The Scarcity of Dockage
For the last three years, new boat sales have surged to unprecedented numbers. As people continue to use their leisure time outside due to COVID, boating has been seen as an attractive way of enjoying the outdoors while maintaining space from others. Many boat owners are discovering an unexpected problem, however. Parking is scarce. Finding dockage in today’s waterways is nearly impossible without planning it well in advance.
While the number of boats has increased, the availability of dockage has not. If you haven’t planned ahead, you may be stuck without a place to tie up. This can be extremely frustrating if your boat is too large to pull out easily, and time consuming with small boats regardless. To make matters worse, unsavory practices are occurring at Marinas due to the feverish demand. Dockage contracts often include clauses that allow for transient usage of your slip, even if you have leased it long-term. This means that, even though you have contracted the slip for a season, if you leave it without notifying the marina with your timeframes, or return unexpectedly due to mechanical issues or other reasons, they may rent it out to others (keeping the change, to boot). This can be downright maddening if you return to your home base, only to find your slip occupied by another tenant.
The problem with dockage will not go away soon. The only way you can safeguard your stay is to plan ahead and be careful to read your contracts.