After you’ve made your choice of the type of boat you desire, choosing where to dock it is the second most important decision most devotees of the liveaboard marina lifestyle can make. Unfortunately, not all marinas are created equal and some will not allow full time liveaboards in their communities at all. For those that do liveaboard their boats, choosing the right marina that will enhance and support your lifestyle is critically important.
Each individual marina will have its own culture and lifestyle that is governed by its particular location. Some marinas will specifically cater to only sailboats, while others may give the nod to powerboats. Each will have its own flavor with some being very quiet and isolated while others might be a bit busier and more socially oriented. If you’re considering a particular marina as your liveaboard destination, walk along the docks and talk to the long time residents there before you sign any paperwork or put down any cash. A good community of like-minded liveaboard fans can provide a supportive and fun community to live in and you get the added security of a community of dock neighbors who will keep an eye on your boat when you’re away too.
Often, the nature of a particular marina will be reflected by its management. Go to the office and check out the rules and regulations up front. If the rules seem draconian, it’s a good bet that management will be formal and perhaps overly restrictive. All marinas have rules of course, but some are more flexible than others. Although good management is the key to creating a good community atmosphere, you’ll need to determine if you can live within the rules of a particular marina before you move in. If a marina looks run down and neglected, it probably is poorly managed. You need to know how the marina handles problems and what the history of problem incidents has been. Be sure to check out the rules for boat and fire insurance too, because you might not want to be docked next to someone who has no insurance.
Your choice of marina is much more than just a place to park your boat when it comes to liveaboard situations. You will be living there full time and need to know what amenities and features are included with the slip you rent. Some marinas may have only the basic amenities like toilets, showers, and power outlets, while others might be more elaborate and offer dock boxes, recycling services, a separate swimming pool, a library, a full laundry, space to park cars, and even restaurants, grocery stores and bars. Your decision to live aboard your boat in a marina might be a great way to get away from it all, or it might be a way to get more involved with a whole community of liveaboard boaters that share your passion and interest in the ocean and unique marina lifestyle.