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Old 07-08-2006, 23:09   #1
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Slip Waiting List & Boat Purchase

I am planning on buying my first boat. I recently put my name on a waiting list for a slip in Southern California. The expected time is 1 1/2 years for the size I need (29' - 33' LOA) at the marina I chose (some had 5-10 year waits or longer). Once a slip becomes available, I have 6 months to fill it.

The question I have is how do I time the purchase of the boat. The 1 1/2 years is an estimate. Do I wait to seriously look to purchase until the 6 month period begins? What is the typical time it takes to close on the sale of a boat? Also, should I use a dealer/broker to search and make the purchase?

Presently I browse sites such as to get an idea of what is out there now. I would appreciate any advice.

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Old 07-08-2006, 23:22   #2
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man that's rough, did you look at any of the boats for sale in the marina you want your boat in? i know people often sell the slip with the boat in high demand areas. It's a long shot, but might save some headaches. Good Luck!

I guess the other option might be to get the boat you want when it becomes available and stick it in a marina that may be a bit of a hike, but at least you have the boat AND you can fill the slip when your number comes up at the marina you want.

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Old 08-08-2006, 05:40   #3
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The eternal waiting list

Buy the boat when the one you want becomes available and berth it anywhere you can find a slip.

When I bought my current boat I put my name on the waiting list to a municipal marina. I was #142. That was over a year ago. I am still #142 on the list and I know of at least three boats that have moved from the marina I am currently in to the municipal marina who were never on the list.

Where I am at the list is bunk and it only matters who you know or if you can help get the the dockmaster elected to higher political office. My advice is large campaign contibutions to the right people if you want to get into a public marina.

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Old 08-08-2006, 12:57   #4
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I discovered during our boat search in San Diego that IF you buy a boat from a local broker, often a slip becomes available rather miraculously.

Don't believe what the dockmasters tell you during a 'cold call' for slip availability. Go down to see them in person, bring a picture of your boat. Dockmasters also want to preserve the 'decorum' of their marinas - especially in So Cal - so they don't end up with a derelict craft spoiling the view for the megayachters.

If all else fails, lean on the selling broker to find you a slip. Make it a condition of the sale, and I'll bet one will be found.

Slips are available most places - you just have to learn the secret handshake....

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Old 08-08-2006, 15:02   #5
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If you find the boat that you want, at the price you want, buy it!

You can always find somewhere to moor your boat - whether it is a marina berth or swinging on a mooring, there is always somewhere. I have had my name down for a berth for about a year at the yacht club where I am a member, but it could be another year, or more, before I get a spot. I purchased my boat 8 months ago, and since then I have had 5 different moorings...but I would rahter have the boat now and a less convenient berth than not have th boat!
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Old 08-08-2006, 18:57   #6
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Welcome to southern California

Mike, I have the same problem w/ same size yacht. Bought in San Diego, tried to get into Alamitos Bay Long Beach, which is a six-minute drive from my condo, but wound up in Wilmington with my name on the LB waiting list. Now I drive twenty minutes; not super convenient, and the Port of L. A isn 't pretty like Long Beach, but I'm sailing.

The LB harbormaster (actually the kid behind the counter) gave me a list of all local marinas from Newport Beach to San Pedro, so by using Mapquest online to see where these places were while calling around, I had a slip within a reasonable commute the same day. I got busy arranging for a slip between closing the deal on the boat and going to take possession.

Calling marinas the last week of the month is the way to jump in a slip when someone pulls out. Arrange your "take possession" date to harmonize with your 1st of the month slip availability.

Good Luck
s/y Elizabeth Catalina 34 MkII
"Man must have just enough faith in himself to have adventures, and just enough doubt of himself to enjoy them." G. K. Chesterfield
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Old 08-08-2006, 19:39   #7
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You are buying a boat not a slip. Don't let the the tail wag the dog. I think enough folks already have posted really good ideas. The boat will be docked some place, so you could at least stay there for a while.
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Old 08-08-2006, 21:49   #8
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Mike - you may want to visit "The Log"'s web site ... I believe it is They have some 'side bar' hyperlinks to marinas and harbors and their "Where The Slips Are" sectional. Go to one of the local boat shows, and you can probably pick up a hard copy of that.

You may also want to fill in a bit on your profile (either click on your name or the word PROFILE at the top right of this screen) to access it.

Good luck.
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Old 08-08-2006, 22:01   #9
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A year and a half isn't bad if it is realistic. As for how long to close on a boat, that generally depends on you. You can show up, write a check, and do it in a day if you so desire, but to sensibly buy a boat will take some time, as you need to schedule a haul out, and a survey, as well as your initial viewing, your second viewing, your initial inspection, and your final inspection (and possibly one more if there are repairs to be done after the survey.)
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Old 10-08-2006, 08:30   #10
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Thanks to all for the useful advice. I'm hoping to be able to buy the boat this coming Spring. Shortly I plan on contacting a dealer/broker in my area and explain my situation to see what they can do about slips.
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Old 10-08-2006, 12:15   #11

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Another approach in a tight slip market is to use a yacht broker and make clear that the sale will not go through unless a slip is available for the boat. It is amazing what will turn up when a commision is on the line!
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Old 19-08-2006, 16:41   #12
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Thumbs up Richard/Seaclusion/Fort Myers slips


Contact me at for Fort Myers docking info.

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Old 23-01-2007, 17:14   #13
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May I ask what Marina you are looking at slipping your boat? I may have some suggestions based on that info.

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Old 23-01-2007, 17:53   #14
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Originally Posted by CaptainJeff
wound up in Wilmington with my name on the LB waiting list. Now I drive twenty minutes; not super convenient, and the Port of L. A isn 't pretty like Long Beach, but I'm sailing.
I did exactly the same thing. When I purchased my boat, I had some 'connections' and some pretty 'heavy hitters' in the marine industry looking for a slip for me. Nothing was available even with some arm twisting. Finally something turned up at California Yacht Marina in Wilmington. This is actually a nice marina but it is located in a rather dirty industrial area. There is lots of air pollution and you will have to wash your boat every two weeks to keep the airborne metal filings from the metal scrap yard from ruining your gelcoat. Consequently there is lot's of turnover there and frequent availability. The good news is that California Yacht Marina is a chain and they have about 6 marinas in the SoCal area. If you have a berth in one of their marinas, you go to the top of the list for an available slip at one of their other marinas. Some of the residents there call Wilmington the "waiting room" for that reason.

I had gone to the California Yacht Marina in San Pedro when I first looked for a slip. They told me that it would be a 3 year wait for anyone off the street. But once I took a slip at CYM in Wilmington, a slip at CYM San Pedro was made available to me in 6 months and so I moved to a much nicer marina and location.

You may have to take a slip and pay for it even before you have the boat, just to assure that you have a place to put it. I know this is expensive, but you just have to figure that it is the part of the cost of owning a boat in Southern California!

Used boats tend to do well in SoCal because the sale often includes the slip.

Good Luck!

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