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Financial assessment

Configuring the layout of your water space to optimise mooring income is a critical step. Turning and manoeuvring circles and access routes to the entrance and facilities need to be carefully planned.

The viability of the project will be very sensitive to the number of berths you can accommodate so it is worth spending time making sure you get this right. A pontoon supplier may be willing to provide an early indicative layout and basic costs.

Estimating annual income

Once you have an indication of the potential mooring capacity of the site it is fairly simple to estimate the potential gross income from moorings.

  • Set the mooring rate: you need to research local mooring rates to determine the rate per metre you could charge. Refer to the New marinas - Getting Started page for more guidance on assessing potential revenue and viability. You may set different rates for different types of moorings at the site.
  • Determine the occupancy: calculate the gross mooring capacity in metres and make allowances for occupancy rates and voids. The average length of boat on our network is 13m, but this varies regionally. If you're close to a river navigation, you're likely to attract an above average proportion of cruisers compared to narrowboats, and cruiser lengths are generally shorter. If you require specific average craft lengths for the waterway on which your marina will be located, please contact us.
  • Multiply the rate by the occupancy to produce a gross income figure. Mooring fees are subject to VAT.

Estimating annual costs

You will need to develop realistic annual running costs, such as staff costs, annual and periodic maintenance, utility costs, insurance, rates, etc. You will also need a network access agreement with us to connect your marina or mooring basin to our network. The annual payment for this is currently calculated at 9% of the gross revenue potential, based on the site's agreed mooring capacity. More information on this agreement can be found on the Our Application Process - Legal Agreements page.

Development costs and viability

The scale of the development and the attributes of the site will obviously determine the cost of the scheme. The cost of fees, studies, etc are usually at least an additional 20-30% of the cost of the scheme. Larger schemes and marinas which include other income producing activities such as boat sales, repairs, hire boats, retail sales and cafes will require more sophisticated financial models.

If you can calculate the indicative gross development cost, comparing this with projected income will give an early indication of viability. Prospective marina developers should undertake their own research into the viability of their proposal and should take professional advice to determine the suitability of a site, likely development costs and the likelihood of securing planning consent. Be aware however that these will vary substantially according to local conditions, so you should not proceed without your own local research.


Your scheme may be eligible for certain grants, depending on its location, site conditions, method of construction and what you are aiming to develop. Criteria will apply and grants are always subject to funds available. The Local Authority may have a grants/regeneration/small business advisor who should be able to advise you.

In rural areas the government has grant schemes aimed at helping farmers adapt to changing markets and develop new business opportunities. See links below for more details. It is also worth checking with other regeneration agencies.


Scotland and Wales

Last Edited: 11 June 2024

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