With a new boating season just around the corner, it's never is too early to plan where your boat will be spending the summer months. I have covered this subject before, but every spring it's worth going again. Keeping your boat in a marina is a pleasant thought that saves time and effort and you spend more time on the water as well.
It's a joy to drive to the marina, load the rods and bait and off we go. No fuss, no mess. When we get back, it's jump off the boat, clean her up and drive home. There are no road problems, no trailer lights or electrical problems to contend with, never mind the dreadful worry of wheels, bearings and flat trailer tires.
Are you looking for a full service marina, the basics or are you just looking for a slip to store your boat? If you take your time looking for a marina, you can find good deals on basic and full service marinas. With an average cost of $25 to $45 per foot and as much as $75 when you look at the combination price of summer/winter storage, choosing a marina is not as hard as you would think.
There are many choices out there and you can make the right one if you do a little digging. Lets look at a full service marina. You can make any adjustments on the cash dollar value, as you go along when you compare this to marinas with a little less service.
When looking at any marina, you'll want to consider several factors. First, how's the marina kept and what condition are the docks in. Face it, you're going to spend a fair amount of change when choosing a marina and you want to make sure things are in order. Take a stroll around and see the condition the dock, planking and poles. Are poles dug deep or just stuck in the mud?
Do the lines come with the slip? Bumpers? Are there enough cleats around the slip? Are they large enough for your boat? If you're looking at a full service marina and by that I mean they should be able to haul your boat. Is there electricity and running water at your slip?
Can they fix things if something happens? Suppose you hit something and the prop is bad. Can they fix it or do they have to send it out? Can they handle through hull fitting problems? Electrical? Engine problems? The list could be endless, but a "full" service marina should be able to do most if not all of these things.
What kind of shape is the repair equipment in? How's the attitude of the yard manager? Are they friendly or are they doing you a favor? We know they're busy in the yard, but do they return your phone calls?
Many top quality yards and full service marinas have schooled engine technicians with certificates of graduation...ask to see these certificates!! It makes a difference if they have them or not because mechanics that are top quality use the right tools for the job. We all know the majority of any repair bill is mechanic's labor time and using the right tools saves time and money!
When the mechanic gets in your boat, does he/she put a towel down under the can of paint or oil? Do they wipe their shoes before getting in your new white boat?
Does the marina have a policy of putting down in writing estimates of repairs? There are horror stories where you say go fix it not thinking it's a big job and when the bill comes back everybody's angry. Make sure you ask to see the marina's certificate of insurance! Do they have product liability insurance? Will they stand behind what they fix? Remember, boating can be expensive and you'll be putting down $500 & more on a slip...it's your right to expect and get good service!!
If you run outboards on your vessel, you should ask what the depth of the water is where you'll be docked. If the area is a tidal area, is there enough water under you? The last thing you want is to start an outboard and find you're taking sediment into your outboard that can cause overheating down the road. Not that anyone is purposely dishonest, but take a stick and check the depth yourself during a full or new moon tidal period when tides are at their most extreme.
How's the accessibility to gas pumps and how many pumps are there? If it's not that accommodating, watch out! You may not think it's important, but what happens when you decide to go boating or fishing on a nice day and boats are lined up 12 deep at the pumps. This can make for a long wait killing the spirit of the day. Can you get to the pumps in your boat at low tide? Make sure the marina uses a top quality fuel with proper additives! With the way engines are made today, stick with name brands like BP, Texaco and Gulf. They have been around for years and are staples of the industry.
Does the full service marina in which you're looking have a pump out station? In today's world, there is no excuse to discharge any material into out marine environment. It has been proven that untreated fecal matter is bad for the ecosystem of the marine world and every full service marina should have a pump out station.
Even if it's a minimal charge to maintain the pump out station there should be one. Some full service marinas offer services like Valet storage. This allows you dry rack storage year round and they put you in the water at your convenience upon a phone call, should you decide to come out for the day.
Where's your slip in relationship to the prevailing winds? The prevailing winds on a late summer day are from the southwest. If your boat doesn't have twin engines or the twins you have are close together and the maneuverability of your boat or your experience isn't up to task, you may want to rent a different slip. One where you head into the wind when you dock causing less possible damage to your neighbor's boat.