Barcelona’s relationship with the sea has influenced its socio-economic growth and urban transformation, with changing values and uses despite strong links between the city and its coast through its port, commerce and fishing activity. The industrial activity that developed the length of its coast in the nineteenth century impacted on town planning, causing changes that modified the relationship of Barcelona’s citizens with the sea, who for many years lived with their backs to the sea.
Even so, the city’s tradition as a pioneer in water sports – with historic entities such as the Real Club Náutico de Barcelona or the Real Club Marítimo, prominent in promoting sailing and rowing – as well as the presence of a fishing and boating district which for years has defined the essence or the Port Vell, reflect the importance of the sea as a defining element of Barcelona. With the passage of time this element has integrated with several industrial, economic and commercial activities, as well as social, cultural and training initiatives. And from the moment Barcelona was opened up to the sea in the early 90’s, its integration with the urban fabric, and the creation of public spaces, has given the city an added value, at the same time driving forward the nautical and maritime sector.
El Port Vell is made up of three different sports harbours: el Real Club Marítimo de Barcelona (with capacity for 241 vessels of up to 20 metres in length); el Real Club Náutico de Barcelona (with capacity for 200 vessels of up to 40 metres in length) and Marina Port Vell, which has capacity for super yachts of up to 180 metres in length.
El Port Olímpic has 740 moorings for vessels of between 7 and 30 metres in length.
El Port Fòrum has capacity for 201 vessels, distributed in two harbours: the inner one for 170 vessels of between 10 and 25 metres in length, and the outer harbour for vessels of up to 80 metres.
Barcelona has the necessary infrastructure to accommodate super yachts, with a draught of depth unique in the Mediterranean, and a strategic position for accommodating vessels, which undertake voyages between the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. The presence of one of the most prestigious, world-class repair and refit shipyards for super yachts represents a key asset in the nautical sector of Barcelona province.
The Costa Barcelona, stretching for more than 100 kilometres, has 24 ports developing a whole range of services, including nautical activities as well as several logistic and industrial areas. Standing out amongst these are the ports of Mataró and Vilanova I la Geltrú, both magnets for nautical activity, less than 40 kilometres from Barcelona.
With a total of 4,000 moorings, the county of the Maresme and its capital, Mataró, have always had an important maritime tradition and a solid business base linked with the maritime sector.
As for the Costa del Garraf, it boasts the third most important port in Catalonia at Vilanova i la Geltrú, ranking between the two top ports in the country, namely those of Barcelona and Tarragona. The Port of Vilanova i la Geltrú has always driven the local economy and social activity and, in the last few years, has seen growth in its supply of services, with complementary approaches for sailing schools and water sports.
The Port of Mataró has more than 1,000 moorings to accommodate vessels from 7 to 30 metres in length. At Vilanova I la Geltrú, the sports harbour has 1,048 moorings for vessels measuring between 6 and 20 metres, and 49 moorings for those with a length of between 25-100 metres.
from the nautical sector are concentrated, with the city of Barcelona alone having 350.
With a population of more than 7.5 million, Catalonia is one of Spain’s main economic and industrial engines, generating 19% of Spanish GDP, and its exports make up approximately 26% of the total for Spain.
The Catalan coast stretches for more than 780 kilometres, with diverse natural conditions and a privileged climate, making Catalonia an ideal country for taking part in nautical activities. If we add to this the importance of the tourist sector in Catalonia, which represents 11% of Catalan GDP and employment for 180,000 people, then it is easy to grasp the potential of the nautical sector.
Catalonia has 44 ports, harbours and marinas dedicated to water sports along the length of its coast. The increase of these facilities has helped consolidate the provision of nautical sports in the country.
In Catalonia there are 1,175 companies related with the nautical sector, of which almost 70% are located in the province of Barcelona, 21% in Gerona and 11% in Tarragona.
The number of moorings in Catalonia has increased in the last two decades and now amounts to more than 30,000, and is forecast to rise to 31,891 in 2015
According to the Ports Plan of Catalonia, the nautical demand is 135 inhabitants per vessel is below the level of other Mediterranean countries such as Italy (71 inhabitants per vessel) or Greece (103 inhabitants per vessel), which therefore opens up prospects for growth, above all taking into account the rise that has taken place in the niche market of vessels for rent.
Vessels for rent represent a new model in the nautical market and a new social trend in recreational sailing enjoyment.
The nautical sector in Catalonia sector generates an economic impact of 84 million euros each year and 996 direct jobs.
This sector’s estimated indirect impact is 9,000 jobs, generating annually almost 400 million euros. In other words, each direct job creates 9 indirect jobs.
The industrial nautical sector is primarily recreational. This sector is very diverse and has various subgroups, although it includes two strictly industrial aspects: boat building and repair and refit, the name used for boat repair, maintenance and refurbishment.
As for the industrial activity of the recreational nautical sector, this brings together 66 companies that have a total annual turnover of 181 million euros and employ 1.852 workers.
According to the Plan de Puertos de Catalunya (Ports Plan of Catalonia), the trend in recent years has been towards the demand for mooring for large vessels, with the intention of having super yachts from countries in the north and east of Europe being able to winter here. This new reality brings with it adaptation of ports and facilities that want to attract this type of vessel.
In Catalonia there are 7 ports with the capacity to accommodate super yachts (more than 24 metres in length): Port Tarraco (Tarragona), Vilanova Gran Marina (Vilanova I la Geltrú); Marina Port Vell (Barcelona); Port Olimpia (Barcelona); Port Forum (Barcelona); Mataró Marina Barcelona (Mataró); Port Roses (Roses).
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