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  #21  
Old 01-12-2014
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Re: Considerations in Choosing a Marina

The short:
1.Quality and upkeep
2.Clientele
3.Proximity to necessities
4.Amenities/facilities


The long:
When we purchased our 1st sailboat in Redondo Beach, CA, we had about 4 marinas to chose from that were within walking distance from our apartment. We walked the docks of EVERY marina, looking at ALL the slips.
We noted what the docks were made of- wood or cement. Would this be clean or would I be bringing it into my boat every time I boarded. Can I walk barefoot on it? Is it fixed or floating?
The marina office gave us a map with marked slips that were available. We looked at our potential neighbors, to see if they kept their boat legal, in working order and clean, especially frequent bottom cleaning and if the boats were free from junk cockpit/topside and bird crap. We did not want our new baby to be next to a derelict boat.

We also went on a weekend to see if the people that came down to hang out on their boat were people that we would like to be next to. Do I really want to be next to the "wahoooooo!" girls every weekend, and the guy gutting fish (against marina policy) on the dock?
We saw some liveaboards that were borderline hoarders and immediately crossed those slips off and we met some liveaboards that inspired us to do a few upgrades on our boat.
Yes, this was the most difficult part, as once you become a renter, most disputes of tenancy become a civil matter, and of course, a matter of opinion in some cases.

We also looked at what debris was floating in the water. We noticed some slips were engulfed with trash and oil, some sticking to the sides of the boats at low tide. The way the water flowed in and out at tides made it impossible for this to be corrected for some of the slips. In one corner, the storm drains from the city flows into the marina and along with a horrendous odor.

We looked for seals on the docks and any other wildlife that could harm our boat. (Nests of cranes, crows, and seagulls. Luckily, the jetty isn't near any dock-- because rats live in jetty's and can crawl up dock lines.)

In the King Harbor basin, we have a fuel dock, pump out dock, a jetty with protected anchorages, and a friendly harbor patrol, and quick and easy access to get out to the Pacific. There is a haul-out sling and boat yard, and a West Marine very close by. (This should be a key factor if you're a DIY'er!) There are two yacht clubs as well as many restaurants and bars within walking distance.

In the end, we opted for the most expensive marina, Portofino Hotel and Marina in the basin for many reasons:
We are allowed to use the hotel's amenities- weight room, hot tub and pool, a discount at the restaurant and the hotel, you can even order room service to you boat.
There are ample bathrooms- 5 or 6 for 181 slips, not including the hotel lobby, pool, or restaurant.
They have a laundry room.
The keys!! This was big for us as all the other marinas had a metal slot key that are so difficult to work, where Portofino's locking system is a key fob electric entry.
Water is included.
2 parking passes, with gated parking, albeit scant.
They used to give us a discount for paying for the entire year, but they do not now. (It was awesome!!)
We can keep our dinghy and kayaks with our sailboat.
We have a dock locker box with a lighted footpath along the dock, instead of overhead lights, which can be obtrusive.

We felt that the extra money spent with Portofino would not be missed as the experience would be greater every time we were at the marina with our new boating community.

When we walked Portofino's docks, we saw only a limited few derelict boats, and they were far away from the slip that we were going to take. However, three days ago, they moved the most offensive boat of the two right next to us because "they did not want their restaurant customers to see it". We're now at a complete loss of what to do, as this boat will cause harm to ours and has completely wrecked my peace of mind when I go to my boat.

Marina management changes, they raise rents and offer less. New boats come and go in the slips around you, and a bad neighbor can move in. If the good outweighs the bad, that's home, when that changes, it's time to circumnavigate!
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Old 01-12-2014
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Re: Considerations in Choosing a Marina

Quote:
Originally Posted by MIdreaming View Post
...When we walked Portofino's docks, we saw only a limited few derelict boats, and they were far away from the slip that we were going to take. However, three days ago, they moved the most offensive boat of the two right next to us because "they did not want their restaurant customers to see it". We're now at a complete loss of what to do, as this boat will cause harm to ours and has completely wrecked my peace of mind when I go to my boat...
Been there, got the shirt.

Most decent marinas (and yours sounds like one) have fine print in their moorage contracts that state that a vessel must be kept in respectable condition, washed, maintained, etc. Check your own contact. This may be the leverage you're looking for.

Sorry for the momentary thread drift.
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  #23  
Old 01-13-2014
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Re: Considerations in Choosing a Marina

Quote:
Originally Posted by caberg View Post
Location and location. That is, close to home and close to interesting uncrowded waters for weekend cruising. By far the most important factors to us.
Ditto. Close to home == going to the boat during lunch breaks or on the spur of the moment.
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Re: Considerations in Choosing a Marina

I won't repeat the good advice above on things like location and amenities.

What I didn't see addressed is how the majority of tenants use their boats.

We stay aboard our boat nearly every weekend for six months per year. I was once at a marina where every boat around us was either a racing boat or owned by a mega rich guy and, literally, the only person you ever saw was their Captain or boat cleaning boy. The owners always arrived with professional crews or in their best pressed slacks and Nantucket orange shirts. Now, we can hold a pinky out with the best of them, if necessary, but that's not what we go to our sailboat to do.

We are now in a marina where most around us come for the weekend and stay aboard, some more than others. Most take their boats out at least for the day, when they are there. Although, the stinkpots are more likely just to come for cocktails. A great mix of sail and stinkpots, all get along (aside from some friendly chiding). Some even live aboard full time from May to Oct. However, no one may stay aboard over the winter, so it doesn't become anyone's permanent home. Therefore, decks and docks never look like squatters.

The balance is exactly what we like and, as a result, have made some terrific friends with very similar interests. We ask the marina on our initial tour about the other tenants and how many stay for weekends, etc.

Truth is, the marina ticks us all off once in a while (they all will eventually). Ultimately, we stay to see our friends.
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Old 01-13-2014
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Re: Considerations in Choosing a Marina

Think about proximity to the boat not only in your regular commutes to the boat, but have a plan for getting to the boat in emergencies. For example, we're two hours from our boat. I have to plan a bit more ahead if I know a hurricane is moving up the coast because unless I want to prep the boat by myself, it has to be done on a weekend due to our jobs. If there is an immediate emergency I have to suck it up and deal with the fact that I may have to head down after work, deal with the long drive back home late at night, and still get up early the next morning for work. Alternatively, be prepared to pay the marina to do what needs to be done. We like the piece of mind of doing it ourselves but at least once some freak weather event happened and the marina had to do it.
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Re: Considerations in Choosing a Marina

That's an excellent point, Donna. And it extends not only to emergencies, but even sometimes "routine" things. We kept Dragon Wing in the water into early November, with the hope that we'd be able to sail over Thanksgiving weekend. A week before Thanksgiving, we had a cold snap that was predicted to last at least a weeks, so we told the marina to haul her for the winter. I had hoped to do the engine winterization myself (had bought the supplies and everything), but in looking at the forecast temps, we were going to get below freezing several times before I would have been able to get to the boat to do the work. We wound up paying the marina to do it, because we didn't really have a choice.
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Re: Considerations in Choosing a Marina

If you are far way, this can get expensive, but having a boat manager that you pay a nominal fee to each month will insure you have someone available to help prep for an emergency like a hurricane. When the time comes, resources get stretched very thin. They are typically checking on the boat for non-emergencies as well.

I haven't done it yet, but I get tempted. Having a manager keep track of vendor maintenance is a huge advantage as well. First, those that have managers squeaking at the yard, seem to get serviced first. Secondly, its impossible for the mechanics to goof off on the job and bill excessively, if they're being watched. That is a factor that is not managed well by many marinas. If they can bill you whatever time it takes their staff to finish a job, they have no incentive to insure their staff work efficiently. I swear, it's the far away owners that take the brunt of it.
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