Owning a boat can feel overwhelming due to the many types of costs: storage, operation, equipment, tax, insurance, and maintenance. This article will paint you a complete picture of the average boat slip cost so you can come up with the best decisions with your money.
How much does it cost to dock a boat? Generally speaking, docking fees for boats under 30-foot long start at $50/per day and $500/per month. The total fee depends on the boat size, duration, and docking location.
Most marinas charge slip rates in feet, so the bigger the vessel, the higher the docking costs. Docking in remote places or small towns usually costs less than crowded marinas. But renting a slip is not the only choice. You can use dry boat storage services, anchor in allowed areas, or purchase a dock.
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Cost to Dock a Boat
Regular docking slips should be $1.5 to $2/per foot/per day. If you sign a monthly contract, the fee starts at $14 per foot. Multiply the slip rate with the vessel’s length or slip size (whichever is greater) to get the total amount.
For example, a 25-foot pontoon docking at a marina that charges $20 per foot will take $500 a month. Check out the slip rates at Marina Village:
But some marinas base the charges on the slip size indicated, not the vessel’s length, such as Marina Del Rey. This will increase the total costs because a 21-foot bass boat would require a 30-foot slip (you need to leave at least two-foot between the engine and the dock).
Refer to the table below for the current price at Marina Del Rey:
On top of that are other charges like deposits, additional entrance keys, utilities, and liveaboard fees.
- Deposits – A waiting list deposit is a must for every marina. The number can be as low as $150 or equal to one month’s slip rent. You need to transfer the deposit beforehand to reserve a spot.
- Additional entrance keys – The first one or two keys are free. But if you request additional ones, they might cost from $25 to $50.
- Utilities – These are electricity, fresh water, and rubbish removal fees. Marina owners charge from $13 to $20 per month.
- Liveaboard fees – Paying for slip rent doesn’t allow you to live on your vessel for free. If you wish to make your boat a second home, you should expect a liveaboard fee. This fee starts at 50% of the basic slip rate.
Besides, you need fenders, heaters, ice eaters (the device prevents ice from forming around the boat in extreme winter), waterproof covers to seal out rain and snow, and regular bottom repairs. So, the total boat slip rental cost can be rather stiff.
This video will provide you with more details:
A cheaper alternative is anchoring with your own ground tackle if you only need to stop shortly. Anchorages charge little to nothing.
Be aware that you can’t anchor your boat at random spots to avoid paying for dockage fees. Most cities and towns have strict rules to keep traffic clear. Always make sure there are no anchoring signs before deciding to drop the hook. The sign is a circled anchor with a slash through it.
Avoid mooring when you do not know who owns the marina. Not every spot is safe to leave your boat unattended for long. If you intend to store the boat for extended periods, check out the next option.
Can I Buy a Dock
Investing in a dock is a good idea for long-term boaters. Think of it as an expensive parking spot that will increase its value. Instead of $500 per month (and other fees that might raise the total price to $700-$1000 per month, especially if you live onboard), you pay a much bigger sum and be carefree.
The price depends on many variables so I can’t give you an exact number. But you can expect it to start at $1,000 per foot plus property tax. Owning a slip will release your worries about permits, waiting lists, and marina owners’ policies. If you get it right, you will earn a good amount of money when trading it too.
Remember to look before you leap. Think about how long you want to hold onto the slip and your current financial situation. If you only need the slip for a couple of years, it’s not worth it. When you try to sell your slip quickly for cash, its price will reduce significantly.
But prices shouldn’t be the only consideration. Owning a boat is a long-term game. If you end up selling the vessel for an upgrade (which many boat owners do), you need it to be the top value. Thus, choosing a good mooring is more important.
What Is a Good Place to Dock at
A good marina will inspect its facilities annually and watch out for boats in the field. You should always read reviews before choosing a marina, check if there was any theft or vandalism, and go through its rental contract.
Marinas should offer a launch service to get you to and from your boats. Make sure the owner includes it in the rental fees. Onshore facilities – restrooms, restaurants, and repairs – should be available for customers’ best interests.
Most owners don’t refund deposits. So, make sure you come up with the right decision before picking up the phone. Note that marina owners have the right to deny pets on board. Also, the berth you are assigned to should:
- Provide your vessel with protection from wind, waves, and bad weather.
- Allow you to steer the vessel in and out easily.
- Have clear traffic most of the time.
If you dock your vessel for a long period, take these precautions:
- Birds tend to occupy empty boats and make a mess. You should cover your boat carefully with waterproof tarps or leave a bird scaring device.
- Tie your boat to the dock post correctly. Insurance won’t pay when the damage is caused by the owner’s carelessness. If your loose craft crashes other boats, the docks, or any structures on land, the bill is on you.
- When you dock your boat overnight, always turn on the navigation lights.
How Much Does Dry Boat Storage Cost
Your last options are outdoor and stacked indoor dry boat storage, both of which offers huge benefits:
- Out-of-water storage gives the boat a chance to dry out. Soaking the bottom for long can cost you blisters and paint repairs.
- Dry-stored boats don’t sink. You won’t need to check your vessel every other week to make sure it’s still there. In harsh weather conditions, dry storage is safer.
- You can skip winterizing the engines and freshwater systems.
- You don’t have to worry about the engine, electrical system, plumbing system, and interior when the weather suddenly gets freezing.
Outdoor boat storage is the most cost-effective. The price starts at $5 per foot and increases to $10 or $20 if the facility is closer to marinas. You need to prepare your tarp and trailer to keep the boat from weathering damage.
Indoor stacked storage costs from $10 to $30 per foot. This is the most preferred method as the boats are completely safe with reasonable prices. Boat owners don’t need to prepare any boat-protecting devices. But it takes time for your boat to unload and be ready, and this type of facility might be unavailable in small towns.
In conclusion, the marina price varies from $14 to $30 per foot per month depending on its location and amenity. Other options include indoor stacked storage, outdoor dry storage, anchorage (only for a few hours), and slip purchase.
Let us know what you think after seeing the numbers. Are they reasonable or overpriced? What option will you choose to store your boat? If you believe this article on how much does it cost to dock a boat would benefit a friend, don’t hesitate to share it. Thank you for your time!
Working to create content for Marine Talk has always been a fascinating experience. I get to travel, absorb knowledge about boating, and tackle all the issues when we sail into freedom!