Choosing the Right Marina
Article by: Tom Kehoe
Picking the right marina is similar to picking the right boat, in a sense, that there are multiple factors that go into the process and can be a headache. The proper marina will ensure the safety of your boat, and will become its resting place. Some of the main aspects you should focus on when deciding on the right marina include price… obviously, location, amenities, and the overall state of the marina.
It is also important to decide the type of marina that you are looking for. Is it a slip, mooring, private marina, public marina, yacht club? They all have their advantages and disadvantages associated respectively. A mooring is a permanent structure that you can secure your boat to, but leaves your boat vulnerable in the event of bad weather or large wakes. Moorings are less expensive than a slip, because they offer less protection for your boat.
Top picture: mooring, Bottom picture: slip
Slips are cut outs that allow you to tie your boat up in a unique sort of parking spot. You then must think about if you want a public or a private marina. Cost plays a huge role on deciding if you want to be in a public or priate marina. Private marinas will tend to cost the average boater more money and public marinas will run on the cheaper side of things. There are many things to think about when deciding on public versus private marinas. Public marinas tend to offer less security than most private marinas do. If you are interested in a public marina it is very important to check if the public passerby is allowed around the marina. Yacht clubs are essentially private clubs that are similar to private marinas however they have more offerings. Yacht clubs provide somewhere to eat and drink and a family atmosphere. They are the most expensive because they require initiation and monthly fees. Once you decide the type of marina you are looking for that will determine the price range you will be looking to spend.
Next you need to look at the location of the marina you are looking at as well as the proximity of the marina. You want to make sure you are picking a marina that is relatively close to you if you are planning on using your boat regularly. If you do not plan on using your boat regularly you can sacrifice distance for some of the cost one closer to you is. This is up to you to decide just how much you realistically use your boat.
Amenities are very important to take into consideration once you have a list of marinas that match what you are looking for. You should compare and contrast the amenities that each marina offers and narrow it down. Important amenities that I look for are fuel docks, wet and dry storage, 24-hour surveillance, parking lots, and somewhere to eat. Fuel docks are very important to me because it can be a hassle to have to leave your marina and fuel up, taking away from time you could be out enjoying the water. Wet and dry storage is important if you plan on leaving your boat at the marina during seasons you do not intend to use it. If that is the case, you must pick a marina that offers dry storage. 24-hour surveillance is another must for me; if I am paying a good nickel for my boat to be safe I should have that assurance all 24 hours of the day. Parking lots are important to be weary of and what exactly each marinas parking lot allows. Marinas can offer daily parking lots, nightly parking lots, free parking lots, or paid parking lots. Make sure the marinas you are looking at offer the parking that coincides the most with the type of boating you will be doing. Lastly the marina I chose has to have somewhere to eat, where it is just some snacks and beverages to bring on the boat, or a sandwich when you get back. They need to have some type of food option.
Lastly to narrow your decision down even more take into consideration the overall condition of the marina. Take a look at how the marina looks aesthetically; what is the condition it is in? Does the marina look old or damaged? Older marinas can lead to future problems that you may be forced to deal with. Lastly keep in mind marinas near future plans, you would not want chose the right marina for you only to find out they are planning on moving within the next two years.
Good luck on picking the right marina!