Over three decades ago, ATM recognized a need in the industry and started strategically assembling a full-service marina consulting team with comprehensive experience and expertise in all phases of waterfront and marina consulting/planning, engineering and design. This provides our clients with a strong, experienced in-house team fully versed in all aspects of marina development.

Marina Consulting & Planning                            Marina Engineering                                      Marina Design

Our staff has been involved in more than 700 marina and waterfront planning, consulting, design, and engineering projects worldwide. Our areas of specialization include municipal waterfront revitalization, public and private marina development, and resort marina development.

ATM’s team of marina experts provides solutions to waterfront development challenges, constraints and concerns. We do this by truly studying the opportunity – focusing on engineering solutions, operational efficacy and sustainable economics.

Our professional team has many years of experience working together on unique and challenging waterfront projects supporting private and public clients, both domestically and internationally. We know the ins and outs of the permitting process and have a strong track record of success across the U.S. and overseas. ATM has developed a thorough understanding of what makes marinas successful – they must be planned to satisfy the market, designed for site-specific conditions, and be financially feasible. We support our clients from initial marina planning through marina construction.

Marina Market Analysis

At the beginning of marina planning, several key questions should be answered.

  • What is the current demand for wetslips or drystack racks?
  • How many slips should be built?  What size slips will lease/sell the best?
  • What amenities will optimize our position in the local and regional market?
  • What are the competitive rates, how have they changed over time and where should my facility fit in the market?
  • Finally, what will be my return on investment?

The answers to these questions are uncovered through a focused marina market analysis. ATM applies a formal approach to marina market assessments, adapted to every marina based on the needs and constraints of each individual project. Our extensive experience with marina projects worldwide gives us the insight to develop valuable positioning analyses and verified demand projections. In addition to standard business yardsticks, ATM has developed tools specifically designed for the evaluation of marinas. These tools facilitate the assessment of market demand, existing facility value and potential future performance.

Market position will be used to develop recommendations for rate structures and initial capital investment, while boater trends, cruising circuits and seasonality will drive occupancy and slip absorption. Fully understanding the local and regional marina market and designing the facility accordingly is critical to future facility success.  This applies to resort marina design, lake marina design, coastal marina design, and superyacht marina design.

Marina Due Diligence

Marina due diligence is typically needed when a facility is being considered for purchase, sale or financing. A full investigation into, and understanding of, marina condition and deferred maintenance can (and frequently does) drive the financial terms.

The study includes a comprehensive marina inspection with evaluation of all floating dock systems, fixed pier structures, ancillary support elements, and shoreline stabilization. Priority is given to life and safety concerns and ultimately to deferred maintenance that is categorized by remaining useful life. Historical dredging requirements, exposure to environmental conditions, compliance with regulatory permit conditions and operational financial records are all evaluated. Our engineering due diligence also includes technical evaluation of factors that may affect marine structures such as sea level rise, storm surge, current induced scour, and wave forces.

Our specialized marina due diligence services are used to support comprehensive evaluations for investment, acquisition, lending, or optimization of the marina business. ATM has diverse marina experience in supporting both public and private owners with due diligence investigations. Representative clients include:

  • Atlantic Marina Holdings, LLC
  • Sun Resorts International
  • The Ginn Company
  • North Carolina State Ports Authority
  • E. Capital Real Estate
  • Island Global Yachting
  • D. Holdings, LLC
  • Debis Financial
  • Maricopa Water District
  • Realty Financial Partners
Marina Auditing

With more than 34 years’ experience in marina and waterfront design, engineering, and consulting, ATM can provide a third party/independent review of key physical and operational elements to assist marina owners and management with preparing their facility for the forthcoming boating season or to fine tune their operation for optimized performance.

Our marina consulting services build upon ATM’s vast experience with marinas throughout the world and identify ways to improve the facility’s revenue generation potential, reduce unnecessary expenses, and identify cost-effective improvements that may be warranted at the facility to maximize its attractiveness to potential patrons.

Furthermore, ATM’s Comprehensive Marina Audit typically includes a detailed assessment of historical financial statements, operational procedures, marina market position and competitive environments, marina marketing strategies, and facility conditions. Our team can also develop financial projections for anticipated future scenarios.

Some marina auditing services include:

  • Facility Operations Review
  • Marina Market & Competitive Positioning Assessment
  • Financial Statements Analysis
  • Marketing Strategy Assessment
  • Alternative Scenario Financial Projections (Pro Forma and/or Discounted Cash Flow Analysis)
  • Physical Condition Evaluations & Recommendations
  • Regulatory Permitting Support
  • Security Assessments & Planning
Marina Feasibility Studies

ATM’s integrated marina planning process includes a combination of upland development, marina market evaluations, environmental considerations, marina operations, engineering assessments, and financial planning tools. We have experience developing marina concept plans for a variety of clients, and have worked side-by-side with some of the most renowned international resort planners, as well as municipal planners in consensus-building charrettes. Our feasibility studies have ranged from small public boat access facilities to superyacht destination marinas as well as large public marinas and full-service resort facilities.

Marina physical planning is a key step in our proven methodology, which also includes environmental impact studies, investment documents and engineering design. The outcome is a market-sensitive design that maximizes return on investment while enhancing access to the waterfront in public facilities and promoting sustainability. By addressing these and other issues, ATM’s experience-driven marina designs are economically sound, operationally effective, environmentally acceptable, and well-integrated with other project components.


ATM has a long and proven record of accomplishment conducting environmental permitting and impact studies, including early consideration of environmental data in coastal resort development planning and marina design. Since our inception, we have worked with our clients to improve waterfront improvement designs by merging engineering and environmental studies, which is now identified as best practice for sustainability and coastal resilience.

We are now implementing proactive inclusion of environmental features to enhance the value of waterfront development projects and proposing innovative solutions to owners seeking improved public water access, wider community benefits, as well as social inclusion in tourism marinas. ATM studies sea level rise and coastal storm surge and runup predictions during the early planning stages to inform a sustainable and resilient project. We engage a site’s natural resources to enhance project design, and design living shorelines to provide a more natural buffer and long-term erosion control solutions.

Through our institutional activities, our talented staff are leading the efforts to shape PIANC’s Working with Nature philosophy to marinas and recreational navigation infrastructure. Also, our staff support ULI’s resilience program and the “returns on resilience” initiatives. Our innovative approaches to coastal risk mitigation and sea level rise adaptation follow the general guidelines recommended by ULI.

ATM’s approach is based on working with the environment, optimizing the design, exceeding minimum regulatory requirements to achieve higher project returns.

Marina Financial Analysis & Pro Forma Projection Modeling

One of the more valuable tools in marina planning is ATM’s marina-specific Pro Forma Analysis that predicts income and expenses over time (usually 10 years). Our staff has also developed a simplified “snapshot” tool for marina economic evaluations and quantitative comparisons.

Multiple “what if” scenarios and sensitivity analysis can be quickly evaluated by combining the estimated construction costs, rate structure, occupancy projections, income opportunities and the costs of doing business into a single numerical tool. This also allows for the formal quantitative analysis of alternatives, as a planning tool for layout and phasing optimization.

ATM’s financial analysis, along with market studies and comprehensive feasibility reports, have been used by lenders, bond issuers, investors, potential buyers, and joint venture partners in their decision-making for marina projects worldwide.

Marina Engineering Studies & Design

ATM’s extensive working knowledge of coastal environments and practical engineering experience gives us a unique understanding of the site-specific needs of coastal structures and their effect on natural systems. We use the most advanced analytical and numerical engineering tools for engineering design that conforms to the highest standards.

ATM’s marina and waterfront engineering design services include the following elements:

  • Fixed piers and docks
  • Floating docks
  • Shoreline stabilization: seawalls, bulkheads, revetments, living shorelines
  • Breakwaters and wave attenuators: rubble mound breakwaters, wave screens and walls, floating wave attenuators
  • Boat ramps and access structures
  • Kayak and canoe launches and docks
  • Mooring fields
  • Dredging and land reclamation
  • Dry stack storage facilities

Our in-house numerical modeling capabilities of coastal processes, hydraulics, and water quality allow us to optimize the design process. In addition, our experience in environmental sciences and marina planning provides valuable insight for a comprehensive marina design and sets us apart from other firms that only specialize in a single service area (engineering, permitting, operations, ports, etc.).

Marina Environmental Assessments & Permitting

ATM staff has used a variety of technical tools to assess environmental impacts, avoid and minimize impacts to sensitive resources, and demonstrate effectiveness of mitigation plans to the satisfaction of permitting authorities throughout the world. Our experts understand the technical, environmental, legal, and public awareness issues involved in marina projects and have specific experience working within sensitive environments.

Our professionals have helped numerous clients address the environmental and regulatory challenges facing their waterfront projects and have effectively negotiated federal, state and local permits across the U.S. Working with over half of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineering Districts and over 20 state regulatory agencies provides us a wealth of experience navigating the permitting processes.

We have also advised clients on the best approach to environmental impact analysis and permitting requirements for international projects. This includes many successful environmental impact studies, public hearing representation and negotiation with planning and regulatory bodies.

Marina Grant Funding

In today’s economic climate, securing funding for marina projects has become increasingly difficult. It is more important than ever to consider and evaluate all funding sources available, particularly grant funding. ATM maintains contacts throughout the marine industry and routinely works with clients to identify potential sources of grant funding assistance for marine projects.

In recent years, ATM has helped its marina development clients receive more than $22 million in grant funding assistance to facilitate marina and waterfront projects. This has ranged from procurement of large grants for marina projects to funding for pumpouts and boat ramp improvements. ATM staff pursues funding opportunities from a variety of state, regional and local sources, as well as federal programs that include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Clean Vessel Act and Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) programs.

Marina Bidding & Contract Administration

Since 2004, ATM’s professionals have assisted our clients with approximately $300 million dollars in marina construction. Detailed marina construction planning/phasing, demolition planning, consideration of ongoing marina operations, project bidding, construction contract negotiation, observations of marine construction work in progress, pay request approvals, change order management, and contractor coordination are all services performed by ATM staff.  We have experience in both marina design-bid-build and marina design-build projects. The method of procurement for the construction is tailored to our client’s needs.

Our marina bid documents have been used for projects in the U.S. and worldwide for the selection of marine contractors and suppliers of marina docks and marina utilities. A carefully balanced approach allows maximum participation of all suppliers who meet project needs, with clear rules that encourage fair competition. Our specification packages have been fine-tuned since 1993. They protect our clients and ensure the project is built as desired, intended and designed.

Post-Storm Recovery Assistance

ATM has successfully completed storm recovery, erosion control, and beach restoration projects worldwide. Domestically, this includes considerable experience with both federal and non-federal projects in South Carolina, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.

We are available to help with the following services:

  • Post-storm damage inspections for docks, seawalls, marinas, etc. (including structural, utilities, environmental, and operational)
  • Underwater damage inspections of submerged structures
  • Emergency permit application assistance for reconstruction of waterfront structures, including docks, bulkheads, seawalls, revetments, piers, groins, and geotextile structures
  • Cost estimates for repair/reconstruction work for FEMA and other emergency funds
  • Recommendations and design for new structures to avoid future damage
  • Post-storm damage bathymetric surveys for navigation purposes

Schedules are often compressed during a recovery effort, and ATM has experience responding to critical schedule requirements in permitting, design and construction phases. ATM has provided fast-track design and construction-phase services for emergency beach and dune construction following Hurricanes Hugo, Frances, Jeanne and Rita, Tropical Storms Hannah and Isaac, and coastal engineering and marina damage inspections following Hurricanes Matthew and Irma in the U.S. and Caribbean.

Contact Our Team

W. Sam Phlegar, MS, PE

President, Principal Engineer


Contact Our Team

Timothy P. Mason, ME, PE

Principal - Waterfront Engineering