 100*
PRIVATE CLINIC +351 917 811 988 (24 HRS)
MARITIME POLICE +351 916 613 499
POLICE +351 282 762 930

*Direct contact to these bodies is available using the emergency telephones located next to each access ramp.

Marina Wi-Fi

In Spring 2014, the Wi-Fi Internet network was upgraded and now uses fibre optics to distribute 10Mb symmetrical bandwidth, which allows for same speed for both download and upload. Naturally some interference will occur due to all the masts and rigging in the marina so a flawless system cannot, unfortunately, be guaranteed. Ingrid had recently received a complaint from a berth holder on C Pontoon about poor Wi-Fi service, and some berth holders on E Pontoon had also experienced poor service. Many at the meeting indicated they were happy with the service, including those on the pontoons in question, and acknowledged that a shared service was likely to experience problems of capacity and throughput at key times of the day. Several had opted for the various 4G options provided by Mobile Operators. Others were happy with the service though equipment, aerials and software solutions will vary overall performance. Ingrid acknowledged that there were a few weak signal areas around the marina, but ongoing feedback is welcome, and ongoing issues and questions could usefully be discussed at the Computer Users Tuesday sessions. Many recognised that if performance was poor that a number of bars offered an alternative capability.

Flag Membership and Introduction Discounts

The current scheme(s) will continue to June 2015, but a replacement is under consideration and revision which may include loyalty elements. Attracting new customers is important to the marina, but so is encouraging existing clients to regularly return, so a review of options is underway and details will be publicised in due course.

Sewage in the Marina

Of the three incidents this winter, the Camara has acknowledged fault for the first, but despite formal complaints to the police, the cause of the second and third incidents are currently unknown and unresolved, and there are no further developments to report at this time. The use of a floating boom near O Pontoon was briefly discussed as an option to be possibly considered in the future.

Bridge Operations

The recent incident concerning Magic brought Bridge Operations into sharp relief by both the Marina and berth holders. The Marina has proposed slightly revised procedures for berth holders and the Marina staff that should cover most circumstances.

Boats leaving should either call the Bridge and not cast off lines until they are told by the Marina staff that the Bridge is opening, or call the Bridge and wait in the pool behind F Pontoon until contacted on VHF by the Marina staff who will indicate when the bridge is opening. Under some circumstances some skippers are content to stem the tide/wind conditions, but as a general guideline, wait until on the berth or in the pool until the bridge opens. Berth holders should visually confirm the bridge is opening before proceeding, particularly in very windy conditions. Naturally skippers are free to leave their berths before receiving confirmation that the bridge is opening, if they are confident that they will be in control until the bridge is open.

Marina staff understand that every boat is different and will behave differently in challenging conditions, such as strong winds and ebb/flood tides – the channel is narrow and if a boat, or indeed the bridge, experiences difficulties at the last minute, it will be challenging. Marina staff will broadcast when the bridge is actually opening and will hold the bridge open until the calling boat passes, or either party makes a follow up call to establish that the bridge can close. Marina staff will also visually check and count boats passing through the bridge to ensure boats that do not call up yet depart are accounted for. If there is a train due, the Marina staff will communicate an opening time to reflect the train timetable. Consideration will be given to improving the visibility of the flashing yellow light indicating bridge opening. Lessons on all sides have been learnt from the incident, both on the part of the Marina, but also a reminder of the skippers own responsibilities as they know how their boat behaves in a wide range of circumstances. VHF 9 must continue to be monitored after the initial bridge lifting request.

Ladies Showers

Ingrid received an e-mail detailing some issue with the cleaning schedule and facilities within the Ladies Shower. In the Gents it was noted there was a smell of damp wood and that with the larger shower heads, the shower drains seemed unable to cope at times in both Ladies and Gents. The facilities cleaning schedule will be extended as the season progresses to provide cover to 10pm and probably midnight in the summer, but staff coverage is something that has to be managed and the points raised, including the broken hair drier and some loo’s that are difficult to flush, have been noted and the cleaning concerns will be monitored and the drains checked. Given the family situation of the cleaning staff, cleaning before the current start time is highly problematic. The wooden boards in the gents may be replaced in due course. The facilities, including the drains are cleaned each day and the time taken to “clean” the facilities will vary depending on use and of course marina occupancy. “Others”, i.e. bar guests using the facilities was also noted, but is a challenge to manage.

Pontoons

This mainly covered the issue of board replacement – the Marina does not currently have a plan to replace all the boards on a pontoon at the same time. Currently boards will be replaced when reported by clients or the Dock Masters. A large order for new boards is being prepared, but the supplier(s) contacted are having difficulty getting boards of the same width as are currently used – many other marinas use narrower boards. More on this item in due course.

Trip Hazards

It was noted that in several places the “access” covers to marina services, such as water and fibre optic cables, are slightly raised above the surrounding cobbled areas, presenting a possible trip hazard, particularly at night. The marina is investigating whether putting in a “trench” carrying all technical services and providing improved access around the marina, with flush lifting access panels, particularly given the water problems last year, is feasible. More in due course.

Washing machines

The new machine is considered a great asset and a question was raised whether and when existing machines would be replaced. The marina will replace machines when it becomes uneconomic to repair them, though it was acknowledged the timer display on the new machine was a great asset when the laundry is busy, so berth holders had some idea when to re-visit the laundry at busy times.

Room availability

This was raised in the context of having a space where, for example, musicians could rehearse without having to use a “commercial” location or squeezing onto boats! Ingrid will investigate this idea with the hotel, though such spaces are not obvious at this time, other than the exhibition room near J Pontoon, which is where the drawing classes are currently held.

Safety

Feedback was positive on the No Cycling on the pontoons and Dogs on Leads notices, given the safety aspects this raises. A question was posed concerning the safety ladders and whether more were needed, but it was pointed that that the current provision meets standards, guidelines and regulations and installing additional ladders may be counter-productive in terms of access to anyone in the water given berth occupancy, although those currently in place do need mussels removing, which is scheduled for next week. Cycling on pontoons has a big impact on the steadiness of the wooden planks, as it loosens the rivets.

Future Meetings

The meeting closed at 12 noon. Ingrid will join the Tuesday morning Computer Users sessions on a monthly basis so any additional issues may be discussed and updates provided, though this does not mean individual issues can’t be raised on a one to one basis, as is currently the case.

Conclusion

These are notes I made at the meeting and have shared with Ingrid – others attending may have different perspectives and their views should also be sought.

Andrew

Andromeda (E35)