Choose a Home for Your Boat

Unless you have waterfront property with your own mooring, where you contract to keep your boat stored will definitely impact what you buy and how much you enjoy it.  With marinas full-up and charging a pretty penny for those few openings they might have and towns with long waiting lists for moorings, you should get on the mooring list or check your local marina for openings now– before buying your boat.

Don’t get caught with a new boat and nowhere to keep it.  Even trailering a boat stored in your yard to the public landing has ramifications on how much time you’ll actually spend enjoying your boat. Busy weekends jockeying for position at long launch and haul-out lines isn’t much fun.  So again, I urge you to figure out the logistics and costs before deciding what you want for a boat.

Some marinas now demand “full-service” customers, meaning the marina wants to haul, store, and service your boat, in addition to providing you a mooring or dock space—so figure this into the cost of what boat you can actually afford.  If you’re not a do-it-yourself type, this arrangement may work to your advantage and make you more attractive to a boatyard, so ask about the yard’s policy and preferences.  Dockspace for a 30-to 40 foot boat could be $6,000-to $10,000 per season, not including any other services, while a town mooring may be as little as $300 or $400, not including a place to keep a dinghy or launch service. Explore yacht club membership. Most clubs provide launch service and some may even have dock or mooring space—albeit with waiting lists along with up front initiation and membership fees.  If you are buying a boat through a broker, it may be worth asking if a dock is available as part of the deal.

Boat Dock in Maine
Boat Dock in Maine

The size and draft of your boat will affect where you keep it or vice versa where you keep it may restrict the size and draft you can own—as well as the cost.  My rule of thumb is to moor your boat as close to home or work as your budget allows. Living less than an hour away from where you dock has both physical and psychological impact on how much you’ll use your boat.  If it is a major production just to get to your boat, you’re less likely to go onboard as often. A convenient boat dock at a nearby marina with all the amenities may be the right choice for maximum enjoyment but the price of doing so may cause you to downsize the boat slightly. If that is the cost of enjoying it more, it will be well worth working out the options of where you are going to dock your boat prior to buying.

Tell me about where you keep your boat and how this balances with your enjoyment of boating. Next post will be about Choosing Your New Boat from amongst the thousands of boats for sale based on your intended use.