Havasu Rivera Marina had a successful first summer with visitors to the new facility steadily increasing from its opening just before Memorial Day through the unofficial end of peak boating season over Labor Day weekend.
Lake Havasu’s newest marina officially opened to the public a couple days before Memorial Day weekend, but it was a “soft opening” with just the six-lane launch ramp, parking, courtesy docks and restrooms with showers available for the first month or so. But the Riviera’s list of amenities has grown throughout the summer along with the number of guests visiting. Mychal Gordon, CEO of Desert Land Group which operates the marina, said it has been rewarding to see people coming to Havasu Riviera for the first time this summer after years of planning, complications and setbacks have delayed the marina’s development.
“As people became aware that we were open and as they checked out the facility for the first time, the comments have been extremely positive,” Gordon said. “For us – after all the years of entitlements, construction and getting to where we are at – to finally open and see all the positive comments on the boat forums, in the paper and on social media it was just an extremely happy and positive experience.”
Although the boat launch was opened in May, construction continued at Havasu Rivera throughout the summer. Gordon said they happened to reach a milestone just before each holiday weekend starting with adding in the first set of docks leading up to the Fourth of July. Gordon said the marina now has a total of 44 temporary slips available to rent for short periods of time – up to a month. Annual slips for the year are expected to be available later this fall as more docks are completed and installed.
Leading up to Labor Day weekend, the Riviera added another amenity by opening up its fuel dock. The fuel dock includes four double-sided dispensers, and there is another double-sided dispenser on land. The marina offers 87 regular, 91 non-ethanol, and 100 octane racing fuel at its pumps.
“I think a lot of people are just now learning that that is open and available,” Gordon said. “So we are starting to see a steady stream of business at the fuel dock, which is awesome.”
At about the same time, the marina also finished its store, which was open to the public for Labor Day weekend. The marina store carries a wide variety of products including apparel, drinks, ice, boat and marine accessories, food, and safety equipment.
“We carry basically everything you need when you are on the water – whether it is an emergency situation or just the casual needs of the boaters,” Gordon said. “We are trying to carry a little bit of everything for the public.”
Gordon said each holiday weekend over the summer has been busier than the last with more visitors over the Fourth of July than during Memorial Day weekend, and even more visitors the Saturday of Labor Day weekend before the monsoon storms on Sunday and Monday limited boating on the lake. Similarly, Gordon said non-holiday weekends have also been getting busier throughout the summer, and even the weekday crowds have grown.
“I can attribute that to two things – one of the biggest things is just awareness that we are actually there and open,” Gordon said of the steady climb in visitor numbers. “For some people it took driving by on the lake or having a buddy tell them how great the facility was and all the sudden they start coming. Another part of it stemmed around more amenities opening up and more things being available at the marina.”
Gordon said the marina had enough room to let in all of the visitors who stopped by this summer without reaching the facilities maximum capacity. He said the closest the marina came to filling up was the Saturday before Labor Day, estimating that it was about 80% to 90% full.
Marina Manager Jeremy Hendrick said even when the park has been busy, the marina has been able keep the lines relatively short.
“When we look at the efficiency of the ramp and the way we are able to get people on and off the lake, we are able to keep lines down at a minimum,” Hendrick said. “I think it’s a really efficient layout, and the staff does a great job of supporting the guests that are there.”
Gordon said the marina’s parking capacity is still a little up in the air as they continue to tinker with the layout to maximize the available space. But he said the parking lot can hold roughly 200 vehicles with boat trailers while the overflow lot can park a little more than 200 trucks with trailers. Although day use boat launches have been the main use for the marina through this summer, Gordon points out that the launch ramp won’t be the only way to get on the water from the Riviera for long.
“As we put our slips in the water and add dry storage and other amenities we will have the parking to accommodate that,” he said. “So when you talk about launching 400 or 500 boats, having 400-plus slips, and dry storage, that adds up to be a lot of boaters we will be able to accommodate long term.”
Gordon said the marina is still focusing on wrapping up the first phase of construction heading into the fall. The only thing left in phase one is to add about 180 docks to the 44 already in place.
“Unfortunately, supply chain issues, steel, fabrication issues, trucking, and all the construction-related struggles left over from covid just caused all of these things to take longer than they should have,” Gordon said. “But we are very pleased with the quality of construction and the quality of the amenities and products we are putting out the door.”
Gordon estimated that the docks are somewhere between half and three quarters of the way complete. He said they are now expected to be finished in the next couple months. As more docks are completed, Gordon said the marina will start moving towards leasing its docks on an annual basis.
“For the rest of this boating season and even in the offseason we have docks available today for short term use,” Gordon said. “Starting in October we will be releasing our long term annual dock program, and we will start to lease docks out on an annual basis starting in October.”
Anyone interested in getting an annual slip should follow the website at havasurivieramarina.com, or check the marina’s Facebook page for announcements.
Gordon said once phase one is completely finished, they expect to start in on phase two fairly quickly. Phase two is expected to include additional docks, dry storage, and a restaurant.
As the marina heads into its first offseason, Gordon said they are beginning to look for different events that could be hosted by the marina to keep the facility active.
“We are going to start looking at hosting everything from fishing tournaments to boat shows and car shows,” Gordon said. “We have a lot of ideas we are playing with. So we are excited to use the quieter season to attract some other events and other people down to the marina for more than just boating because it is such an amazing location with amazing views. We have a great facility there that can handle events.”