When we first got into sailing we looked at a couple of local options for marinas.
We are a few minutes away from quite a large lake and there are 2 - 3 marinas withing 10 minutes from our home and work places.
What made us look elsewhere were a couple of things:
- one of the marinas is right downtown - just off the municipal boardwalk. There is always a lot of pedestrian traffic - day an night - and a well-traveled road very close by. Didn't seem very peaceful.
- the boats from the municipal marina are wintered on the hard in an unsecured parking lot. It is well known that some of the boats are used as winter accommodations for local street people.
- the lake that the marinas are on has few to no anchorages for over-nighting. Most of the shoreline is built up with homes (monster homes) and cottages etc.
We went for a marina that is still quite close to home (40 minutes); on a body of water that gives us access to tons of anchorage, gunk-holing as well as marina options. Some great sailing - the North Channel is a 3 - 4 day sail away (less if you go direct).
The price is a little steep, but the security is good, the marina is maintained and I can often hoist my sail as I leave the marina's main channel.
We do pay for amenities that we don't use: been in the pool once - too much chlorine and too many damned kids!; tennis court - sounded like a great idea - used zero times in 6 years; laundry facilities - never used; on-site chandlery - very convenient (Too
convenient! They have a policy whereby they only take debit for purchases over $5.00. I was dying of thirst and wanted a Gatorade, but, as usual, had no cash. So to bring my purchase over the $5.00 minimum I bought a Gatorade and a hand-held VHF radio. Made perfect sense at the time.) We have launch and haul on premises; boats are store on-site with indoor and indoor heated options;a mast crane; parts department; mechanics; glassing specialist; fuel dock; pumpouts; the wi-fi at the slip is spotty, but this year they've assured us that it'll be better!
; and a decent restaurant all on-site.
Our marina was recently purchased by a group that has a number of marinas on the bay. We get six nights per year free docking at each of the other marinas.
The people (other customers) at the marina run the gamut from helpful, decent, fun etc. to obnoxious, rude, dickheads. I won't say which end of the spectrum I land on.
We don't tend to stay at the marina - we usually head out right away. Although when we do stay we often have a great time with our dockmates.We have made some great friends at the marina although a couple of really close friends have recently moved to another marina close by. We will certainly miss them, but we see them more at anchorage and on the water than we do at the marina anyway, so that may not be such a big deal after all. It might give me the opportunity to actually get some work done on my boat instead of shooting the breeze for hours on end...
We are considering a move,perhaps next year. The decision will be made mostly on price. I will find it hard to give up my slip which faces into the prevailing wind.