Choosing the perfect marina is not just about the convenience of location; there are many other crucial factors that can impact your choice for a marina. For example, the ease of berthing, cost, amenities, and security. These are factors that cannot be overlooked because they have a say on whether you will enjoy your boat ride or not.
In order to avoid making the wrong decisions, it is important that you spend some time selecting the right marina. After a full day sailing, all you could ever wish for is to find a marina that has everything you need, ranging from facilities, staff, and a convenient location.
However, with over 12,000 marinas available in the US, it’s never going to be an easy task selecting a marina for your boat. This is why we created this informative article; to help you save your time and money.
Here are ten killer tips to keep in mind whenever you are out searching for the perfect marina for your boat:
Location is arguably the most crucial aspect to look out for when choosing a marina. First, the area of the marina will determine your sailing route.
Also, the location of the marina will determine whether you will be able to continue enjoying life once you are docked. Being close to your leisure activity off-sail is crucial if you want unlimited fun. Make sure the marina and your favorite chill-spot are not too far from each other. For example;
- Are the restaurants and the bars close enough? Or will you have to travel again, for miles before you get to your favorite spot? These may sound like the nitty-gritty, but in the end, they have a significant impact on your enjoyment.
- Do you wish to be in the center of town to give you the chance to explore the local area? Or would you rather stick to the beaches or the waterways and rivers?
The location of the marina helps you to plan your travel plans efficiently. With the perfect location, provisioning your boat, budgeting, and shopping for your daily essentials becomes easy.
Is there a more sensitive factor than price when buying anything? Obviously, you have budgeted appropriately for your trip. The cost of a marina must be one of the priorities in that list that you must pay attention to.
- The costs of the marina will vary depending on the location and time of year. This variation makes it a little challenging to determine a good deal and which one isn’t.
- We advise you to do some research on the area and making calls enquiring about price estimates. If your travel plans are set for the peak season, you may want to make a reservation in advance to avoid potentially not having an available slip at your chosen location.
- Besides, the right pricing isn’t only about the marina fees — you’ll also have to pay attention to the extra amenities which hardly come free.
When choosing a marina, the availability of additional facilities tops the list for most boat owners. Ask yourself these questions before you pick on your marina;
- Does it have clean and safe bathroom facilities?
- Are there diesel, gas, and pump-out stations on the dock?
- Does the marina provide laundry facilities? If so, are they free or coin operated?
- Is it a pet friendly marina?
- How is trash handled? Are you charged for disposal?
- Is there any market nearby where you can shop for food and supplies?
- Are there guest lounges in the marina?
- Such extra facilities will define whether your stay at the marina will be an enjoyable one or not.
The dockside services are crucial when choosing a marina. As soon as you get to the marina, you should be on the lookout for the following;
- A pump-out service (mobile)
- Clean and free water
- Wi-Fi and an excellent network
- Dock carts
Also, you should carefully inspect whether the marina is well maintained.
Maintenance services at the marina can prove to be crucial when you need it. You will save time and money when you avoid the transfers to the repair harbor. It’s a double blessing when the marina has top-notch full-service boat maintenance services.
Also, consider these in regards to maintenance services;
- Boat hauling services with travel lift
- Pressure washing services
- Mechanics and technicians(well-trained)
- Fiberglass repair service
- Painting services
- Wash, wax, and detailing services
- Recreational Amenities
We understand that having fun is the main goal of boating and liveaboard cruising. At some point, you’ll want to get off the boat and have some fun with other boat owners. Check out for these items to help guide you on the kind of marina you will be docking at;
- Shuttle service or bicycles for rent
- Downtown location with restaurants and cafes within walking distance
- Local tours, e.g., day tours of the nearby city
- Nearby special events
- Marina cruiser parties
From the moment you interacted with them via their website, to the moment you were received at the marina; how hospitable did the team seem to be? Look for these characteristics:
- A boat mechanic(should be well-trained)
- Trustworthy security personnel
- Reliable dock hands
- Friendly, cheerful, and helpful staff at check-in
- Cleaning crews(efficient)
Emergency response procedures
At first glance, how does the marina look? Are they well equipped for emergencies?
A good marina should be well prepared to handle;
- Medical emergencies
- Fire Emergencies
- Fuel spillages
- Storm or flood
A good marina should have a comprehensive first aid kit on-site, which includes a defibrillator and oxygen. At the end of it all, everybody wants to feel secure.
Security here means you and your friends, family, and even the boat because you have invested a lot on the boat. You want to be high in confidence that the boat is secure wherever you have docked it. Feel free to ask around about the safety of the boat if you were to leave it unattended for a while. Apart from asking, inspect with a naked eye and answer these questions;
- Are members of the public restricted from the private docks?
- Do the security personnel work overnight?
- Are there fully functional security cameras on site?
In the end, there are many things to consider when choosing a marina- yes, it can be overwhelming, but in the long run, worth every second of research. Take your time when choosing a marina, and when you enjoy their services, stick to them, and recommend them to your friends! Do you have any queries concerning picking a marina?
Reach out to us with any questions before or during your excursion. We’ll be glad to be of help!