1.Quality and upkeep
3.Proximity to necessities
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!