A bright future for marina projects in Poland

“Initially, I had no intention of working with pontoons. As a trained mechanic, I enjoyed travelling and working worldwide. My father, a well-known hydro technician, spent 45 years in canal and reservoir embankments and harbour construction. Later, he started his own small business, Marine System, collaborating with SF Marina to build Marina Gdańsk on the Motława River, and the yacht harbour in Łeba, nearly three decades ago. Concerned that I might relocate like my brother, who settled in Canada, my father persuaded me to join the family business in 1996,” says Piotr.

“The idea remains the same: working with SF Marina to combine Swedish and Polish expertise to meet client needs. Teaming up with local consultants like Wuprohyd, Ingeo, and Projmors, alongside esteemed Polish contractors, we offer turnkey solutions from conceptualisation to fully operational marinas, complete with warranties, quality assurances, and safety certifications.”

Poland’s 500-kilometre coastline along the Baltic Sea, stretching from Pomerania Bay in the west to the Gulf of Gdańsk in the east, boasts sandy beaches and cliffs, yet lacks natural harbours. Despite this, the coast is home to five major seaports and 16 marinas, with several sited along major rivers easily accessible from the sea.

“Poland has a vibrant sailing culture with numerous clubs producing top-class sailors,” adds Piotr. “Gdynia, on the western shore of the Gulf of Gdańsk, often called the sailing capital of Poland, and Mikołaki in the Masurian Lake District of the northeast should not be overlooked.”.

The latter district comprises over 2,000 postglacial lakes, with numerous marinas. The largest lake, Śniardwy, at 114 square kilometres, dwarfs even Lake Superior in North America. Many lakes connect via canals developed in the late 1760s and 1850s, making it possible to sail for days surrounded by lush greenery.

“Poland also has a significant number of artificial lakes and navigable rivers, and there are political initiatives to connect inland waterways with those of surrounding countries,” says Piotr. “Developing a marina on a lake is challenging, as they freeze over in winter, and the ice moves around. Water levels on artificial lakes like Lake Solina, with its great depth of up to 38 metres, and the Dobczyce Dam, where we have installed pontoons, can fluctuate by up to 6.5 metres,” he explains.

To boost tourism in Poland, new marinas are being constructed or planned, co-funded by the EU Regional Development Fund or the Norwegian Financial Mechanism Norway Grants. Some of these marinas are situated along the coast, such as the 98-berth facility in Puck, north of Gdynia, the National Sailing Centre Górki Zachodni, and the new marina in Gdańsk, while others are on lakes or along rivers like the Noteć and Motława. The decision to develop marinas is strategic. Poland ranks second globally in producing boats under 40 feet, turning out approximately 24,000 boats annually. Both France’s Groupe Beneteau and USA’s Brunswick Group have large production facilities in the country.

“Even though 90–95 per cent of the boat production is exported, there is growing local demand, for 3,000–6,000 additional berths,” says Piotr. “Many marinas are looking to expand or upgrade their facilities. We recently extended the AKM Academic Yacht Club in Gdańsk by 150 berths and upgraded Marina Krynica Morska on the Vistula Lagoon, both municipality-owned. In fact, most marinas in Poland are owned by municipalities, and projects are won or lost through local tenders”.

Despite government efforts to reduce red tape, bureaucratic procedures can still be time-consuming and intricate. “Typically, it takes around 3.5 years from first contact to signing the contract. Personal relationships are crucial.”

SF Marina Poland recently supplied a pontoon to Energylandia, a large amusement park in Zator, for their western camp resort. “The park offers overnight stays in houseboats on a pond and wanted a floating restaurant for 150 guests. This project opened my interest in purpose-built floating homes”, says Piotr. “Imagine the potential for constructing floating homes on Poland’s lakes using SF Marina’s concrete pontoons” – this vision from the man who initially had no intention of working with pontoons!

Piotr Różański, Poland

Bruket Brygge, Norway

Krynica Morska Port

AKM Academic Yacht Club Gdańsk