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Old 05-04-2016, 14:50   #1
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Leaving boat at out of state marina

I'm getting close to purchasing my first boat - which is about 800 miles away from me. I'm thinking of leaving the boat there for a few months until the weather is more favorable for coming down the pacific coast. That's going to mean I will at best be around half the time. What can I do to make sure the boat is safe at the marina when I'm out of state? I'm not going to know anyone at the marina.
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Old 05-04-2016, 14:54   #2
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Re: Leaving boat at out of state marina

Lock the door and don't leave obviously valuable stuff in sight. Don't bother with extremes as that just means they have to break things to get in and the damage is likely more than the stuff that would be stolen.


800 miles, 80 miles or 8 miles...the vast majority of boats aren't visited on a daily basis, so it doesn't make a lot of difference.
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Old 05-04-2016, 15:01   #3
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Re: Leaving boat at out of state marina

I have never had anything taken off my boat at anchor or in a marina.

We kept clean decks, and there was nothing out that was worth stealing.

I would be more concerned about doubling up the dock lines and extra fenders than I would be about theft.
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Old 05-04-2016, 15:08   #4
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Leaving boat at out of state marina

Of course it depends on the marina location. Is there any special reason you are concerned? I've never had a problem in a decent marina. I've heard of theft of some items that weren't secured like bikes or outboard motors. You might introduce yourself to a nearby boat owner and ask them to keep a friendly eye out. Let them know no one but you is expected to be on the boat.


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Old 05-04-2016, 15:12   #5
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Re: Leaving boat at out of state marina

Commuted 2000 plus miles to the boat for 5 years, had no problems. Be sure the bilge pump works and the batteries stay charged. Might get a counter so you know if the bilge pump is cycling. If it is, find the leak(s) and fix them. I added a second bilge automatic bilge pump just to be safe. Take everything off the deck that is easily removable and store below. Make friends with as many of your boat's neighbors as you. Get there numbers and give them yours. Carefully look over the mooring lines and replace those that are showing wear. If there is surge in the slip, use spring lines. If you are going to be away more than a month or two, might want to contract with someone to wash the boat down occasionally so it doesn't look abandoned.

Could have sunk my boat last week and it's only 5 minutes from home, now. Had pulled the engine and was working on the battery installation and had them disconnected. Had a diver clean the prop for me while I wasn't there and he pushed the shaft forward just a little bit while doing so. That little movement of the shaft was enough to break the seal on the dripless seal. Overnight the slow leak from the shaft filled the bilge to within a inch of the sole. Fortunately went down to the boat the next morning and discovered the water. Pushed the shaft back in position to stop the leak, hooked up the battery, pumped out the water and all was well. Just a caution to not leave the boat with any problem that could sink it. It never occurred to me that the dripless shaft seal could leak without the pressure of the engine/transmission holding it in place. The engine had been sitting on the cabin sole for a month with no issues till the prop was cleaned.
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Old 05-04-2016, 15:22   #6
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Re: Leaving boat at out of state marina

Not worried so much about theft as I am about it coming loose, getting a leak, etc. I plan to use a marina with WiFi - then I can have an internet camera on board that I can use to kinda check it out. It keeping it tied to the dock and not getting into trouble (fender gone and now rubbing against the dock for instance) that I'm concerned about
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Old 05-04-2016, 17:06   #7
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Re: Leaving boat at out of state marina

Somebody works at the marina. Flip 'em a $50, or whatever seems right to you, and tell them that if they can keep an eye on the boat for you and call you if there's any problem, you'll be appreciative.


Amazing how that can work.
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Old 05-04-2016, 20:44   #8
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Re: Leaving boat at out of state marina

I've left Freeform on various moorings and marinas in a number of different countries. Often places have someone trusted that you can pay a few bucks to watch over your boat. I've never had a problem, shut the seacocks off, I flush engine,outboard and head with fresh water and then don't worry. Also depending where I am and how long I'm leaving for, I will leave a couple of bowls of bleach onboard that helps minimize mold. Some get their engine kicked over once or so a week, I'm happy to not have someone play with my expensive motor, they may not notice such things as no water coming out the back etc.
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:28   #9
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Re: Leaving boat at out of state marina

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Somebody works at the marina. Flip 'em a $50, or whatever seems right to you, and tell them that if they can keep an eye on the boat for you and call you if there's any problem, you'll be appreciative.


Amazing how that can work.
Unless they are not the honest type. Marina staff have been implicated in many thefts in my experience over the years when they hire kids and pay them next to nothing.

Those with more at stake and understanding are the liveaboards and your dock mates. Get to know them. Get their phone numbers and give them yours. Just like home, a good relationship with your neighbors goes a long way. When you find one you trust, give them a key.

It has worked both ways for us as liveaboards and as once a month commuters.

If there is not one already, we have normally setup an email list for the dock to keep an eye on each others boats and schedule cook outs or happy hours.
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:56   #10
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Re: Leaving boat at out of state marina

Well of course, anyone can be incompetent. Or dishonest. Or a major scam artist out on parole. But you take that chance with any transaction. Whether you run background checks or simply take hostages, how you choose to ensure performance is a whole other issue.
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Old 06-04-2016, 12:13   #11
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Re: Leaving boat at out of state marina

I leave the humidifier running plus have the bottom cleaned once a month. He also has a key and walks by our boat every day.
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Old 06-04-2016, 12:42   #12
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Re: Leaving boat at out of state marina

I leave mine on the hard for months at a time and don't go down to visit it all winter. There's not much difference between 20 miles and 2000 miles. You're not going to prevent problems unless your on it 24 x 7. Being able to readily travel there won't undue damage done.

unless you're leaving it in an unprotected yard in a seedy part of town, you should be fine. I'd expect there is a dockmaster or yardmaster who generally keeps an eye on things anyway. Let that individual know you've be gone for long periods of time and they should be keeping an eye on it for you.

Most damage occurs from the act of breaking. They can't steal anything if the boat is empty. I prefer to leave the boat unlocked. Go in, walk around, ho hum.....leave.
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Old 06-04-2016, 13:11   #13
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Re: Leaving boat at out of state marina

Been there, doing this... our boat is 800 miles away for the foreseeable future.

Good advice already posted, what I would add:
1) Pick a marina with locked gates... not perfect but helps a lot
2) Give your name and contact info out to the boats around your slip... leave a note in a zip lock on their deck if they're not around so they get it next time they're there.
3) Post a large note in an easily visible portlight on the slip side of your boat with your contact information and the port's contact information... that way if there's a problem hopefully someone will call you and if you don't answer they can at least call the port (lots of people don't seem to know their port's number).
4) High water alarm... put the switch for a very loud alarm slightly above the switch for your bilge pump... the note in our window is very explicit "If you hear the alarm ringing, this boat is flooding and trying to sink... please call us or the port".
5) If you meet someone who at least will be walking by your boat a lot, consider turning on a 110v light and leaving it on... that way if they walk by your boat and see that the 110 light isn't burning they know shore power has gone out to your boat for some reason (which theoretically leaves you vulnerable because your bilge pump might run out of battery power eventually).
6) Chafe gear on all your dock lines... old garden hose works great.
7) Close all through hulls (put put signs places that remind you they're closed before you try to fire up the engine or something... and obviously if you run a dehumidifier to your sink drain maybe leave that one open!).
8) Take lots of pictures of everything... partially for insurance reasons and partially because you're always going to be trying to remember how some particular part of the boat looks / works / is set up.
9) Check in yellow pages or ask at port about yacht management companies... they can come check on your boat and do whatever else you might want.
10) If, like me, you're tired of your current job, if #7 fails, move to that area and start a yacht management company

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Old 06-04-2016, 13:36   #14
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Re: Leaving boat at out of state marina

At a good marina you should have no problem. I wouldn't leave an outboard visible though. You could take any expensive electronics home with you. It sounds like west coast, so we are headed into the dry season, not a lot to worry about.
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Old 06-04-2016, 14:36   #15
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Re: Leaving boat at out of state marina

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Originally Posted by basssears View Post
9) Check in yellow pages or ask at port about yacht management companies... they can come check on your boat and do whatever else you might want.
10) If, like me, you're tired of your current job, if #9 fails, move to that area and start a yacht management company
Oops, renumbered my list... #10 was supposed to refer back to #9...
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