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Old 08-08-2018, 15:11   #1
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Realistic Cost Breakdown for anchor/mooring ball/marina

I'm trying to figure out some of the COSTS involved with anchoring/docking your boat somewhere. Can someone please share some insights on this?

For example...

In many destinations, will you have the option to:

A) Pay to dock your boat in a marina (FEE)
B) Anchor your boat outside the marina (FREE)

How many places, let's say around the Caribbean, having these as accurate options? 80% of the time?

Do many places charge a fee just to anchor? If so, about how many? (20% of islands in the Caribbean?)

Do most usually have the mooring ball option? If so, what is the typical cost per night?

I have read a lot about "oh you can just anchor in most places for free and not have to spend money at marinas" but I'm not so sure how accurate this is. Seems like many places charge outside of the marina too.

I don't supposed there's a PDF or a web page link on a site somewhere that has, for example, a list of all the popular Caribbean island destinations and anchorages, and a breakdown of the fee options?

I'm just trying to wrap my head around what the TRUE COST is for anchoring/docking your boat from place to place.

Thanks for any insights!
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Old 08-08-2018, 15:15   #2
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Re: Realistic Cost Breakdown for anchor/mooring ball/marina

I've never heard of anchoring fees. I have heard of access permits at a some National Parks.
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Old 08-08-2018, 16:18   #3
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Re: Realistic Cost Breakdown for anchor/mooring ball/marina

Obviously outside of marinas depends on jurisdiction.

Lots of places charge foreigners a fair bit just to visit their waters.
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Old 08-08-2018, 16:19   #4
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Re: Realistic Cost Breakdown for anchor/mooring ball/marina

Not the Caribbean but in the Bahamas is the Exuma Land & Sea Park, a large national park. Anywhere in the park, which is quite big, they charge .50 cents a foot to anchor for boats under a specific length and a $1 a foot over that length (I believe it is 100'). They charge $30 to use a mooring, both mooring and anchoring are daily fees.

Our boat is 42' so it was $21 to anchor and $30 to moor.
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Old 08-08-2018, 16:34   #5
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Re: Realistic Cost Breakdown for anchor/mooring ball/marina

Did anyone actually come around, other than maybe in Wanderick Wells?
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Old 08-08-2018, 17:27   #6
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Re: Realistic Cost Breakdown for anchor/mooring ball/marina

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
Did anyone actually come around, other than maybe in Wanderick Wells?
Nope, Warderick was the only place we stayed and we went to the office to pay. The park is so big I don't see how they can properly police it.

The popular theory is they really only target those 100'+ boats as that is where the money is..
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Old 09-08-2018, 08:22   #7
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Re: Realistic Cost Breakdown for anchor/mooring ball/marina

I can really only reply as to the Bahamas, as I haven’t been further south in about ten years. You can anchor just about anywhere in the Bahamas for free, except in the Exuma National Park System, as previously mentioned. 90’ is the point at which it goes to $1.00 a foot; otherwise it is $.50 a foot. They definitely did enforce it while we were there this past winter - in Warderick Wells, in Cambridge Cay, and in Shroud Cay. There was also recent talk on “Bahamas Chatter” about putting in more mooring balls in various parts of the islands so that the government could collect more fees.

Marinas range in price from $1.25 a foot (as in places like Marsh Harbor), then ranging from an average of $2.50-$3.00 a foot in some of the more desirable locations, then all the way up to as much as $7.00 a foot in some of the high-end marinas on Nassau.

Mooring balls ran anywhere from $20 to $30 a night. Some places discount if you stay a week or a month, but ask first since you sometimes will only get the discount if you book the full week/month when you arrive.

So yes, you can certainly anchor and moor inexpensively in the Bahamas. Marinas will add up fast though. And so will your grocery and beer bill!
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Old 09-08-2018, 08:23   #8
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Re: Realistic Cost Breakdown for anchor/mooring ball/marina

Sorry - should have said on New Providence and Paradise Island, not just the generic “Nassau”.
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Old 09-08-2018, 10:38   #9
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Re: Realistic Cost Breakdown for anchor/mooring ball/marina

The 'law of the sea' says that unless you are in controlled waters you can anchor where you want and nobody can legitimately charge you. Nations can charge visitors a fee for sailing in there coastal waters (cruising permit) and for entry to the country. Harbour authorities can restrict anchoring to maintain safe navigation a nd charge a fee for use of the harbour facilities (including the breakwaters). There are a few places where this doesn't work. South coast of England is one. Usually so crowded they are not much fun anyway.
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Old 09-08-2018, 10:52   #10
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Re: Realistic Cost Breakdown for anchor/mooring ball/marina

The question is so broad and their are so many different policies in each country that a definitive answer is impossible. It's like asking if and where you can park free in all the cities in the US and Europe.

Most places in most countries in the Caribbean and states in the US you can anchor free if you are outside navigation channels, not hindering operation of other boats and in an open harbor. Some places are restricted like some areas in the BVI, FL Keys, etc where anchoring is forbidden to prevent damage to coral. Same applies in some US coastal harbors to prevent damage to sea grass or other natural resources. In general, if you pick your destinations you can anchor out 99% of the time. Also, anywhere there is a mooring field you aren't usually allowed to anchor within a certain distance to avoid problems with the moorings and other boats.

Some places have mooring balls you can rent, prices vary from free to $75-$100/night. Personally I am very, very suspicious of unknown moorings. How well are they maintained and inspected? Would rather trust my own anchor.
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