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How to choose a marina for your boat

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How to choose a marina for your boat

Taking to the seas on a boat is a recreational activity enjoyed by thousands of people. Boat owners who are not able to keep their vessels on their properties due to proximity to water or space constraints must seek out a marina in which to moor their boats for the duration of the season.

There are hundreds of marinas from which to choose, and in coastal cities and towns you may be facing some difficult decisions. However, keep in mind that not all marinas will be able to offer the same level of services and amenities. Boat owners must also consider cost when choosing a marina. It is important to weigh your marina options carefully because once the decision has been made you often have to commit to a certain term of housing your boat there.

Certain features available at marinas will help dictate which places will make for a good match.

Size and type of boat

First and foremost, your marina options will be narrowed down by the type of boat that you own. Certain boatyards are simply not able to accommodate larger ships, while others are customized to certain vessels, like pontoon boats or sailboats. Knowing the limitations of the marina beforehand can help narrow down your options.

Electricity and water supply

Many boat owners would like a steady supply of electricity and fresh water available at their slip to charge components and also to make cleanup easier after a day on the water. Some marinas offer electrical hookups as part of the monthly fee. Others may have it available as pay-per-use. It is important to have a list of amenities available so you can narrow down your options.

Is the area safe?

A boat is not a cheap investment. Because you spend quite a lot on the initial purchase and maintenance, you want to ensure your boat will be safe while it's docked. Find out how easy it is to get inside of the marina and if there are security personnel patrolling. Safety is not restricted to whether the boat can be vandalized or the marina can be accessed. It also involves how the vessel is protected from the weather. Make sure that the marina is in a wind and wave protected area. Check out the actual slip you can rent and ask about tide variations. Verify how water levels vary based on the time of day and year so you're ensured your boat will not get grounded.

Location

Most boat owners would like a marina that is close to home or a rental property. After all, traveling hours to arrive at the shore may negate the benefits of having a boat. How often the boat is in use and the availability of marinas nearby will dictate your decision, as will how easily you will have access to the routes you want to explore on your boat.

Noise level

Many people take to their boats to get away from the hustle and bustle for a while. Others prefer the sense of camaraderie they share with fellow boaters. Find out whether social gatherings or parties are allowed within the marina to judge if a marina will offer peace and quiet or the social hot spot you desire.

Dry docking

When the season is over, boat owners prefer to take their boats out of water. Does the marina offer facilities to overwinter vessels on the same property? Are there maintenance facilities also available to ready the boat for the season? These are other questions to consider.

Other facilities

Some marinas have everything from a fueling station to a club house. The marina may offer a snack bar or cafe with a WiFi signal. Each of these amenities will affect the price, so it is best to know what you absolutely need and what is merely a luxury.

Having a safe place to store your boat is a necessity, but marinas are not all one and the same.