One of the biggest costs many boat and sailboat owners are faced with is docking. Not only is it difficult to find marinas and moorings with available slips, but they can also be quite expensive. After looking at the costs of many different marinas across the country, here’s what I found:
It costs around $9-$20/ft per month to rent a marina dock slip. Marina slips in prime locations cost around $17-$30/ft per month. Utilities and other fees add another $50-$250 per month. Prime location marinas include places like Miami, Newport Beach, Key West, etc.
Transient marina slips (non-permanent) cost around $0.8-$4/ft per night ($24-$120/ft per month). This is around 2-4 times more expensive than permanent spots.
If we look at this based on boat sizes, below is how much it will cost on average. Click here to scroll down and see the prices in your city.
|Boat Size||Regular Location Marina (per month)||Prime Location Marina (per month)|
|25-30 feet||$391.50 + Fees||$634.50 + Fees|
|31-35 feet||$478.50 + Fees||$775.50 + Fees|
|36-40 feet||$551 + Fees||$893 + Fees|
|41-45 feet||$623.50 + Fees||$1,010.50 + Fees|
|46-50 feet||$696 + Fees||$1,128 + Fees|
|51-55 feet||$768 + Fees||$1,245.5 + Fees|
|56-60 feet||$841 + Fees||$1,363 + Fees|
|61-65 feet||$913.50 + Fees||$1,480.50 + Fees|
|66-70 feet||$986 + Fees||$1,598 + Fees|
|71-75 feet||$1,058 + Fees||$1,715.50 + Fees|
|76-80 feet||$1,131 + Fees||$1,833 + Fees|
Fees mostly depend on the size of your boat and the amount of electricity you use. Expect fees to be around $50-$250 per month.
Another thing to note is if you have a catamaran, slip rates are generally around 20% more expensive because they take up more space.
Marina slip cost based on location
Because marina slip price depends so much on location, I made a list of many popular boating cities and the average price of their marina slips.
In order to make this, I took 3 different marinas in each city and averaged them out. These are only U.S. and Canadian cities (in alphabetical order by state, Canada is at the end). If your city is not on here, you can find this out by Googling “(your city) marina rates”.
|Location||Average Marina Slip Price (per month)|
|Los Angeles, CA||$17.28/ft|
|Newport Beach, CA||$61.35/ft|
|San Diego, CA||$23.8/ft|
|San Francisco, CA||$14.96/ft|
|New Haven, CT||$14.87/ft|
|Fort Lauderdale, FL||$24.75/ft|
|Key West, FL||$28.90/ft|
|Panama City, FL||$9.27/ft|
|St. Augustine, FL||$19.90/ft|
|St. Petersberg, FL||$9.76/ft|
|West Palm Beach, FL||$27.96/ft|
|New Orleans, LA||$8.78/ft|
|Traverse City, MI||$16.52/ft|
|Atlantic City, NJ||$23.21/ft|
|New York, NY||$38.98/ft|
|Myrtle Beach, SC||$10.75/ft|
|Corpus Christi, TX||$17.50/ft|
|Green Bay, WI||$8.90/ft|
|Sturgeon Bay, WI||$17.71/ft|
|Quebec City, Canada||$9.73/ft|
Here are the average marina slip cost for popular boating states:
- California: $29.35/ft per month
- Florida: $19.06/ft per month
- Georgia: $15.5/ft per month
- Louisiana: $9.5/ft per month
- Michigan: $14.12/ft per month
- New Jersey: $18.9/ft per month
- North Carolina: 14.45/ft per month
- Road island: $21.29/ft per month
- South Carolina: $14.38/ft per month
- Texas: $14.07/ft per month
- Wisconsin: $11.15/ft per month
What are other fees that marinas charge besides rent?
The biggest fee besides marina rent is the utility fee (electricity and water). Most marinas will either charge a flat-rate fee or a metered fee. In general, the utility fee is around $10-$200 bucks depending on how much electricity you use and how expensive the electricity is.
Flat rate fees are usually around $13-$100 per month.
Metered electricity fees are around $0.10-$0.30 per kWh. If you’re living aboard, this fee may be around $100-$200 per month. However, if you just use a little electricity to keep your battery charged or turn the A.C. on every once in a while, the fee will be around $10-$50 per month.
To make all the other fees simpler, I put them all into a table with the average monthly cost:
|Fee Type||Fee Cost (per month)|
One way you could save on electricity is if you got solar panels to power your boat. These ones on Amazon are quite popular. It may take a couple of years in order to make back your initial investment, but once you do, it’s basically free energy.
Additional costs to consider
This is going to cost you around $100-$1,000 mostly depending on the size of your boat.
Related article: Best Boat Fenders For You (Ultimate Guide)
Many marinas offer cheaper rates for off-season storage. This may include taking your boat out of the water and storing it in a garage, or shrink-wrapping wrap it. Or they may leave your boat in the water (if you live in an area that gets ice, de-icers can keep your slip from freezing).
Here are the average rates for off-season winter storage when compared to in-season.
|Type||Cost Compared To In-season Wet Slip|
|Off-season wet slip||1.5-2 times cheaper|
|Indoor heated storage||About the same|
|Outdoor shrink wrap storage||2 times cheaper|
Related article: How Much Does Boat Storage Cost? (15 Examples)
Should you rent or buy a marina slip?
Most people rent marina slips because buying one can be quite expensive. However, buying one actually is a pretty good idea. Not only could you save money if you have it for long enough, but you could also start to see the value of it appreciate just like land real estate.
In my opinion, you should not buy a marina slip unless you plan on staying in it for at least 4 years. This way, you will have a good chance the value of it has risen enough to not lose any money if you sell it.
Even if you don’t plan on using your slip for a couple of months or so, you could always rent it out to other boaters. This is very common, especially in marinas that are in high demand.
What’s the difference between docking, mooring, and anchoring?
What we have been mostly talking about in this article is docking in a marina. However, many marinas offer other types of wet storage including mooring and anchoring.
To make it simple, docking is when you pull your boat up to a dock and tie it on with lines.
Mooring is referred to when a boat attaches to a mooring line in a mooring zone. Mooring lines are lines connected to an anchor on one side and a buoy on the other. Boats can use this line to stay anchored without having to use their own anchor. It looks like this:
Anchoring is when you just let down the anchor to store your boat.
Many marinas will have mooring or anchoring areas that you can use to store your boat. They are usually very cheap (no more than $150 a month) and some are even free. However the free ones still usually require a permit, so always make sure to check with the marina before using any mooring lines.
What Is best for you? (docking, mooring, or anchoring)
Docking is the most convenient wet storage option, but it’s also the most expensive. Anchoring and mooring are significantly cheaper and pretty much do the same thing (they store your boat).
So if you don’t mind not having marina utilities (electricity and water), it may be a better decision to purchase a small dingy and use that to drive out to your mooring spot.
The cost to store that dingy in a slip will be extremely cheap, and the cost to store it in a mooring anchor will also be extremely cheap (usually 70% cheaper than a dock slip and sometimes even free). However, there are some downsides.
Pros and cons of storing your boat on a mooring anchor
Does it cost more to live aboard in a marina slip?
If you plan on living aboard, marinas will generally charge you an extra $100-$300 per month. You will also probably use more electricity, so that will cost more as well. Some marinas do not charge any liveaboard fee, so shopping around could save you a lot of money.
On top of this, most marinas will have a large waitlist for liveaboard slips. You may have to wait years until one opens up.
If you are interested in living aboard, check out this article here where I talk about how much it really costs.
What is a yacht club? and why are they so expensive?
Yacht clubs are clubs that some marinas are owned by. Many times in order to get a slip at one of these marinas, you have to join the club. This can get very expensive. This is why most members are pretty well off financially.
The perks of being a member of a yacht club is that you get access to all of the services offered. This includes getting access to the facilities, being able to be a part of their planned activities, and sailboat racing. Some clubs offer more, but those are the most basic services offered.
So, if you don’t care for any of that, find a marina that’s not owned by a yacht club. For you, it would be a complete waste of money. However, if that does sound interesting, click this link to learn more about it.
How do you rent a marina slip?
The easiest way to rent a marina slip is by doing it through the marina’s website. Most will have a form for you to fill out and they will get back to you pretty quickly. However, many times you will just be added to a waitlist that may take years for you to get a slip.
So, sometimes it’s best to rent from sub-lenders. These people own a marina slip in a marina and are renting it out. The best way to find this is through websites such as Snagaslip.com, Facebook Market Place, and Craigslist. You could also call or go to a marina and ask if anyone is sub-leasing their slip.
Before you do rent a slip, you want to make sure it’s right for you and your boat. This means it’s got good access for this size of your boat, the water is deep enough, etc. Check out this article to read all you need to know about that.
If you want to learn more about living aboard, check out the ultimate guide I wrote about it by clicking here.