Marinas have intrinsic value beyond their basic function to berth, launch, or repair boats. Marina are place makers; centres of civic activity where people are attracted to and engaged with the water’s edge. They are also stimulus for economic activity by creating synergies between commercial enterprises, retail, restaurant and hospitality establishments, and residential living that support the local community and visitors alike. Marinas are also good stewards of the environment, with designs that harmonise with their physical surroundings and operations that employ sustainable practices and innovative technologies to preserve and enhance the air and water. The Recreational Navigation Commission (RecCom) of PIANC acknowledges the important role marinas provide to the vibrancy of the waterways and waterfront through the establishment of an award that showcases marinas exemplifying excellence in planning, design, and operations of modern recreational boating facilities; the Marina Excellence Design ‘Jack Nichol’ Award.
This award was established by RecCom in 2002 in memory of the late John M. ‘Jack’ Nichol, a U.S. Delegate and Honorary Member of PIANC and well-known waterfront and marina engineer. The ocean had called to Jack from an early age, after graduation from Oregon State and Delft University of Technology, Jack served the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers through the mid-1950’s, working on a coastal and waterfront project along the west coast of the United States. Jack joined Moffatt & Nichol in the early 1960’s as sustainable waterfront and marina design was in its infancy. With his colleagues at Moffatt & Nichol, Jack provided technical guidance and advice in the development of publications such as Special Report No.2 – ‘Small-Craft Harbour: Design, Construction, and Operations’ prepared for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as well as the design of major marina projects including the ever popular Huntington Harbour, Alamitos Bay, Long Beach Downtown and Marina Del Ray in Southern California. After retirement, he served on the Marine Advisory Commission for the City of Long Beach. Jack was often heard to advise the junior coastal engineers under his watch, “It’s not what happens in life, it’s how you react to it.”
Since 2003, the Marina Excellence Design ‘Jack Nichol’ Award has been made annually to a marina facility that exemplifies excellence of design based on functionality, aesthetics, and environmental sustainability. These winning marinas met the qualifying criteria; which required the facility to be open to the public and be in operation for a minimum 2 years but not older than 15 years in age. This publication reviews the first 10 winners of the Award, highlighting features or elements of the marina that provide boaters a protected harbour with well-designed infrastructure, a full suite of available and convenient amenities, while preserving or enhancing the social and environmental setting of its location.