Join Date: Sep 2002
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This really depends on you and your confidence in the longevity of your involvement in the sport. Questions that I would ask myself would be similar to those when buying a house....because for many this is their summer home. As stated by many, there is really no definite factor to apply.
1. Location, location, location! Convenient to your home, office, favorite sailing area, whatever. Will you get there enough to justify your investment in both the boat and the slip?
2. Do you think you will like your neighbors? Unlike your home, the boat is small and you will spend more time,while in the marina, in the cockpit. Is your slip mate someone you can share the space with, because you own the slip and won't be moving around to find the perfect neighbors.
3. If you have made the commitment to the boat, a depreciating asset as we all know, are you sure you want to lock into one more asset until you find out just how much you love it? Sailing is a great sport, and I cannot imagine not having a boat to use, but I have more friends that think I am nuts than friends that understand the passion. In todays market neither the boat or the slip is a very liguid asset. Unless you are in a very high demand area the slip may take longer to move than the boat.
4. If you make the commitment to the $$$$ for your own slip you have to be also willing to commit to the taxes, utilities, and assessments that go along with it as well. Once in, you are part of a group of equity partners and you vote on everything....and have lots of rules that some of your neighbors love to enforce. Could be good, could be a pain.
We have a private marina in our area and it is very nice. Prices never increased as everyone thought they would, but the average 30' slip is probably about $50K now. A couple of years ago everyone got an assessment for a new wall. Some want floating docks, with an estimate between one and two million split between something like 130 slips.
5. Some of these private marina, condo marinas, have become very successful with close knit relationships that continue at the end of the boating season. Some are just a pain. Be sure what you are getting into.
At the end of the thought process I think that unless I already had experience with the marina, and its occupants and managers, I would rent for at least a year to make certain I was not investing in the wrong neighborhood. Your and your families involvement with the boat and the sport may depend on it.