Harbour View Marina, Marsh Harbour, Abaco — a Kudo

We have been involved with marinas for 38 years. We have had generally good experiences and a few memorably bad ones. Our experience with Harbour View Marina has been memorably excellent.

The People. This is a family business involving at least two generations. They are actively involved in the minute to minute operations and maintenance of the property. The dock crew (and the manager/owner wears a dock “CREW” shirt) who aren’t family are treated as if they were. The net result is a high level of engagement in a good customer experience. The family actively seeks feedback.

The Property. The marina is very well and constantly maintained. It reflects the attention and pride of the owners. The heads aren’t just cleaned, they are disinfected. The five heads and showers are air conditioned, vented, and well lit. A key is required — as it is to access the marina from the street after hours. Visitors must pass through the office.

The pool is clean and kept that way. There is a large propane grill available for slip occupants and a seating area for impromptu outdoor dining. The laundry equipment works! The docks are assembled with stainless steel hardware. A few boards rattle, but that’s the marine environment. We never detected a wobble anywhere.

The power towers are well maintained, and we never had a power or cable outage as a result of the marina. Each dock has a ladder for safety and for dealing with the 2-4 foot tides that affect the harbour. The water at the slips is potable.

The slips are generally deeper than the approaches, we only touched on the one day when tides were nearly a foot below mean low water. Moving in and out of the marina just requires paying close attention to the dockmaster’s instructions.

Wally’s Restaurant across the street is reminiscent of Bermuda. Hosted by Eric from Bairritz, France it is part of the HVM complex, and slip holders get a 10% discount by showing their marina key. The food and service are excellent.

For what one receives, the fees here are quite reasonable, and their fee table is explicit. I won’t quote them because things change.

But no place is perfect.

Environmental. All of Marsh Harbour’s south side Marinas are exposed to west and northwest winds which when they blow, blow strongly. HVM is the windward of these. A shoal just west of the marina (remember follow the dockmaster’s instructions) helps moderate the chop/swell that will roll into the marina in these conditions. It is possible to see 1-2 foot chop. If this is a problem for you, ask to be slipped on the east side of the marina where the boats to the west will moderate things. The fetch to the east is protected by two other marinas and a short natural fetch. Notably the south side marinas are closest to the services and shops of Marsh Harbour.

Acoustic. All of Marsh Harbours south side marinas are on the main drag. There is traffic noise. If this is a problem for you, ask to be slipped as far out is reasonable for a boat of your size.

HVM is bracketed by Snappa’s (bar with food) and Mangoes (restaurant with bar). Snappa’s has no qualms about playing loud music well past midnight a couple of nights a week. The musicians are of variable quality, but the bass is consistently cranked to “blow out.” It is a bother all the way into the anchorage. Ask to be slipped as far out on the east side as possible. Mangoes’ entertainment is much more controlled with a very talented musician and an inclination to turn the volume down early.

HVM is the terminus for the shuttle service to Baker’s Bay. Their shuttle boats are exquisitely handled by real professionals. But the boats have bow thrusters which must be used to get in and out of the slips these boats use. The sound travels through air and water. If this is going to bother you, ask to slip to the outer east side.

None of the items mentioned will keep us from returning next year, but we wanted to present a balanced perspective.

Slip #9 with "Uno Mas" beside us.

This is a five star marina in the small to medium size category, and we see no need to look for anything better — we won’t find it.

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