In 1981, after 89 years of commercial operation, the Port of Preston closed. The town of Preston was faced with the question of what to do with a 40 acre basin of water just outside of the town centre. It did not take long before the idea of redeveloping the docklands area into a leisure/retail and residential centre emerged, with a marina at its heart.
It was never going to be easy – 16 miles up river from the sea could hardly be argued to be the ideal location to start a marina. Many prominent figures from the worlds of yachting and business looked at and then shied away from the idea, but one Preston based yachtsman, whose small road transport business had regularly worked from the Port thought that although Preston will never be an ideal cruising ground, perhaps with a lot of hard work and some creative and diverse thinking Preston Marina might be a useful winter base for boat owners from the North West of England, and so formed a Company.
In 1985, before the surrounding land was re-developed, a “trial version” of Preston Marina was opened, initially with only 6 swinging moorings in the dock basin and not much else around – but gradually boats started to come – and indeed found us to be the useful winter or laying-up base that was at the heart of the concept.
A lot has happened since 1985….with fully serviced pontoon berths, boatyard, chandlery and lifestyle shop and a very popular water-side coffee shop (all of which opened in April 1990), Preston Marina has become a hub of Lancashire’s small but vibrant boating community as well as the jewel in the crown of the City (since 2002) of Preston’s Riversway Docklands.