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Old 15-10-2013, 11:01   #1
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Stay anywhere for free?

Hi. I'm new here and have never sailed before but am extremely interested in it. I know that marinas can be costly. Is it always free to drop anchor off shore or in a harbor in allowed areas anywhere in the world?
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Old 15-10-2013, 11:04   #2
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Re: Stay anywhere for free?

Naturally it is usually free to drop anchor, IF you are allowed to anchor. Everywhere in the world, anchoring gets more and more restricted, but there are still plenty of spaces left.

You cannot anchor in a harbour. Free berthing in a harbour would be rare.

One word of caution: if you don't know sailing and are worried about marina costs, it might be (just might be) that you're underestimating the costs of running a boat. Marina costs are not the only factor to make boats costly. Just sayin'.


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Old 15-10-2013, 11:08   #3
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Re: Stay anywhere for free?

it is never really free,in a lot of places you may be able to anchor free of charge,but by the time you have paid check in fees,harbour dues,immigration,health,quarentine fees, cruising permit,fuel at an inflated price,paid to tie up your dinghy........etc

it does not seem so cheap any more
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Old 15-10-2013, 11:19   #4
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Re: Stay anywhere for free?

Even thought I'm not a sailor, I know there are LOTS of expenses. From everything you could think of and not think of. Just a thought. It would be years before I bought my first boat. Just gathering info. Baby steps. I would like to own a 30-40' live aboard sail boat. I could purchase one now but would be kind of pointless unless I had more funds to keep her going.
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Old 15-10-2013, 11:39   #5
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Re: Stay anywhere for free?

Not free but usually a good deal, cheaper than buying a waterfront condo.

We had looked at condo's before we hit on the boat thing. With a sailboat and decent dinghy you can get to most any beach and you can move it about with the added enjoyment of sailing.

Around our area a beachfront condo cost at least $200k up front and $350 in dues a month.

Depending on how much work your willing to do you can get a decent 30ish sailboat for under $15k and make her right. As a non-full time liveaboard Marina fees would be about $350 a month for a slip, $200 for a mooring or you can put it on the hook for free and take your chances.

When traveling you can be on the hook and save. Added bonus of getting a passport and going anyplace in the world you want and having your stuff with you.
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Old 15-10-2013, 11:42   #6
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Re: Stay anywhere for free?

I thought moorings and marinas were the same? What is the difference?


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Old 15-10-2013, 12:06   #7
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Re: Stay anywhere for free?

Depends on the country. I think across the pond Morrings also refers to dockage at a slip.

My understanding

Slip- at a dock. Very nice

Mooring- A ball on a chain/cable attached to a heavy weight. Less swing than an anchor and if done right will not drag, my marina has a field of them, you can dinghy in and use the facilities and store your ding on some racks at the marina.

Anchor- You can drop the hook anyplace not designated a channel or mooring field or cable crossing. The issue is what to do with your dinghy once you get ashore.

Other options are private docks, lots of people rent those out for a decent price, it is just finding one that is the challenge.
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Old 15-10-2013, 12:56   #8
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Re: Stay anywhere for free?

Donkey Jaw, I see you're from North Carolina. Check out Claiborne Young's cruiser's net for some great info on anchorages, free (short term) dockage and marinas: Cruiser's Net. This will help you out with the east coast at least! We use it all the time and have contributed information a couple of times.
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Old 15-10-2013, 13:20   #9
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Re: Stay anywhere for free?

We've never had to pay to anchor. However, when criusing to a foreign (non-US), there may be fees for entry, exit, cruising permits, fishing license, etc.
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Old 15-10-2013, 13:57   #10
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Re: Stay anywhere for free?

it's also free to sleep on the park bench or in your RV at the truck stop and plenty of people do it. but you still need things like food and water and toilet facilities and clean clothes and maybe even a job. if your boat cannot provide these things then it might be better to stay at a marina or mooring field like most liveaboards do
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Old 15-10-2013, 15:19   #11
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Re: Stay anywhere for free?

Plenty of places to stay for free, but maybe not the best during a storm. As well as easy access to land objectives..... internet, super market, gas station....etc.

Marinas are nice after you've dropped your hook for a while. As much as we all act like it everyone is still more "westernized" then they'll admit.
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Old 15-10-2013, 20:32   #12
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Re: Stay anywhere for free?

Thanks for the response guys!
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