TransEurope managers join PIANC working groups


This year TransEurope Marinas members took a group decision to join PIANC, The World Association for Waterborne Navigation Infrastructure and one of our industry’s most venerable institutions, established well over a century ago. The reason was two-fold: partly for the network to be able to consult an ample library of papers produced to provide technical guidance on a great range of design and development matters, and partly to contribute specialised knowledge from managers and owners, many of whom have various decades of experience in the marina industry.

PIANC has 4 technical commissions (InCom, MarCom, EnviCom & RecCom), the latter Recreational Commission dedicated to marina and recreational navigation infrastructure. Through technical documents (Working Group Reports), conferences, awards, and training, RecCom aims to to provide practical guidance for marina design to consultants, developers, owners, and operators. Working Groups are created after a topic is proposed in a Technical Commission after which Terms of Reference are drafted, defining the goals and means. These are then approved by the Executive Committee of PIANC. The Working Group is constituted from nominations of PIANC members by National Sections and by invited experts; their goal is to produce a report and supporting material, after which they are dissolved.

Topics for Working Groups can range from the application of the wider “Working with Nature” philosophy proposed by PIANC, that promotes an approach for marinas to positively contribute to – rather than subtract from – the existing natural and social dynamic, to typical issues concerning marina equipment or the impending need to start planning for the necessary infrastructure and services for alternative fuel propulsion systems.

So far five TransEurope Marinas members from Nieuwpoort in Belgium, Baltic Sea Resort in Germany and Jachthaven Waterland in the Netherlands have signed up to take part in working groups, the specific topics of which include guidelines for pump-out systems, recreational boating slipways and floating breakwaters. In some cases, technical guidelines already exist, but as needs change, marinas seek to become more accessible, more is known about the impact of contamination, and the risks and consequences of severe weather events play an ever-greater role in planning, updates and redevelopment solutions are required.

It has long been clear that disinterested collaboration is essential, eschewing commercial interests and allowing an aligned group to broaden, advance and share their specialised knowledge in accordance with certain values. Those beliefs today embrace our recognised obligation to attend to matters such as climate change mitigation and the current and future impact on surrounding natural and social capital.

Chairman of RecCom, US East Coast-based Esteban Biondi, is well-known amongst the international marina circuit and a recognised advocate for sustainable design. He encourages an inclusive approach and is insistent on the need for working groups to address the transportability of their ideas and their efficacy in areas with fewer resources:

We want PIANC documents to be useful and relevant everywhere in the world, so we seek participation in the Working Groups by industry professionals from different backgrounds and all geographies.

In line with principles held by PIANC, Working Groups’ objectives need to extend beyond the more localised needs. To achieve this aim, when an idea for a new Working Group is presented, we request that the proposer completes a “Terms of Reference”, which motivates topic promoters to consider matters such as: how does this comply with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals; how might it serve to benefit projects in less resilient Small Island Developing States (SIDS) or other countries with a high level of economic vulnerability?

PIANC’s most fundamental objective is to facilitate a collaborative and productive framework, around which to structure and develop pertinent technical issues and develop corresponding guidelines.

Members of working groups are selected based on their competences and capacity to contribute favourably to a report:

For reports to be useful, sometimes it is critical to have members that can identify the pertinent questions. We must also bear in mind that recreational boating has evolved in different ways in different parts of the world and creative solutions may already exist in places sometimes overlooked.

The role of the elected WG Chairperson is to stimulate and shape productive discussion; help engender creative ideas, and, in time, the rendering of effective content that fulfils the project’s objectives. The general aim is to produce a final draft within a two-year timeframe.

TransEurope Marinas members can consult existing technical papers produced by PIANC in the members-only section of the website.  With thanks to members who have volunteered their time and expertise, we all look forward to reading the final results.

Besides the Working Groups, PIANC RecCom manages the “Marina Excellence in Design ‘Jack Nichol’ Award” (MEDA), has a Marina Design Training Programme and promotes shared activities between PIANC and marina industry organisations.

Find out more about PIANC in their website: