Plans floated for Glasgow marina

19 Jul 2009

by Tom Gordon, Sunday Herald

It may not have the cachet of Monaco or Cowes just yet, but Glasgow is to have its own marina as part of plans to rejuvenate the Clyde. Scottish Enterprise, the national regeneration and jobs agency, will this week outline plans for a 300-berth dock next to Glasgow Science Centre on the south bank of the river.

Developers are being asked to help turn the five-hectare canting basin at the old Prince's Dock into a hub of maritime activity.

Scottish Enterprise is open to suggestions for floating restaurants or offices, and "island" sites for hotels and house boats. The basin, built to enable ships to turn, is one of the last free areas of open water on the riverside, now that most of the former docks have been filled.

advertisementThe basin is already used by a commercial seaplane operator, and hotels and restaurants are being developed nearby as part of the digital media quarter at the new BBC Scotland HQ.

However, apart from the annual river festival, it is largely devoid of boats. Around 5000 yachts and motor cruisers are based on the Firth of Clyde, but only 2% ever venture upriver.

But a recent survey found 90% of local boat owners would consider using the river if secure facilities were available.

Plans for the canting basin include 300 pontoon berths with powerpoints, water and waste facilities, a club house restaurant and shops. There would be no boatyard, though, for serious repairs.

One option being considered is for Glasgow to become a satellite operation of a larger marina operator, such as Largs, which has 700 berths, or Inverkip, which has 620. Derek McCrindle, director of the Clyde Waterfront project for Scottish Enterprise, said most infrastructure was already in place and the main thing required from developers would be new pontoons costing less than £500,000.

With the right proposal, he said the basin could be a functioning marina by next summer. "The canting basin is a big chunk of water. We would expect motor cruisers up to 35 feet," McCrindle said. "The only wee boat out there now is the rubbish vessel that chugs up and down."

He said the agency was not interested in developing the marina itself, as that would mean state-funded competition for private operators downriver.

"This is about bringing life into the Pacific Quay area. We want something that combines the sea planes, berthing for motor cruisers and maybe floating restaurants and offices. The canting basin is big enough to accommodate a range of uses," he said.

"At the moment it only comes alive with the river festival. At other times of the year it's dead. It would be brilliant to have this in place for the 2014 Commonwealth Games."

Howard Morrison, Commodore of Clyde Cruising Club, said the canting basin was "snug and protected" and could attract long-term residents as well as visiting tourists. "I can see it being attractive to tourists, who might otherwise stay at Kip or Larges or Rhu," Morrison said.

Opened in 1897, Prince's Dock was once one of the busiest quaysides in the city, with warehouses, cranes, coal hoists and a maze of railway sidings to help load and unload shipping.

produced with the permission of the Herald & Times Group.


  • Yachts in the Canting Basin at Pacific Quay's Digital Media Quarter

Case studies
  • Canting Basin