Whether you’re new or experienced at sailing the seas, choosing a place to anchor your vessel can be harder than finding a parking space at a crowded marina. This is partially because there are so many options and variables out there, and when it comes to your leisure time, you want everything to be just right. Consider the following when choosing your boat slip.
- Know the market. No matter what your tax bracket, you’ll want to get the best value when docking your boat. The key is deciding whether you should you rent or buy the boat slip. Just like your home’s mortgage, a dock will be subject to real estate taxes, closing fees, maintenance and possibly an assessment for dock services and amenities. And, just like purchasing a home, if you’re planning to keep the dock long term, it may be worth it to build equity. But, if you’re only going to be there temporarily, renting might be a better option. As with every real estate transaction, an analysis of the current market will determine the best strategy.
- Wet dock vs. Dry dock. Wet docks, dubbed “dockominiums” are more expensive, as they offer the most convenience – your boat is ready for you whenever you want to sail. Dry docks, known as “rackominiums,” often require you to inform the rental company in advance of using your boat. This decision will come down to price and how fast you want to get out on the water.
- Do your due diligence. As with any real estate purchase, you’ll want to ask around about the marina. Talk with other owners/renters and employees to get an idea of how well the dock is taken care of and if they’re happy with the facilities and the management.
- Check the dock. Consider accessibility, security, water congestion and the dock’s physical appearance and wear when choosing a home for your boat. You’ll want the marina to be close enough to home that you don’t have to spend hours in traffic to get there. Security should also be a concern. Is the facility locked at night and well lit? And, areas with high water congestion and traffic could present a real risk of collision and will increase the amount of time it takes to depart from the marina. Notice how easy it is for boats to pull in and out of the dock and check the height of the dock to see how easy it will be to step on and off your boat.
- Amenities. Amenities. Amenities. While any dock will provide basic features like an electrical hook-up and a clean water source, others may offer a more Cadillac suite of benefits for buying or renting with them. These might include: dock carts, individual waterproof deck boxes, lockers, showers, laundry facilities, a private pool, Wi-Fi, dining and more. Of course, the slip price will reflect the desired amenities.
- What name to use? Be sure to consider if the boat slip should be insured as its own entity, as a trust, or if it makes sense to use the same name as on your homeowner’s and umbrella policies. Each has its advantages. The goal is to limit your exposure.
Once you’ve purchased the boat slip of your dreams, don’t skimp on the boat’s coverage. Contact your HUB broker to make sure you’ve got the right boat insurance and coverage limits for wherever you’re docked.