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Discussion Starter #1
I've begun hunting for a slip to park a 36' boat on Lake Michigan in Indiana or southwest Michigan. I expected to find waiting lists at the nicer marinas, but I couldn't put the cart before the horse. So the search begins.

I thought I'd share my research to sailnet to make sure I'm not missing something obvious.

So far, I've looked at:
  • Washington Park in Michigan City. $25 waiting list.
  • East Chicago Marina. Slips available, but not my 1st choice for location.
  • Oselka Marina in New Buffalo. $200 deposit for 2022. Aren't they underwater at the moment?
I haven't yet contacted marinas up in St. Joseph, but I'll try West Basin, Anchor's Way, and Harbor Shores.

Am I missing any?
 

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Have you tried Hammond Marina? It seems to be a slightly better location than East Chicago. You can always come to Chicago where your money goes shorter.
Sounds like I'm in a similar situation as you. I have an accepted offer on a 36' boat. I don't want to pay rental on a mooring until I am sure it passes the survey, but I don't want to wait too long.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Have you tried Hammond Marina? It seems to be a slightly better location than East Chicago. You can always come to Chicago where your money goes shorter.
Sounds like I'm in a similar situation as you. I have an accepted offer on a 36' boat. I don't want to pay rental on a mooring until I am sure it passes the survey, but I don't want to wait too long.
Somehow I missed Hammond. Adding that to my list. Thanks.

I'm going to head up to see East Chicago soon, and I'll probably look at Hammond at the same time.

I went ahead and mailed a wait-list application to Michigan City, since it was only $25.
 

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First ! South Haven, Michigan. Grand Haven,
Mi. Saugatuck, Michigan. Benton harbor, Mi. St Joseph, Mi.
Hammond, Indiana Marina is next to Casino boat.
 

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if you are a weekend boater; traffic from Chicago to Michigan on Sunday afternoon/evening is Huge. Hours & hours in traffic. (Lots of people going back & forth to Michigan from Illinois). Using freeway & tollway/skyway.)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I made the trip up from Indy on Friday and looked at Hammond, East Chicago, New Buffalo, St. Joseph, and South Haven.

if you are a weekend boater; traffic from Chicago to Michigan on Sunday afternoon/evening is Huge. Hours & hours in traffic. (Lots of people going back & forth to Michigan from Illinois). Using freeway & tollway/skyway.)
Yeah, I didn't think about the traffic issue at first. Although I was going the right direction for the time of day, the other side of the interstate was gridlocked near Hammond. That negates any benefit of proximity to Indy. I'm assuming traffic dissipates somewhat the farther east you go. If I'm coming from Indy, I can avoid 65 and 94 for most of the trip to SW MI, if need be.

I'm sure we will spend quite a few weekends on the boat, but since we are both working from home, we're much more flexible for travel days/times.

I've visited New Buffalo and St. Joseph a few times previously, but somehow always managed to bypass South Haven. That's a cool town.

The hard part for me thus far is researching who owns the slips in various places. marinas.com helps out, but lots of slips aren't associated with a marina. New Buffalo, for example, being a combination of rentals through Oselka vs various purchase options and condos. And the Black River and River Noire yacht clubs in South Haven aren't listed. Visiting in person makes it so much easier, especially where I could find boaters to talk to.

Right now, we are leaning toward St. Joseph or South Haven, but I have a lot of phone calls to make Monday. We shall see what's available. I'm hoping we don't have to go farther north... I don't want distance being an impediment for my first year owning a sailboat.
 

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Great. S.Haven. You can walk to Coffee/bakery/restaurants if they are still there after Covid19.
Saugatuck is nice if not to far for you. But farther to get out on lake Michigan.
..... Maybe ask about theft of boat electronics,etc at marina or security of your boat....
Best to you in your search.
 

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As you will no doubt realize, the Michigan harbors will provide a nicer lake cottage feel than the Indiana harbors which are near industrial buildings (steel mills and oil refineries). St Joe west basin is nice, as is the yacht club next door, however it is a mile walk to cross the river to go into St Joe.
As for traffic, on an evening rush Monday-Thursday basis it does get better east of I-65, but that doesn't mean it is light. On Fridays and holiday weekends the traffic is gridlocked eastbound from at least the Illinois state line to I-65 from about noon on and is very heavy all the way to Michigan.
I've sailed to S Haven a couple times. I love that town. Saugatuck is a nice little town, but you might have trouble in a CS36T. I think you have greater than a 6' draft (If I'm remembering that listing correctly). I've ran soft aground in the sand bottom with a 5' keel when the lake levels were low. They are high right now but thankfully going down.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Aren't there two fixed bridges between the Portage marinas and the lake?

Regardless, I was able to secure a slip in Anchor's Way in St. Joseph. Now, fingers crossed for the survey and closing. Cart before the horse.......

Thanks for the help, all! I'll post photos after delivery.
 

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As you will no doubt realize, the Michigan harbors will provide a nicer lake cottage feel than the Indiana harbors which are near industrial buildings (steel mills and oil refineries). St Joe west basin is nice, as is the yacht club next door, however it is a mile walk to cross the river to go into St Joe.
As for traffic, on an evening rush Monday-Thursday basis it does get better east of I-65, but that doesn't mean it is light. On Fridays and holiday weekends the traffic is gridlocked eastbound from at least the Illinois state line to I-65 from about noon on and is very heavy all the way to Michigan.
I've sailed to S Haven a couple times. I love that town. Saugatuck is a nice little town, but you might have trouble in a CS36T. I think you have greater than a 6' draft (If I'm remembering that listing correctly). I've ran soft aground in the sand bottom with a 5' keel when the lake levels were low. They are high right now but thankfully going down.
Yeah, West Basin is nice! The waiting list is 80+ long.
 

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A few listings starting from furthest south to north:

South Haven is nice, downtown is right there. The city of South Haven owns the municipal marina, so I would check with them. The water levels last year closed the marina, but they are now down a foot or more so they might be back open.

Saugatuck is also nice. Tower Marine across the river sometimes has availability, but depth can be a concern for over 5.5'. Tower does have an active social life, and can be a bit noisy at times, but the wide floating docks are a plus.

Holland has a couple of marinas. Eldeans is the closest to Lake Michigan, and is a very nice marina, but it also is pretty darn expensive, but usually has openings. Yacht Basin is more of a blue coller marina, and getting a slip might be possible, but prices are usually not that bad compared to others.

Muskegon has Harbor Towne, Torreson, Hartshorn(City owned) usually has slips.
 

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Yeah, West Basin is nice! The waiting list is 80+ long.
Just in case😊. Slip on Facebook South Haven.
 
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