Huge price hike for yacht berths in harbours


YACHTS SEEKING berths in any of the State’s main fishery harbours are facing increased charges of up to 800 per cent under a planned new law.

The Irish Marine Federation has expressed concern about the proposed fee increases, published by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

They apply to the six fishery centres of Killybegs, Co Donegal; Rossaveal, Co Galway; Dingle, Co Kerry; Castletownbere, Co Cork; Dunmore East, Co Waterford; and Howth, Co Dublin.

Only two of the six have pontoons suitable for leisure craft, while Howth Yacht Club’s marina is separate to the fishery harbour.

However, the fee increases will apply across the board, replacing previous charges set by former minister Dermot Ahern in 2003.

The changes include an annual bill for €250 a metre for yachts, compared to a previous levy of 30 cent for each gross registered tonne (GRT) a week for the first seven days and €1 for each GRT after 28 days.

A 10-metre yacht, which paid an average €312 a year for a berth, will be charged up to €2,500 a year under the new terms.

The draft regulations stipulate that water and electricity charges will also be extra; such services are normally included in marina fees. Water costs will be €30 a day where metering is not available.

This would bring the average cost for a 10-metre yacht to €3,100 for the year, without proper marina facilities in most cases. Visiting yachts will be charged an overnight rate of €2.50 a metre, or €10 for a short stay of less than six hours.

Passenger boats with 13 to 99 people will also be hit. They will be charged €46 an entry, or €4,600 a year, payable in advance – even though many of these craft are able to make income for four just months a year. The marine federation is concerned about the impact of the proposed increases on marine leisure development.

Minister for Marine Simon Coveney has allowed just 21 days for comment on the draft Fishery Harbour Centres (Rates and Charges) Order 2012.

Federation chairman David O’Brien said that for every euro spent on a berth in a harbour, €10 was normally spent by yacht owners and crew in local shops and restaurants. “That’s a good tourism dividend for coastal towns, and the IMF would not like to see anything damage that.”