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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Unless you live in walking distance to your boat.... in a marina or private dock... you likely have to drive to get to your boat.

1. Once there you need parking... and often overnight parking. Many town restrict overnight street parking. While there are often parking lots which permit overnight parking and are not metered... getting a space is often a problem... lots of people drive to visit the water front.

2. If you are parked in the marina parking lot... you can walk to your boat and there likely are dock carts available to haul your things. But frequently this is not the case and you have to carry your bags to the next stop - dinghy or launch

3. A "legal" tie up for the dink is a huge problem. There are simply not enough tie up spots on any dinghy dock. And the spots that are available go to local residents and non locals are prohibited from getting a dinghy dock permit. So if you are not a local resident... you are stranded and can't get to your boat unless there is a launch service.

4. Launches are provided by yacht clubs to their members (parking too). But non members will not be able to use a yacht club launch. The only option for them... if it exists... is a commercial launch service. Newport, and BI have one that has a schedule. It does not run 24/7. Too early of too late.. you are out of luck. Some launch operators charge a fare per person per trip. Others simply charge a seasonal fee and all people going with a paid subscriber travel at no extra charge. Launches can get crowded and often make many stops which can lengthen you trip from dock to boat considerably. If you are a visiting anchored boat you may find the launch unavailable to you. Launch service may be included in the price of a transient mooring.

5. Getting to shore from the harbor aside from the launch means you use your own dinghy or motor the mother ship to the town or fuel dock if a spot is available. Your boat won't be welcomed at a fuel dock unless you are buying fuel. You may be able to take on water when the dock is not busy with paying customers or in the evening when the fuel dock is closed, but the water spigot is not shut. Town dock tie ups are often occupied by boats arriving for a weekend stay... and you'd be lucky to find an available spot. The dinghy option means there must be a public/town dinghy dock - tie up. These can get massively over crowded (Newport, BI) and it's almost impossible to land your dink. Some places charge for dinghy tie up. There may be a beaching option but a something to tie / lock the dink too is a problem. And there is the tide range which can leave you stranded or wading through mud if you are ashore for a long time. Getting supplies to a beached dink is no picnic either.

6. Even getting a seasonal mooring can be a problem as moorings are only available to "town residents"... and you have to own, set, maintain and retrieve the mooring. You might find a mooring service who will sell all these services on a seasonal basis. Don't expect them to provide launch services

7. The designated anchoring area is often way out which means long dink rides as the close in areas are for moorings... and anchored boats may not even be serviced by commercial launch services.

All the above makes for problems "getting to/from your boat"....not sailing the boat from harbor to harbor for multi day mini cruising.

The above may apply in other sailing areas. It's not getting better... It's getting worse.
 

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I have none of those problems. Live about a mile from the yacht club I've belonged to for over 40 years. Launch service, dinghy racks, plenty of free parking (you can leave your car for days or weeks), free ice, etc. Cost is about half the cost of a slip at the local Brewers marina. Want an application?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have none of those problems. Live about a mile from the yacht club I've belonged to for over 40 years. Launch service, dinghy racks, plenty of free parking (you can leave your car for days or weeks), free ice, etc. Cost is about half the cost of a slip at the local Brewers marina. Want an application?
And when you visit another harbor?
 

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Dang. We wanted to head up there at some point this, or next year. Sounds like a nightmare, especially for us who would know nothing upon arrival.
 

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Hey,

All true points. I assume it's the same just about everywhere (in the USA).

For my home port, Mt. Sinai, NY, I have a mooring. Each year I pay the Town of Brookhaven for the mooring permit. First mooring permit was in 2004. I bought a mooring from the local company, whom I paid to place the mooring in the spring and haul it out in the fall (year round moorings are not allowed). I had a cheap, beat up dinghy that I left on the beach. I would drag it down to the water and row 5 minutes to reach my boat. At the end of the day I would drag the dink up above the high tide line. My mooring permit allows my to use the town T Docks for 30 minutes during the week and 20 minutes on the weekend. This allows me to pick up / drop off passengers, and take on fresh water.

After a few years the town made it illegal to leave a dinghy on the beach. and they installed racks for mooring permit holders. This meant I needed to drag the boat all the way down to the water and all the way back up the beach. You could lock the dink to the rack for some security. My first dink wore out (too much dragging through the sand) and I bought a Walker Bay 10 that weighs 100 lbs. Dragging that up the beach was really taking a toll, especially since I always seemed to arrive at low tide.

The local yacht club has dinghy docks. parking, clubhouse, security, etc. I joined in 2014 and I've been happily using their facilities ever since. Dues not not that expensive. I have a safe secure place to leave my dink in the water. it's too far to row, but a cheap 2.5 hp outboard gets me to my boat in under 5 minutes. There are 3 T docks I can use for loading / unloaded, each with water and power.

When I'm cruising I have reciprocal privilege's with other clubs. I take advantage of that for docks and moorings with launch services. Since my 'cruises' are just a few days, that makes it easy for me.

Barry
 

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We have fortunately avoided all this by cruising other areas, less crowded. Caribbean and Atlantic providence’s.
 

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And when you visit another harbor?
Which harbor? They are all different as you well know. After 40+ years, I know the ins and outs of most on LI Sound and southern NE. Some I anchor and dink to beach, some I get a mooring with launch service (rare), and occasionally get a slip overnight (very rare). When cruising most afternoons and dinner are on the hook. I have no problem paying for a mooring and launch service if I am in a interesting town and want to go out to dinner.
 

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The area within 50 miles of Long Island Sound is one of the most densely populated sections of the United States. There were about 24,000,000 people in this area in 2010. Population Within 50-mile Buffer of Long Island Sound - Long Island Sound Study Do you think the number has gone down since then? On top of that, boating is in the midst of a major boost. A marine store owner I spoke with yesterday said that last year boatbuilders sold five times as many boats as they had in the previous five years together. Marinas are full, with waiting lists. SanderO's post points out that boat owners need to figure out where they're going to keep their boat and how they plan to get to it. That has always been the case. Most boatowners are a resourceful lot, and they figure it out.
 

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Join a club. We don’t have any of those problems and pay significantly less for our slip than at any of the surrounding marinas. The modest initiation fee paid for itself within a few years and we’ve made good friends here.
 

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And that's why, after 40 years saying I'd never join another club, I am doing so this season. Even one that would accept me as a member. :) I'm locking up both a summer mooring and winter storage space, which is also getting scarcer and more costly. My initiation fee is a bit less than storage cost me at a commercial yard last winter. Not having to pay the yard for painting and doing it myself will amortize my other club fees in about 18 months. With the pressure for development along the shore, clubs are becoming the last affordable alternative.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So what are the costs of joining a club... something I never thought of doing???? But if the costs are reasonable it apparently does solve many problems.

Right now I have a for the summer which costs $3,800 half hr drive no tolls... and that solves some of the problems. A mooring in LI would have been north of $2K and then I would have two 60 mile drives and gas and bridge tolls, hard to find parking and dependent of the launch service hrs. I figure the car costs add more than $800 so the difference is $1,000.
 

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So what are the costs of joining a club... something I never thought of doing???? But if the costs are reasonable it apparently does solve many problems.

Right now I have a for the summer which costs $3,800 half hr drive no tolls... and that solves some of the problems. A mooring in LI would have been north of $2K and then I would have two 60 mile drives and gas and bridge tolls, hard to find parking and dependent of the launch service hrs. I figure the car costs add more than $800 so the difference is $1,000.
It’s really going to depend on the club and the location. Fairfield County clubs will undoubtedly cost more than ours in Groton (for example). It may be worth making some inquiries though.

All in, winter storage/summer slip/annual dues we pay over $1,000/year less than winter storage/summer slip at the cheapest marina in our area and our facilities are nicer. As an added bonus it’s a DIY club and there’s a building with a variety of tools we can borrow when we need to work on the boat.

We recovered the cost of our initiation fee in under three years vs. going to the other marina. If we had gone to a marina in Noank or Mystic the cost difference would be even larger. YMMV.
 

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Dang. We wanted to head up there at some point this, or next year. Sounds like a nightmare, especially for us who would know nothing upon arrival.
Dockwa didn't exist 40 years ago. Neither did cellphones. Now they do. Dockwa indicates the services (mooring/slip/launch, etc.) for each club or marina that they handle. Quite simple to use, even on a phone from the middle of the Sound when you change where you're heading because of the weather.
 

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Yacht club costs are all over the map. Clubs with restaurants, bars, swimming pool, tennis courts are pricey. In addition to dues and fees, you must spend a minimum in the bar or restaurant each month. Others are bare bones - basically a small building and dock on the water. Mine is in between - no restaurant or bar, but lots of services from launch service and winter storage, dinghy dock and storage, kitchen and grills to make your dinner to eat on the club porch, etc. Dues plus launch service fee is under $2000 per year. Initiation is one years dues. There is one club in our harbor that is more expensive and one that is less expensive.
 

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We sail out East, based in Three Mile Harbor in East Hampton. Like everything else in the Hamptons, things are pricey. We have an ideal situation because there is a dock that goes with our house for truly nominal dues, and there are no yacht clubs in Three Mile Harbor. Sag Harbor is pretty nearby, with both fancy and not fancy yacht clubs and with moorings and water taxi service. Coecles Harbor in Shelter Island is similar. I would love a reasonably priced nearby yacht club for the social aspects, but I am not aware of any.
 

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Clubs also differ in how they are run. I put the brakes on one club when I realized that they took their traditions seriously: ceremonies a few times a season, with blue blazers, white pants and yachting caps mandatory. I was quite surprised. The few members I know didn’t seem the type. Another club I considered was definitely more my speed, but I found it too bare bones. In the end, I decided to stay at my marina. It’s tough to beat the convenience of a full service yard when you need it, and the amenities : pool, pavilions, picnic tables, bar/restaurant on site are better than almost all of the yacht clubs I’ve seen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Our moored boat was a destination in itself. We do need water and fuel occasionally.. and very rarely take a meal ashore. Bars and yacht clubs socials of no interest to me, I did however enjoy a meal a a yacht club in Gloucester which was open to non club people. I suppose to make some restaurants economically sustainable they open them to non members. A close mooring or slip allows for day sails. At some distance it's just too much driving for a day activity. So staying aboard means bring provisions. On the other hand we don't have to bring many clothes usually.

LIS is just understandably very crowded and that makes for all the problems and charges for everything.
 

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Same issues here in many parts of ME. Heck we live 100' from Casco Bay, and even have deeded mooring rights (part of our physical deed), and we have two moorings out front for storm use. We don't use these moorings because our beach is sandy at high tide but muddy at 1/3 tide or lower. With two dogs and three people this makes for a very messy dinghy ride, especially on the bottom 1/3 of the tide.

Instead we are members of a club which is 1.3 miles down the road. It's worth every penny of the dues plus dinning room minimums. We have launch service, (three beautiful launches, one a Hinckley) water, docks for washing the boat and a limited-time dinghy dock. 100 yards down the shore from the club is a fuel dock. We also have a boat ramp, kayak and paddle board storage racks, dinghy racks, and a major junior sailing program, which our daughter has been doing since the age of 7. As members we also get a substantial discount on the Jr. Sailing Program that actually serves to reduce our dues. She could do the program as a non-member child, and she would, but the price is significantly higher than the "child of a member" price. Again, worth every single penny even though we can walk 100' to our private beach, where we have a dinghy rack.

Join a club or pay a boat yard it's not getting any easier and is only getting worse. I've actually seen a fist-fight over parking at the town landing lot which has very minimal parking spots, 35 to be exact, (most spots are occupied by lobstermen who get there at 4:00 am). There are now 1300+ boats in the mooring field, and a waiting list for a dinghy spot at the town landing for which Falmouth residents or commercial fishermen get first. With only three points of access, to 1300+ boats, Town Landing, PYC or Handy Boat there are very few options unless you gamble on a spot at Town Landing or you join Handy Boat or PYC..

In contrast to the other access locations, our club has a total of 300 members, with many of them seniors who no longer even have boats. A beautiful secure and large paved parking lot, showers, laundry, impeccable grounds, beautiful club house, amazing food, reasonable dues etc.. If you are even thinking about joining a club or boat yard get on the list now. For the first time ever, since 1869, our club has had to place a moratorium on new member applications. The ones we already have in, are running a 4-5+ year wait. The moratorium is until June of 2022 and it may be extended further. I think this is in part a sign of limited access and a surge in boat sales.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Same issues here in many parts of ME. Heck we live 100' from Casco Bay, and even have deeded mooring rights (part of our physical deed), and we have two moorings out front for storm use. We don't use these moorings because our beach is sandy at high tide but muddy at 1/3 tide or lower. With two dogs and three people this makes for a very messy dinghy ride, especially on the bottom 1/3 of the tide.

Instead we are members of a club which is 1.3 miles down the road. It's worth every penny of the dues plus dinning room minimums. We have launch service, (three beautiful launches, one a Hinckley) water, docks for washing the boat and a limited-time dinghy dock. 100 yards down the shore from the club is a fuel dock. We also have a boat ramp, kayak and paddle board storage racks, dinghy racks, and a major junior sailing program, which our daughter has been doing since the age of 7. As members we also get a substantial discount on the Jr. Sailing Program that actually serves to reduce our dues. She could do the program as a non-member child, and she would, but the price is significantly higher than the "child of a member" price. Again, worth every single penny even though we can walk 100' to our private beach, where we have a dinghy rack.

Join a club or pay a boat yard it's not getting any easier and is only getting worse. I've actually seen a fist-fight over parking at the town landing lot which has very minimal parking spots, 35 to be exact, (most spots are occupied by lobstermen who get there at 4:00 am). There are now 1300+ boats in the mooring field, and a waiting list for a dinghy spot at the town landing for which Falmouth residents or commercial fishermen get first. With only three points of access, to 1300+ boats, Town Landing, PYC or Handy Boat there are very few options unless you gamble on a spot at Town Landing or you join Handy Boat or PYC..

In contrast to the other access locations, our club has a total of 300 members, with many of them seniors who no longer even have boats. A beautiful secure and large paved parking lot, showers, laundry, impeccable grounds, beautiful club house, amazing food, reasonable dues etc.. If you are even thinking about joining a club or boat yard get on the list now. For the first time ever, since 1869, our club has had to place a moratorium on new member applications. The ones we already have in, are running a 4-5+ year wait. The moratorium is until June of 2022 and it may be extended further. I think this is in part a sign of limited access and a surge in boat sales.
You found a perfect solution... though you didn't mention the annual cost. But as you not this solution is not available to anyone one with the money to "join". Understandably clubs have membership requirements... What are they? I would think that to join a yacht club you need to own a boat, have an "acceptable" boating resume and or personal recommendations... and of course agree to the rules of the club. It's the rules that can be a bit nuts. I refer to the club's requirement to spend $xx.xx per month in the restaurant or bar???... or attendance at social club events. Frankly I don't know what various club rules are... But I don't know if the trade off is worth the "convenience".

So in the very crowded harbors... more than a few hundred moored boats... it makes sense for "someone" to provide a launch service... pay as you go. I suspect that this would be a fine summer job for a college kid and the town would probably break even of make a tad. But this can run into problems. A private operation would need a dock to board passengers... and a place to tie the launch over night. How would the franchise be granted? How would... or would it be "regulated". I suppose someone with the right sort of boat and a mooring could run the service and use (with permission) a town of private dock for boarding passengers. Both Newport and Great Salt Pond are served by Old Port Marine. But they are also a marine service operation. In Northport, for example, Seymours sells seasonal launch service for $1,400 and uses their own dock for boarding. Why not simply add a pay as you go... and it doesn't matter if you are going to aSeymour's mooring or a anchored boat???

The dinghy storage problem can be somewhat solved by a public launch service.

Parking is a real problem in crowded harbors Perhaps a remote parking lot with Uber or a shuttle???

And what about regulating the cost of moorings? Moorings are placed on what I believe is "public land/water"... Towns regulate moorings... and have requirements and fees for a mooring permit. Boat owners have to hire a mooring service to set their own tackle or rent it from the mooring service. So, for example... in Dering Harbor, Shelter Island... you have maybe 300 - 500 moorings (guess)... most are installed / controlled by one of three commercial interests, Jack's Marine, Picozzi Marine and the Shelter Island Yacht club Some people with land on the harbor have private moorings and docks. So let's say Jack's rents 100 moorings for $1,500 per season (no launch service, nor dinghy tie up/ storage dock) That's $150,000 / season. Of course the tackle costs money and setting, retrieving and maintaining them is work. Even with these made up numbers it looks like a plumb business.... on public land.

What say you?
 

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And what about regulating the cost of moorings? Moorings are placed on what I believe is "public land/water"... Towns regulate moorings... and have requirements and fees for a mooring permit. Boat owners have to hire a mooring service to set their own tackle or rent it from the mooring service. So, for example... in Dering Harbor, Shelter Island... you have maybe 300 - 500 moorings (guess)... most are installed / controlled by one of three commercial interests, Jack's Marine, Picozzi Marine and the Shelter Island Yacht club Some people with land on the harbor have private moorings and docks. So let's say Jack's rents 100 moorings for $1,500 per season (no launch service, nor dinghy tie up/ storage dock) That's $150,000 / season. Of course the tackle costs money and setting, retrieving and maintaining them is work. Even with these made up numbers it looks like a plumb business.... on public land.

What say you?
Our club is less money than a membership next door at the local boat yard. About 2k per year.

States own the submerged land to the 3nm line (since 1953 or so) and each State decides how to manage their own submerged lands. Each State will have different management approaches.

Maine is a bit different than other States in that riparian owners own to mean low water (0.0' tide mark) or to 1650', from mean high water, if your property is on extensive mud flats. These laws go all the way back to the mid 1600's and have been upheld more than once by the ME Supreme Court..

Our neighborhood has been through these legal battles before. One such incident was when the town demanded we allow them to put a dock on our property. The town lost as they would have had to prove eminent domain need (which they could not) and if they could have, they would have had to pay for all that land and the depreciation for every home in the neighborhood, a cost which would have paid off every mortgage in the neighborhood, and was way to much money for the small gain to the town. These laws/ME history are how we have a "deeded" mooring and a private beach. Other States have different laws. Our rules come from hundreds of years ago being one of the oldest settled places in the country, the Province of ME, in the early 1600's. Some of these laws occurred well before we were even part of MA and have been part of Maine's history since the 1600's...

In Maine, the State leaves submerged land management to the towns. This is typically through what is called submerged land lease for docks, mooring fields etc... Our mooring field is controlled by the town of Falmouth, legally, under ME State law. Most towns have a submerged lands lease from the State, a waterfront ordinance, harbor master, waterfront committee, mooring fees and mooring regulations to further manage their submerged lands lease. So, in short, it is not always "public land" in the way most assume it is. The town, at least here in most of Maine, manages the submerged lands and makes the rules for their submerged lands. Even though the State technically owns the land, to 3nm, the State allows the towns to fully manage these submerged waters, by law.
 
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