How to Choose the Right Marina

Tips for Choosing a Marina for Your Boat

If you want to store your boat as safely and securely as possible, you'll need to choose the right marina. But how do you know which marina is right for you? It’s estimated that there are more than 12,000 marinas in the United States alone, and thousands more across Europe, presenting you with a wide range of options. How should you consider these options? What exactly should you be looking for?

Overall Location

First, think about the overall location. Does this have convenient access to a body of water you want to explore frequently? How far is it from your house? The more convenient and accessible the location is, the pricier it tends to be – but it may be worth the extra money.

Size and Accessibility

Slips in each marina will likely have a size limit for vessels. If you have a particularly large vessel, this is one of your top considerations; you physically won't be able to dock your boat at certain marinas. Make sure you understand how large the slips are and whether your boat can be conveniently stored and accessed there.

Sheltering Potential

Marinas serve as a form of shelter. So, at each location, consider the overall sheltering potential. Is your boat protected from the wind at this location? How much protection do you have from waves? Is your boat shielded from other boat traffic? Is there anything to block precipitation or sun from damaging your vessel?

Tides and Current

You'll also need to think about the flow of tides and currents at each location. Does the flow of water make it easy to get in and out of this location? Or is it going to serve as more of an obstruction or an annoyance?

Parking and Facilities on Land

Pay close attention to the parking and facilities available on land. Some marinas offer many resources and reasonable pricing, making them a hot commodity among boaters. These locations tend to attract many people, and therefore run into crowding issues. The last thing you want is to be excited for a boating trip, only to find that there's no parking left for you when you’re ready to depart. You'll also want to take a look at the available facilities on land such as stores, restrooms, and shelters.

Utilities at the Dock

Are there any utilities available at the dock? Most boaters are going to be interested in at least having electricity available; this way, you can charge your batteries, utilise air conditioning, and power whatever else you need to power while docked. It's also nice to have a water hook-up, so you can hose off your boat whenever you need.

Fuel and Services Nearby

If your boat needs fuel or servicing, are there services and institutions available nearby? Ideally, your marina won't be far from a fuel station, where you can fuel up your vessel before every voyage. It's also useful to be near a boat repair place, so you can get regular maintenance conveniently and have someone you can call on if you need emergency repairs.

Security and Cleanliness

Pay attention to the security and cleanliness of your marina as well. Are there features of this location that make it less susceptible to crime? Overhead lighting, security cameras, gates, and security personnel are all excellent features that can improve the security of your vessel at this location.

On a similar note, you should think about the cleanliness of this location. Do employees do a good job of keeping it free of litter and messes? Cleaner marinas are more enjoyable, they’re more hygienic, and they help create a much more enriching environment for the people enjoying them.

Staffing and Help

Who are the employees and leaders at this marina? How many people are usually working, and are those people usually available to help with whatever you need? Marinas with more employees tend to be higher priced, for obvious reasons, but it can be useful to be in a location with more active staff. Are there dedicated people for cleaning and security? Are you able to get in contact with the owner? If you had a question or complaint, do you feel confident you would be able to talk to somebody quickly?

The Community

One of the added benefits of choosing a marina is getting access to the community of people who already use that marina. Between voyages, you can talk to people docked next to you and get to know them. You'll also be interacting with passers-by in this area on a regular basis.

Because of this, it's ideal to choose a marina that has an open, friendly, and inviting community. It's hard to get a feel for this before making a final decision but start conversations with the people around you when you're shopping around; you'll quickly get a vibe for how this place operates.


Don't forget about pricing. Owning and maintaining a boat can get expensive if you're not careful, and it's easy to overpay for a marina. That said, the cheapest marinas in your area may not have the resources or accommodations you need, so it may be worth the extra money to upgrade.

Setting Your Personal Priorities

There's no such thing as a perfect marina. Instead, you're going to have to find a place that fits your needs and serves your goals. You may be interested in finding a clean, secure, friendly, and helpful place – and you may be willing to pay a premium for it. You may also be interested in finding the cheapest marina possible, meaning you're willing to sacrifice many of these qualities. It's totally up to you.

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