One of the best decisions you can make as a boater is to store your vessel at a marina. A marina will allow you immediate access to the water compared to dealing with the hassle of trailering. However, when selecting a marina, it is important to consider 6 important factors. Here is how to choose a marina.
The Location Of The Marina
Location is key, which is why I am putting this first on my list. The positioning of a marina is highly important because it dictates how long of a run is needed to enjoy what you like most. For me, my run was to the inlet to head offshore fishing. Fortunately, I was within a few hundred yards of the inlet.
Keep in mind you don’t only need to consider fishing. Instead, your interests may be waterfront restaurants, the beach, bays, and more.
Furthermore, longer run times to what you enjoy means more fuel burn. Weigh the costs of added fuel burn versus a higher monthly storage fee to be closer to what you like. For me, it was a no-brainer to pay more based on location.
The Cost Of The Marina
No matter where you choose to store your boat, you will be forking out money. Utilizing a marina as a means of getting out on the water quickly comes at a cost.
As a young working professional, I utilized it because I wanted to avoid the hassle of trailering my boat. However, I knew that I would be paying for the convenience.
With that said, understand that it is less expensive to keep your boat on a trailer compared to at a marina. In most cases, you will be spending more than 300 dollars per month at a minimum simply to store your vessel.
When considering the expense, it is wise to ensure that you will be using your boat with enough frequency. In a situation where it will not be used often, it is hard to justify the expense.
The Amenities The Marina Offers
The amenities of a marina are highly variable. Some marinas are bare bones, while others have everything a boater could ask for.
Remember, you are likely to pay higher monthly dues for a marina with a multitude of amenities compared to one without. Some of the nice to-haves at a marina include restrooms with showers, a fish cleaning station, a tiki hut for lounging, a marina store, boat cleaning services, and more.
I suggest not only looking around but asking for a breakdown of the amenities of each marina you are considering. Once you have the breakdown of each, it will better help you compare and make an informed decision.
The Dockage Options
In today’s world, dry racks are becoming more popular. I prefer dry racks over in-water storage. The reason I prefer dry racks is because I don’t have to worry about potential issues that arise, including failed bilge pumps, damage from wakes, and the need to have the hull treated.
However, some boaters prefer to keep a boat dockside compared to in a rack. So when it comes to how to choose a marina, make sure you consider where you would like your boat stored.
Fortunately, a vast number of marinas include a combination of slip dockage space and dry rack space. However, understand that you are likely to encounter a waitlist.
Security Of The Marina
Without question, the security of the marina must be considered. Unfortunately, thieves prey on boats because they have a significant amount of expensive equipment onboard.
Some of the most valuable items on a boat in a marina include electronics and fishing gear. I highly recommend ensuring that the marina has night patrol in addition to cameras that are in working condition.
My boat was stored in an elevated dry rack, so I did not have much to worry about when it came to security. However, if your boat is in the water or at ground level, you need to take security seriously.
Unfortunately, you may not get a truthful answer if you ask about marina theft. Instead, I recommend asking marina patrons about their experience. For the most part, they will be willing to give you an unbiased opinion.
The Social Environment
One factor that is often overlooked when selecting a marina is the social environment. Beyond heading out on the water, boaters tend to gather and socialize on the marina property consistently.
In some cases, events are held by the marina, including social hours with food and drinks as a way of saying thank you. Alternatively, boat owners host their own events. The word is spread quickly of the opportunity to get together with fellow marina patrons.
Know You Know How To Choose A Marina
Choosing the right marina can be a difficult decision to make. When I was shopping for dry rack space, I was weighing my options between two different marinas within a quarter mile of each other. Remember, it is important to put everything on paper when choosing a marina. Weigh the pros and cons for the best outcome.