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Old 23-10-2018, 10:46   #1
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Is it hard to find moorage in your area? Resources to look at?

Hello,
I’m a new sailor in US, WA, Seattle area and I found it extremely hard to find moorage spot for rent or even for sale, for my J 105. After 10th attempt calling I finally managed to get a dock on a short term contract.

I'm not looking for a docking spot at the moment, but wanted to get general audience opinion on docking situation, have anyone else faced the same problem?

I would appreciate if you can point me to for future reference:

1. How do you find moorage in your area?
2. Which resources, web-sites do you use?
3. Considering long waitlists, how much in advance do you start looking and how long does it usually take?
4. Is dock lease is similar to leasing an apartment, meaning that it isn't bound to max number of renewals?
5. Is it a seasonal problem?
6. Is it easy to find a dock in your area?

Thanks
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Old 23-10-2018, 11:04   #2
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Re: Is it hard to find moorage in your area? Resources to look at?

Man oh man: WA area? You do know how large an area you're talking out, right? Puget Sound or Portland? You really need to be more specific. The answer in Seattle will be different than Bellingham, Blaine or Tacoma. Really, help us to help you out here. How big a boat, too, would help.
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Old 23-10-2018, 11:21   #3
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Re: Is it hard to find moorage in your area? Resources to look at?

Hi Stu, yes I should've been more specific, just updated my post.

Just wanted to know if folks here experience the same problem when looking for docks and share their wisdom on how they usually go about this problem, resource they use.
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Old 23-10-2018, 11:33   #4
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Re: Is it hard to find moorage in your area? Resources to look at?

Telephone marinas, one by one. It's not a good sign when the answer is to laugh at you.

Approximately a 3-year waiting list for 30 foot slips here, 5-10 years for larger slips. In the mean time, moor 100 miles away where slips are more available, or anchor out. Opportunities for anchoring are very limited here.

The waiting lists aren't quite as bad as they seem at first, because a lot of names on the list already have a slip but are angling for a better slip. IIRC, I was number 12 or so on the list when I got my slip, because those higher up all refused it, and consequently went back to the end of the list. Obviously, these sorts of rules may vary between marinas.
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Old 24-10-2018, 04:16   #5
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Re: Is it hard to find moorage in your area? Resources to look at?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, MJ.
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Old 24-10-2018, 10:15   #6
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Re: Is it hard to find moorage in your area? Resources to look at?

In Seattle Puget Sound area, it varies wildly from one marina to another. For example, when I was looking for a slip a couple of seasons ago, Shilshole had a three-year waiting list for my boat length, EBM had 8 slips available...
In general, there are plenty of slips available during winter because of boats that get taken out of the water for various reasons (but most do not extend into the summer). I believe the situation actually changes every sailing season.
This past summer, AFAIK (second hand information), EBM was full, while Shilshole had a few openings early in the season.
It is also unclear (to me) what are the factors that make one marina more sought for than another... (it is not just price/location/amenities alone...).
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Old 24-10-2018, 10:36   #7
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Re: Is it hard to find moorage in your area? Resources to look at?

Be glad you're not asking about San Francisco Bay! I know friends on some places that are estimating 10 years or more in the coveted range (35-40'). I found going directly to the harbor offices to be the best approach here. Many of us around here also believe these "waiting lists" are elusive top secret documents but some can be known especially those that require a fee every year to stay on them. This sounds like an Active Captain-type of problem to solve....
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Old 24-10-2018, 10:42   #8
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Re: Is it hard to find moorage in your area? Resources to look at?

There are usually slips available in La Conner, WA. What size are you looking 4?
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Old 24-10-2018, 17:19   #9
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Re: Is it hard to find moorage in your area? Resources to look at?

We live on our boat in the Seattle area. We have had our current boat now for @ 3 years and it is difficult to find moorage in many locations here, especially as you get closer to Seattle.

I know of no website that lists multiple marinas and their current status for availability. We found the best way was to contact each individual marina directly and speak to the harbor master. We have recently returned from a year in Alaska and we were able to find winter moorage in Kingston this way. When we first got back at the end of summer, we managed to stay in Elliott Bay Marina for 2 months, but that was the limit for them; and neither Shilshole nor Fisherman's Terminal had moorage available for the winter. For permanent moorage spots, the waiting lists at Shilshole and Elliott Bay Marinas are in multiple years for most popular boat lengths. Elliott Bay does not have liveaboards (there are some grandfathered in) but liveaboard spots in Shilshole are even longer waiting periods.

You might try some marinas a little farther north like Blaine or Bellingham. If you don't need to be next to Seattle, those might be good options.
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