Magazine names Sarasota’s Marina Jack 2015 Marina of the Year

Facility recognized for investment in its amenities and customer service, along with its community partnerships

Marina Jack is located on Sarasota Bay in downtown Sarasota. File photo
Marina Jack is located on Sarasota Bay in downtown Sarasota. File photo

Marina Jack in Sarasota has been named the 2015 National Marina of the Year by Marina Dock Age magazine, the marina industry’s leading publication, according to a news release from Marina Jack.

“This highly competitive accolade” is awarded annually to one small marina — with fewer than 250 slips — and one large marina — with more than 250 slips — the news release notes. Established in 1968, Marina Jack has 316 wet and dry slips, a full-service fuel dock, a ship’s store and an on-site Yacht Services Department, the release says.

This year’s Small Marina of the Year award went to Harbour Town Yacht Basin, located on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.

The winners are selected on the basis of their “achieving success through exemplary business practices, contributions to the marina industry, commitment to customer service and environmental responsibility,” the release explains.

“This award is truly a testament to not only our ownership, but our staff and customers,” said Sam Chavers, director of marina operations at Marina Jack, in the release.

Marina Jack’s submission data highlighted its partnership between public and private sectors, strong ties in community events, highly experienced staff, industry involvement with boat shows and local brokerage affiliations, development of the city’s first mooring field and its certification as a Clean Marina for the past 12 consecutive years, the release adds. Marina Jack also highlighted its reinvestment within the facility, creating a hospitality-based marina by providing first-class amenities and services to a wide variety of customers, the release continues.

Marina Jack is one of the few marinas on the west coast of Florida with the capacity to accommodate luxury mega-yachts up to 228 feet in length, the release points out.

Marina Dock Age “is the only business-to-business publication serving the U.S. waterfront facilities segment of the marine industry,” the release continues. It provides industry professionals, suppliers and marketers “with clear and practical advice, information, and education,” the release notes.

“What struck me most about Marina Jack was how much it had changed over the last 15 years or so, continuing to evolve when many marinas were struggling with the economy,” said Anna Townshend, editor of Marina Dock Age, in the release. “The marina invested a lot of money in its facilities, but it also listened to its customers and partnered with the City of Sarasota on important projects. The growth and success at Marina Jack over the last 10 years is no surprise when you read about all the marina has done to get there,” she added in the release. “The hard work is important, but each facility needs the right vision. Marina Jack is so tuned into its market and its possibilities, I’m sure the facility will only continue to grow.”

Marina Jack’s owner, Robert L. Soran, and Chavers were accompanied by members of their management team (Annie Wilson, Kathryn Wilson and Joe Catell) when they accepted the award at the inaugural Docks Expo industry conference, which was held in St. Louis, MO, on Dec. 3, the release notes.