Article by ONBOARD Magazine
CAN AKALTAN CMM
GENERAL MARINA MANAGER
CESME MARINA, TURKEY
Can Akaltan started working in 2006 on 27m M.Y. Ladies First as first mate, cruising the Middle- East and Mediterranean hot-spots, and recalls, “The superyacht industry growing rapidly at the time, and even back then, I became aware of the great demand for qualified crew.” Pressures of home life and recognising the requirement for these yachts to be equally well looked after when alongside by qualified marina personnel within marinas, Can transferred his on-board skills Marine Tourism as a Masters Degree at Dokuz Eylul University with a view to bringing his experience of guest care and hospitality to marinas. Can started his marina career as Marina Manager in 2012 and soon thereafter was appointed General Manager at Cesme Marina in 2014. “The impact of Can’s superyacht experience and training has had a dramatic effect on the success of the marina” says Dan Hughes CMM, COO Camper & Nicholsons Marinas.
The start of my day is normally quite early due to my two-year-old son waking up, after taking care of him, I normally have a simple gym routine, followed by breakfast with my family. I find these short moments precious as they are good opportunities for quality time together. We normally enjoy some traditional Turkish breakfast foods such as handmade pastries or, my favourite, fried eggs.
My working day starts as soon as I arrive, and I walk through the gates into the marina. I speak with the marina staff, including security and the cleaning teams, and our retail partners who are based on site. The marina is based around a horse¬shoe shaped basin, so if I start at one end, I will naturally experience the whole marina by walking from one end to the other. Depending on the season, we sometimes have a sailing regatta taking place and at this time of the morning it’s amazing to see the crew making preparations and the camaraderie. I look out for any repair work which may need to be seen to by our maintenance team. Half way around the marina, there is a perfectly located StarBucks coffee house; I do enjoy an espresso!
As a team, we are all dedicated to providing the best service to our guests. Each morning, Each we are known to move boats around the marina to best accommodate enquiries and bookings – this can be a real juggling act! We are a friendly and welcoming team and a customer or Captain will come to the Marina Office for a traditional Turkish thyme tea. Meetings with the heads of departments and running through checklists to make sure the marina is as good as it can be are completed. The role of General Manager requires a fair amount of administration, so I use the mornings to keep on top of reports, analysis and records.
With a unique variety of restaurant choices to be enjoyed within Cesme Marina, lunch is most enjoyed often with a Captain at Ferdi Baba’s which is a Turkish restaurant a few steps from the office with an astonishing view of the marina from its waterside terrace. The service and the quality of the food are always just perfect, teamed with glorious weather and a cooling breeze, I certainly appreciate the ‘I am Happy Here’ feeling, and often enjoy a meze or fresh fish.
My days on the marina are never the same, I am often working and speaking with Government Officials who use the marina, organising safety briefings and training for staff, or specifically now, I am very interested in better understanding further environmental initiatives we can implement within the marina, and to improve the environment we live in.
Two of the most successful eco projects at Cesme Marina so far have included creating award winning olive oil from the hundreds of olive oil trees we planted in the marina. Each year, the olives from the trees are harvested during a festival involving the staff and their families, and then the most delicious organic olive oil is produced here in Cesme. We have been lucky enough to win awards in Ankara, Turkey and London for our oil.
Earlier this year, we introduced mussels and squid populations into the marina which naturally through their own abilities, help cleanse the water. We are working with Akua Group and Dokuz Eylül University Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology Department of Marine Technology on this project as mussels are known to filter water around them when searching for phytoplanktons to eat. Research shows that one mussel can filter 150 litres of water per day. I find it incredibly insightful and I hope that all the marinas in Turkey can pioneer eco-friendly initiatives to help the greater good. I believe we are at the forefront of ideas to introduce more environmental actions within the marine industry.
Tags: CESME MARINA, TURKEY
For cocktails and events, the Yacht Club is the place to be seen at Cesme Marina, a large open area deck which regularly hosts live music and entertainment, otherwise the Sir Winston Pub is perfect to have a drink before heading home. During the weekdays, we will host activities on the Marina Office flat roof, including anything from yoga classes to BBQ’s. My team and I all participate in these events as we recognise how important it is to be seen by the guests and be available to talk to them. It’s amazing what we find out when the wine has been flowing!
On the way home I will often speak in the car with my wider family who do not live locally. I can spend 5 minutes catching up with them before arriving at home to see my son ready for bedtime.