This article was written for narrowboat owners but whether you own a seagoing yacht, a barge, a cruiser or a narrowboat, you still need somewhere to moor. Many, if not all of the following considerations will apply to you.
There are literally hundreds of marinas to choose from. Not all of them will be able to offer the services, facilities or location to suit your needs. Think carefully before you make your decision. You will have to commit to a minimum term wherever you moor so careful consideration is a must.
TYPE OF MOORING
Are you considering living on your boat? It's probably not for you, but if you are considering a life on board, make sure that you do your homework before you even think about buying your boat. Good residential moorings are VERY hard to come by. Most marinas will not allow you to live on board. And even if you find one where residential moorings are allowed, make sure that the terms suit you.
MOORING FEES; BEWARE OF HIDDEN EXTRAS
Make sure that you understand what you are paying for. Does the mooring fee include all charges or are you likely to receive bills for services that you thought were included?
Many marinas now offer Wi-Fi or even wired broadband. Is this included in the price? It's also worth checking with other moorers at the marina to establish the signal strength and download speed. Many marinas offering Wi-Fi are in areas where the signal is likely to be poor.
What is the charge for mains electricity to your boat? Are there any additional charges other than the electricity you use?
Some marinas charge an additional sum for "high usage" moorers. What is the high usage criteria and the resulting charge?
What is the charge for sewage disposal, gas and coal?
Make sure that you fully understand the total cost that you can expect to pay for all of the above. If you aren't sure what consumables you can expect to use, ask another moorer at the marina.
How often are you going to use your boat and how important is it to you to have your boat moored close to your home. A marina that is perfect in every other respect may have to be discounted if the journey there and back is long and painful.
You also need to consider whether the marina's location gives you easy access to the routes you want to explore on your boat. The more central the marina is to your intended area of exploration, the less time you will spend getting there
Many people use their boat to get away from the noise, and thethe hustle and bustle of day to day life. Make sure that your intended marina offers the peace and quiet you crave. How close is it to the nearest railway or main road? Is the marina on a flight path and, if so, how often do planes darken the skies?
How close is the marina to PEOPLE? If you want peace and quiet on your boat, the last thing you want is large numbers of people passing you. Find out where the nearest housing is. Find out if the marina is close to any night spots which might spoil your evening tranquillity. Ask other moorers if there is a noise problem.
If the marina IS close to housing or evening entertainment, what security is in place to ensure that both you and your boat are safe?
What facilities will you need when you are on your boat? Of course you will need sewage disposal. You will probably want mains electricity and you will probably need a ready supply of gas and coal. Does the marina provide these basics?
You may also like to have a chandlery on site. You might prefer the marina to have a cafe, bar or restaurant. If the marina can't accommodate your off-boat wining and dining, how far do you have to go to find somewhere to eat and drink? Will you need to get a taxi there? ARE there taxis available?
Where is the nearest grocery store?
Are you likely to need to visit a doctor, a dentist or a hospital? How far are they away from the marina? If you need to use public transport, how easy are they to get to?
You may want to leave your boat at the marina year after year so you will probably need to interact with marina staff or management on a regular basis. Ask other moorers how they feel.
ACCESS TO YOUR BOAT
How close to your boat will you be able to park your car? No matter how fit and active you are, you don't want to carry provisions and luggage great distances to and from your boat. Some marinas offer baggage carts for moorers to transport equipment but you need to make sure that they are practical to use. Make sure that the walkways are wide enough and obstruction free and that the ground is firm.
Will you have your own pontoon giving you clear access to the marina entrance or will you have to ask other moorers or the marina management to move other boats so that you can get in and out?
You will have invested a considerable sum in the purchase and upkeep of your boat. If you choose a mooring that is less than idea - or if you fail to find a suitable mooring at all, you may find that you use your boat less than originally intended. But if you pay attention to the above considerations, your marina selection should be successful and your boating a pleasure.
Even before you have purchased your boat, you need to consider very carefully where you are going to moor it. The wrong marina choice can seriously reduce the pleasure you get from your boating trips. The following tips will ensure that you ask all the questions you need to make the right decision.
Paul Smith's website has all the information you need to know about living on a narrowboat including a complete list of all the narrowboat marinas in the UK and the facilities they offer. Free download. http://livingonanarrowboat.co.uk/