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Nanny Cay Marina; The BVI´s leading marina resort and boatyard


Since its purchase from receivers in 2000, Nanny Cay Marina has gone from strength to strength, establishing itself as the BVI´s leading marina resort and boatyard. Careful investment in utilities and infrastructure have reaped rewards and the facility now runs at close to capacity year-round accommodating over 600 boats on and off the water.

Nanny Cay´s stewardship of the property has not only created a popular tourist destination but a thriving marine center and important economic driver.  Through the 38 marine service businesses now based at Nanny Cay, over 170 people are directly employed in wide-ranging professions including shipwrights, fiberglass and Awlgrip experts; yacht fitting; technical, electrical and mechanical marine engineering services; yacht surveying; rigging; sailmaking; yacht sales; yacht charter and management.

Through its marina, boatyard, restaurants and bars, chandlery, and Tradewinds for inflatable dinghies and outboards, 110 people are directly employed by Nanny Cay.

¨We have worked hard to build a facility that provides everything a boat owner could want or need,” said Miles Sutherland-Pilch, General Manager of Nanny Cay.  “In doing so we have provided an environment that has allowed many smaller locally owned businesses to develop and flourish.  We´re proud of that.”

To ensure a steady stream of new entrants into the marine industry with a good grounding in the business, Nanny Cay is working with the H Lavity Stoutt Community College to provide the City & Guilds Level 2 Certificate in Marine Construction, Systems Engineering & Maintenance courses.  This certification comprises four 15-week modules which can be completed on a part-time basis: Introduction to the Marine Industry; Marine Engineering Processes & Principals; Servicing & Maintenance of Marine Engines; Principles of Marine Electronics.

The course has been developed to attract BVIslanders into the marine industry by introducing them to the many vocational opportunities that are available, and the skills required to enter the industry. Many of the modules are taught by industry experts based at Nanny Cay, and Nanny Cay provides the classroom.

The passing of Hurricane Irma created quite a blip in the forward momentum of the business but also created an opportunity to strengthen and further improve the infrastructure in the rebuild.

The aftermath of Irma also highlighted the importance of having financially and infrastructurally resilient businesses in the BVI boating industry to ensure the impacts of such storms are in fact just ¨blips¨.

Nanny Cay was severely damaged but prompt and decisive action by the management team, Nanny Cay´s group of investors, and the self-sufficient marine industry tenants meant that the recovery process started as soon as the hurricane had passed.

Over the past year, Nanny Cay has made great strides in restoring its facilities and communicating that fact to the rest of the world.

It has also been a learning experience.  The passing of category 5 Irma highlighted unforeseen issues, but these are being addressed.

Nanny Cay has two 750kva backup generators, both were water- and leaf-logged after Irma and temporarily inoperable; a third 750kva generator has been purchased and will be containerized ready for emergency deployment as necessary.

A 1000-gallon fuel bowser has been purchased to provide better fuel portability throughout the property if required.

All Nanny Cay´s wiring  – electrical and fiber-optic for data transfer – is underground, but transformers were knocked over and damaged by boats which required a complete power shutdown to repair.

To ensure maximum electrical up-time in the future, Nanny Cay is installing a ring main electrical power distribution system – an electrical spider web – where the network of distributors is fed by more than one feeder. If one feeder is faulty or under maintenance, the ring distributor is still energized by other feeders. Additionally, the ring main system also has multiple isolation points. If a fault occurs on any section of the ring, that zone´s transformer can easily be isolated to allow repair without the need for a complete shutdown of power.

The 50,000 gallons per day reverse osmosis water plant was damaged during Irma and was inoperable for almost a week; a second 25,000 gallon per day plant has been bought, and that too is containerized.  Two 50,000 gallon water storage tanks will replace the existing 80,000-gallon tank splitting water storage between the two for additional safety.

The cell tower installed at Nanny Cay is now rated to 220-mph winds, and a C.O.W – Cell On Wheels – is stored on the property – a C.O.W is a mobile cell site that includes a tower and transceiver as well as all other necessary equipment, on a trailer or truck.

All major software systems are based in the cloud, and internet access, through fiber-optic cabling and wifi mesh networks is provided by two different telecoms companies.

Concluding, Miles said: “We were hit hard by Irma, but we have used it as a learning experience and an opportunity to improve a number of areas.   Obviously, it’s important for us to suffer minimal downtime, but we also have a responsibility to our tenants too to ensure that they can get up and running, and earning money, as soon as possible too.”

Written by Alastair Abrehart