Marine leisure has a reputation as quite a masculine industry, so it’s a matter for general rejoicing that Michelle Hitchcock, Head of Business Development at MDL Marinas Ltd, has become the first woman in the world to receive a Global Marina Institute (GMI) Certificate.

Michelle received her Certified Marina Professional (CMP) certificate at the ICOMIA World Marinas Conference in Amsterdam, making her the first woman to be accredited as a CMP since the inception of the initiative in 2012. Designed to recognise the skills and experience of those working in the marina sector, Michelle was described as the perfect candidate for the accolade.

She has worked at MDL Marinas Ltd, one of Europe’s leading marina groups, since 1999 in a variety of positions but, as current Head of Business Development, is responsible for training, customer service and the operational aspects of the business systems throughout the group’s 100 plus marinas across the UK, France, Italy and Spain. Upon receiving her award, Michelle said: “I am honoured and proud to be awarded my CMP accreditation by the GMI. This is a major highlight of my career, made more special as the presentation was in front of an audience of my peers at the ICOMIA World Marinas Conference.”

Michelle Hitchcock

Michelle Hitchcock, Head of Business Development at MDL Marinas Ltd, John Hogen, Chairman of the GMI, and Can Akaltan, General Manager at Cesme Marina.


Can Akaltan, General Manager at Cesme Marina in Izmir, Turkey, was also presented with his Certified Marina Manager (CMM) certificate during the conference. Building on his career as a yacht captain, he joined Cesme Marina as the Marina Manager before being promoted to the position of General Manager – and he was keen to explain how much it meant to him: “I feel privileged to be awarded the only internationally recognised certificate in the marina industry for marina professionals. It’s also a great pleasure to become part of a very special group of industry pioneers.”

John Hogan, Chairman of the GMI, also elaborated on the importance of the awards as they move forward: “It is good to have our first female CMP, particularly as she is from Europe, to add to those marina professionals already certified in Australia and Asia. I am hopeful that Michelle will pave the way for others who work in the industry to look to CMP as a way of developing and recognising their talents.”

To aid in that long-term pursuit, British Marine is running a series of GMI Marina Management courses across the UK and Europe. To find out more, visit British Marine.