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Old 03-09-2006, 13:08   #1
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Stay away from money-hungry Salty Sam's in Fort Myers, Florida

Hello every one! You would never believe this!! My boyfriend and I went to Fort Myers to check out a few marinas. Salty Sam's was ridiculous. Don't go there unless you love job interviews and have either a fat wallet or no cars. For one, they have to do a personal interview to even rent you a slip. Then if you are a liveaboard he has to see your boat to make sure it is worthy of being seen in his marina. Here is the best part.....they charge for parking. $10/day per car or $210/month per car. We have two cars..talk about outrageous. It is less to keep your car at an airport. When will this nonsense stop?
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Old 03-09-2006, 13:38   #2
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Nikki, all that you've said is that some man who owns a private property is setting his standards for admission a bit higher than you want to pay.

Could be that the folks in that marina think he's a fascist. Or, that they think he maintains high standards and they gladly pay the price because of it.
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Old 03-09-2006, 14:03   #3
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Actually, to be honest with you hellosailor, that particular marina was no better than any other marina. In fact, I can count on one hand how many boats were actually there. That marina was THE emptiest marina I have seen. By the way, it is not about the price. We would pay whatever need be for the security of our home. However, the location and lack-of amenities the marina offered, it wasn't worth it. The parking lot that you have to pay for is not even protected. It basically looks like a typical open parking lot that anyone has readily available access. It sits next to a restaurant. To me, if you are going to charge for parking, especially that obscene amount of money, then it better be in a gargage protected from others along with a gate. I am sure others would agree with me on that one.
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Old 03-09-2006, 15:09   #4
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WOW!!!! We were there in April and really enjoyed Salty Sam's. The rate were comparable to other marinas, the shower facilities were OK (not great) and we were never "interviewed" nor were we charged for parking a rental car there for 3-4 nights. Also, I did see a security guard on duty after the restaurant closed. They were just finishing the new docks, that may be why they're not full yet.
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Old 03-09-2006, 17:22   #5
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Hello understands market forces. Ol' Sam will either be able to turn a profit this way, or adjust his pricing structure and/or ameneties to attract more business, or attract investment by selling the "potential" to prospective investors to prolong his negative cash flow, or go out of business. Supply of slips and local demand will determine the general climate.

Good luck to you in your search.
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Old 03-09-2006, 18:39   #6
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Yep, Supply and demand will rule the business in the end.

Nikki, I do (very very Politly) ask that you be careful how you comment about others when they have no ability to defend themselves with a reply. It's just something we advice so as we don't end up with free for all slinging matches like some sites have gooten themselves into. You have to realise that if this is a private Marina, the guy has all the right in the world to charge and accept what ever clientel he wants. Like you, people will vote with their feet and either he changes his policy, or he ends up with empty holes in the water. But if some choose to pay the doe and live to the rules asked of them and are happy, that is up to them.
Now if it was a Public Marina and these things are happening, then it is a whole different story. We have an issue with what we are paying here. A rediculouse amount of money than many Marina's in other parts of the country. And little service to go with it. And what's worse is it is owened by a private company that is owned by our local governing body. And the attitude of the Marina Authority is, "don't like it, tuff, we have a waitning list, go somewhere else. But the next closest Marina is 70Nm away and a 1.5hr car journey. So what do you do.
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Old 04-09-2006, 00:38   #7
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Wheels,
Would the marina you refer to be the one in the sounds where the ferries come in, or the other little one?
We were planning on wintering over in the sounds on our aimless voyage around NZ, starting next year. Wouldn't like to go where I wasn't welcome...

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Old 04-09-2006, 01:17   #8
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Picton, Waikawa and Havelock are all owned by the Port Marlborough. Port Marlborough is owned by the Marlborough District Council.
I have a birth in Havelock. My vessel is 14m and it costs me $375/month. That's a bit over $5K/yr. If I was in Waikawa, it is another $1K/yr. If I lived onboard, it is another $1K a year on top again.
How does that compare to Tauranga????
If you are wintering over down, there is a small Marina at Portage that is about $1500/yr, but tends to be rather exposed to the Nor'Wester.
As for being Welcome, Mate, if the Marina doesn't make you feel welcome, we'll ensure you are :-)
Here's a thought. We have a good boating club down with 60+ moorings scattered all around the sounds. For $80.00 you could join and get to use all the club moorings for free.
Or at the cost a Beer or Wine and some hospitality, you can raft up to us when ever you want.
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Old 04-09-2006, 02:51   #9
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Thanks for the info.
We are keen trampers so its nice to know that we could leave the boat on a mooring instead of swinging off the pick when we're away bush-bashing.
We live in Tauranga but the boat lives in Gulf Harbour, Auckland. A 13.5m berth rental costs $496 a month, a huge amount and ever increasing. That's why we are off cruising - we reckon its cheaper!
Look forward to dropping in some time in the future.

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Old 04-09-2006, 13:39   #10
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Yeah we keep getting the comment when complaining that rent is too high, "oh but we are much cheaper than Auckland". Wippeedoo. Auckland has much higher quality facilities, including the births. I'm on a rickity ole board walk jetty. They supply no fenders at all anywhere. If I want fenders, I have to buy "there's". There are better Concrete floating pairs with fender strips, but that is another $1K/yr more.
I can only go out two hrs eitherside of high due to the shallow narrow channel, So I have a restriction there as well. They say that part of what we pay is for regular dredging, but it is dredged to 1.8m and it was something like 5yrs ago since it was last done.
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Old 04-09-2006, 19:20   #11
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We too had a negative experience with Salty Sam just a few months ago. We arrived for the first time in the harbor and were hailed by Salty Sam and told we must pick up one of their moorings or a slip if we intended to stay for the day or the night. We indicated that we might prefer to anchor instead since we arrived at 5 PM in the afternoon and were leaving at sun up the next morning. We were told by salty Sam's that we could not anchor within a thousand feet of their mooring fields and that means the entire harbor is off limits for anchoring since they have been licensed by the city to over see the mooring fields. We were pretty much told that if we did not want one of their slips or did not take one of their moorings we should probably leave. So we did just that, and anchored outside the harbor for the night. They flat out refused to give us any local information or any information at all once we announced that we probably would not avail ourselves of their services. I am sure this attitude is solely to provide better services to their existing customers. Had they been a little friendlier and professional perhaps we would have changed our minds. But we will never return and have let others that are heading in that direction know of our experiences so they can decide if they would like to visit Salty Sam's.
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Old 04-09-2006, 21:03   #12
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I am a little confused here. So this "salty sam" owns the entire harbour???? Could someone explain the layout of this area a bit more so as I can understand. I mean, unless this place is a private enclosed harbour owned by SS, no one "owns" a mmoring feild. They own the mooring's, but not the area surely???
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Old 05-09-2006, 08:18   #13
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Hi Wheels,
I do not live in that area but have visited the Ft. Meyers Beach area in the past and have anchored in the area in question when it was OK to do so. Here is the situation as I understand it (and I invite corrections if I am incorrect). There was a public anchoring area between the two islands that compose the City of Ft. Meyers Beach. It so happened that this anchorage lay in front of Salty Sam's Marina (note Salty Sam is a business name and not an individual). The city claims ownership to the bottom of the bay between the two islands and wants to establish a city-owned mooring field for several reasons, not the least of which is to discourage certain types of liveabords and to remove ugly (?) and/or derelict boats. The mooring field is established and Salty Sam is given authority to manage it for the City because the city has no public marina or staff to handle this new mooring field. I would suspect but do not know that Salty Sam gets a percentage of the fees for doing the City's work. Renting a slip in the marina and getting a mooring are two entirely different situations with different entities involved, one being a private business and the other being a private business acting on the City's behalf. Some cities in Florida that are establishing mooring fields seem to be very concerned about liablities and make lots of regulations and requirements and have complex or lengthy forms to fill out. For example, I've been told the application for the city-run mooring field at Marathon, FL is 7 pages long. Regarding the high cost for long-term parking at Salty Sam's. While some marinas that allow liveaboards allow free parking for those clients, others charge something for that. In this case it appears they may be trying to discourage all but the very wealthiest liveaboards.
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Old 05-09-2006, 11:02   #14
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Wheels, in the US underwater lands can be owned--and often are owned--privately. In the case of Florida the State of Florida owns most of it and delegates right down to municipalities in some areas, which is probably why the town of Fort Meyers lays claim to their mooring field. There's nothing on the USCG charts to indicate any public anchorage in that area. (In other places, you will find USCG designated "general anchorage" or "special anchorage" areas.)

Sometimes the bottom land (underwater real estate, yes) ownership goes back to Crown Patent from the English Crown but as these parts of Florida go back to Spanish ownership...that will be different from the rest of the Eastern US. (Our laws are still a bit of a quilt, i.e. Louisiana still takes precedent from the Napoleanic Code and has Parishes instead of Counties.)

The right of passage--of navigation--in "navigable waters" is open to all. But as many folks refuse to understand, "navigation" here has been held repeatedly by the courts to mean PASSING THROUGH and not dropping the hook to stay at your leisure. Anyone can sail through that area, you just can't drop the hook and stay without either a pressing need (i.e. you are storm damaged and cannot safely proceed) or by using the mooring in conformance with local codes. If that sounds unreasonable, consider that we are also allowed to walk, and sometimes drive, anywhere anytime on a public right of way. But, we are not allowed to make camp on it. AFAIK that's the norm worldwide, you can pass over a right of way--but you can't pitch your tend and "sojourn" on it.

http://www.saltysamsmarina.com/mooringfield.cfm
That's the marina's page about their situation as harbormaster for the town mooring fields. Seems like they are being up front about setting a high standard including holding tank compliance. This entire area (Sanibel Island, Ft. Meyers, etc.) used to be Florida's laid back west coast but for the past 20-30 years it has become a very typical Florida war, between the locals and the rich tourists and immigrants coming in and buying out the locals and the way of life.
Sounds like this is just another chapter in the same war, if you don't have serious money, a lot of Florida doesn't want you. Except, to haul the trash.

On the other hand the RATES seem very reasonable:
"$13/day, $260.00 a month [up to 58' OAL] Rates include holding tank pump out, dinghy docks, shower and bathroom facilities, and use of garbage and recycling bins. Pump out is typically provided by a pump out vessel and all other services/amenities can be found at Salty Sam's upland facilities"

Dunno if you've heard of these on that side of the world...An author named John D. McDonald (MacDonald?) happened to write a "detective" series which are now considered the start of a subgenre of "Florida novels". About a character named Travis McGee who lived on a houseboat he won in a poker game, therefore named "Busted Flush", in Fort Lauderdale. (He's written some more famous individual works as well.) Along the length of the series, the character mourns the changes and the passing of the Florida he knew. Well...anyone who sails, reads mysteries, and knows the area, probably has read them. And can appreciate that it HAS changed down there.
Florida has always had a reputation as a state where money bought whatever it wanted and the rest of the little folk just had to deal with it. Nothing new here. A semi-broke PI couldn't afford to tie up a DINGHY at the Bahia Mar Marina now, much less a houseboat.

FWIW the charts of the Fort Meyers area show a lot of pilings, submerged pilings, spoil areas...the kind of things that indicate there's been a lot of "private" ownership of the water there, for a long time. And a lot of abandonment and deterioration. I guess the moneyed class ran out of better beaches to take over.
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Old 05-09-2006, 13:29   #15
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The ownership of "seabed" has been a hotly contested and on going argument here in NZ as well. Kiwi's insist that no one own's the seabed, but local bodies still want to charge for the area you take up on a mooring, marine farm or what have you. So far the charge has remained low and it is considered more of a "yearly registration fee" for the local body to administer with.
We of the South heard rumours that Auckland council powers were going to start charging for seabed useage, but I don't know if this is true or not.
I don't mind that so much, what gets my blood boiling is when you are not given a choice and then charged like a wounded bull. Here, we have no other choice of a place to birth. It is a majority company, no opposition to keep them honest. There are no swing moorings. The Port company also charge for the use of the slipway to launch a trailer boat. There are no other choices of slipway. So the charges are high. Over the hill from us is another large city. The situation is very different with public amenities along with the Port ones. So the prices are significantly cheaper over there. Compitition has kept the price down.

By the way Nikki, sorry I thought Salty Sam was an individual that you had had a negative dealing with.
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