The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries announced on August 17 that the number of leisure ships registered in South Korea increased 17% from a year ago to 15,172 as of December 2015. The number increased by more than 380% compared to 2007. In 2015 alone, 15,059 South Koreans acquired yacht or boat sailing licenses to show a year-on-year growth of 10% or so.
The global marine leisure industry is enjoying a boom these days as well. At present, the number of leisure ships is 29 million worldwide and the market size topped US$50 in as early as 2013, in which North American and European markets accounted for over 85%. China exported more than 170,000 leisure ships in 2013 and the country is expected to reach 25% in market share in 2020.
Nevertheless, marina facilities in South Korea still have a far way to go. A total of 32 marinas are currently available in the country with a total mooring capacity of 2,181 ships, which are equivalent to 23.2% of the estimated demand for 2019. This means only 14.1% of the 15,172 ships can moor at the marinas.
Marina port development in South Korea has picked up some speed since the formation of the current government. In 2013, the government decided to develop the six including the Hupo Port located in Uljin as main marina ports. The other five are Bangameori in Ansan, Woongcheon in Yeosu, Myeongdong in Changwon, Woonchon in Busan and Woemok in Dangjik. At the same time, investment attraction is underway in Deokjeokdo in Incheon, Jinha in Wulju and Gogunsan in Gunsan.
The government’s long-term plan is to develop river marinas by making use of inland waters. It is planning to install river marinas in the Han River, Nakdong River and the like in view of the country’s geographical characteristics.