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Old 25-12-2014, 22:43   #1
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Slip or Mooring

For a year now (since I bought my boat) I've kept it under the care of a yacht management company and inside a slip. As I've learned more about repairing and maintaining the boat on my own, I've downgraded the management agreement to cover only the basics - like checking to ensure water isn't filling the boat, opening the hatches on nice days to air things out, etc. This change has saved some meaningful money without doing any harm to me or the boat. I'm now wondering if I might give up the slip and the management or just the management, the goal being additional cost savings.

My questions for you all are:
  • How do you keep your boats when you're away from them?
  • Is a boat on a mooring in greater peril than one in a slip?
  • How critical is 'management oversight' of things like water coming into the boat?
  • Can the risks the reduced to acceptable levels by properly prepping the boat after each use?
  • Is there a minimum amount of oversight or management that's required for a boat you can't get to in less than 1 day?
  • Are there proven technologies that can remove the need for human managers? I've seen remote reporting systems - are these to be trusted?

Before replying, consider my situation: I live 3,500km away from my boat. It's on sunny Phuket in Thailand and I'm in smoggy Shanghai, China. It's a 5 hour flight between the two locations. I travel to Phuket regularly for sailing trips - averaging a trip every 2 months in 2014. The boat is kept is good condition and does not present any issues that I believe would make leaving it on a mooring more unsafe than usual. PO actually kept the boat on a mooring (next to the marina where it's currently slipped) for 6~8 months before I bought it (but he also lives on Phuket, not far from the boat's location).

I'd like to reduce the overhead cost of keeping the boat, but also do not want to risk loss of the boat just to save a few bucks.

PS: Boat is a 36' mono-hull and carries basic liability insurance.

All feedback and advice appreciated.
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Old 25-12-2014, 23:15   #2
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Re: Slip or Mooring

Possibly dumb questions...

Is there an option of putting the boat in dry storage at the marina and having the marina launch the boat just in time for each of your visits?

How safe is Phuket/marina/moorings from storms, and does the marina execute a storm plan for slipped or moored boats?

Is there a harbour master, neighbour, or service that will periodically check a boat in the mooring field?

Does the marina have a water taxi or would you keep a dinghy at the marina or somewhere nearby?

Who runs the moorings and how big is the price difference between moorings and slips?

How are the moorings installed, inspected, maintained, assured to be safe? Or could you dive on and inspect the mooring?
Do the boats on nearby moorings appear to have "bulletproof" mooring set-ups and look to be well maintained and supervised?
What's downwind of the mooring fields and is it sharp or hard?
What kind of traffic is in or near the mooring field?
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Old 26-12-2014, 00:57   #3
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Re: Slip or Mooring

Quote:
Is there an option of putting the boat in dry storage at the marina and having the marina launch the boat just in time for each of your visits?
No such option.

Quote:
How safe is Phuket/marina/moorings from storms, and does the marina execute a storm plan for slipped or moored boats?
The marina and slips are safe, and with the management company there's someone checking the fenders and dock lines on a regular basis.

Mooring isn't associated with the marina, instead it's privately owned and operated.

Quote:
Is there a harbour master, neighbour, or service that will periodically check a boat in the mooring field?
I can arrange for someone (a friend) to do this, but as this is an individual and not a business, I'll have no recourse if this person fails in their duties.

Quote:
Does the marina have a water taxi or would you keep a dinghy at the marina or somewhere nearby?
There are water taxis.

Quote:
Who runs the moorings and how big is the price difference between moorings and slips?
Slip is $300 a month. Mooring is $100 a month.

Management fee is also $300 a month. Might be I simply need to drop this and keep the boat in the slip. That way it's tied up somewhere, the marina will keep half and eye on it, and I will have easy access to it whenever I'm there.

As mentioned previously, moorings are run by individuals - locals who have businesses (mainly restaurants) on the water next to the mooring field.

Quote:
How are the moorings installed, inspected, maintained, assured to be safe? Or could you dive on and inspect the mooring?
Uncertain. Will have to take the mooring owners at their word on quality of the hardware. I can try to dive on the mooring, but water in this area is very murky.

Quote:
Do the boats on nearby moorings appear to have "bulletproof" mooring set-ups and look to be well maintained and supervised?
There are quite a few (20+) boats in the mooring field. I've yet to hear of any horror stories during all of my visits.

Quote:
What's downwind of the mooring fields and is it sharp or hard?
Local area is mud and sand banks. There aren't many sharp-hard things other than other boats.

Quote:
What kind of traffic is in or near the mooring field?
Being right next to the marina, quite a lot of traffic from other sailboats and dinghies. Nothing big or commercial going through there though.



As I think through this, I'm leaning more towards just leaving the boat in the slip and dropping the management company. So, perhaps I should adjust the question here...

What's the feedback on having a boat in a slip 3,500km away without a management company to check on dock lines, fenders, water filling the boat, etc? Safe? Stupid?
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Old 26-12-2014, 03:07   #4
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Re: Slip or Mooring

American, Different situation, but we keep our 41' Beneteau on our rented private mooring in the BVI's year round. It is a "group" boat so she is used 10 months of the year. Our mechanic keeps an eye on her for us and will place her into a slip in the event of a named windstorm as the insurance in not valid on a swinging mooring in that event. We have the mooring inspected and repaired as necessary annually by a professional mooring maintenance company. The boat has a wind generator to keep the AGM batteries topped off and the bilge pumps active for residual water. There is always someone around with a dinghy to get a ride out to her to get our dinghy and the same when departing. This has proven satisfactory over the years. Hope this is of some help! gts1544 - George
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Old 26-12-2014, 07:14   #5
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Re: Slip or Mooring

Why not move it to a mooring saving $500 a month and put some of that savings into added insurance that covers the boat. I bet you probably aren't any better protected with the slip and management agreement as I'm sure you probably signed something that says they aren't liable for issues. So its probably better to have better insurance anyway.
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Old 26-12-2014, 08:52   #6
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Re: Slip or Mooring

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Originally Posted by maytrix View Post
Why not move it to a mooring saving $500 a month and put some of that savings into added insurance that covers the boat. I bet you probably aren't any better protected with the slip and management agreement as I'm sure you probably signed something that says they aren't liable for issues. So its probably better to have better insurance anyway.
Agreed, if you can get insurance that would cover you on a mooring, that is probably the better option. The boat may sink but assuming you got coverage that includes you being away from the boat and the boat on that particular mooring, worst case they cut you a check and you get a new boat.

Also, I'm guessing but is labor fairly cheap? Can you could find a local for a lot less to go out periodically and take a look? That would avoid needing to use the insurance and may give the insurance underwriter more comfort issuing the policy.

The vast majority of boats in US waters do not have maintenance contracts for slip or mooring. People go home after the weekend and the boat is left to it's own devices often for weeks at a time.

Of course, translate this into local legal and insurance requirments as I am not up to date on those.
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Old 26-12-2014, 11:03   #7
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Re: Slip or Mooring

A mooring requires the boat have someone actively watching it. Had one period with our boat when I had to swim out to the boat in 40k winds over a 2 week period to check the mooring pennants and change the wear areas on them. Takes a pretty dedicated boat watcher to do that. A slip, in a PROTECTED/SECURE marina, requires virtually no supervision other than being sure it's not slowly sinking. If Phuket is prone to hurricanes, a maintenance contract would be another story.

Kept my boat in Alameda, CA while living in Hawaii. Made it back to the boat 4-6 times a year for 1-4 week stays. Had a fellow boat owner who was on his boat most weekends a few slips down that kept an eye on the boat for me. FWIW, my periodic vistations to the boat were way more use and/or care than most of the boats in the marina.
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Old 06-03-2015, 15:21   #8
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Re: Slip or Mooring

How much is your slip fee in Phuket for long term slip stay? You can get it cheaper with seasonal rental. If free wifi, I would rig a ip based camera at the hull to see if boat's hull water depth to replace the management fee. Then, I would increase insurance with savings..


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Old 06-03-2015, 21:31   #9
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Re: Slip or Mooring

I am surprise that Phuket is charging that much for a slip. I would renegotiate it
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Old 07-03-2015, 00:00   #10
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Re: Slip or Mooring

Thanks again for the replies thus far. I'm still trying to make a decision on this topic, as I grow less satisfied with the quality of service I'm getting from the management company. It's starting to feel like keeping a slip and just leaving the boat there (without management) would be preferred to the current situation (a slip + management).

Quote:
How much is your slip fee in Phuket for long term slip stay? You can get it cheaper with seasonal rental. If free wifi, I would rig a ip based camera at the hull to see if boat's hull water depth to replace the management fee. Then, I would increase insurance with savings..
As stated above, it's ~$300USD per month. The only discounts offered at these marinas are for annual contracts, paid for in advance. There are no "seasons" on Phuket in the normal sense. People are using boats year-round, and slips are always in high demand.

There's wifi in the marina, but being Thailand, the signal is unreliable. Half the time the router needs resetting; rest of the time, Internet to the marina in general is down.

As such, I'm working on a home-built monitoring solution using off-the-shelf components. This includes a GSM cellular connected micro-controller with a variety of sensors (battery voltage, bilge switch, temp/humidity, and hatch open/close switches).

Devices like this can be bought ready-made, but cost upwards of $500USD and require a service plan at $100~$200 per year. I can build something similar (and better) for less than $100 - and costing no more than $10/year for SIM data.

With this device installed, I believe the "boat monitoring" aspect of the management company's services would no longer be required.

Quote:
I am surprise that Phuket is charging that much for a slip. I would renegotiate it
Can you provide some background for this comment? Have you been to Thailand? Kept a boat on Phuket? Where? And at what price-per-foot? What's the LOA of the boat you kept there? If you have knowledge of cheaper slips, please pass it along.

My research - which includes visiting most of the marinas on the island - leads me to believe that the prices at Yacht Haven (where I keep my boat) are the cheapest of any of the Phuket marinas. My price (per foot) is further reduced by the fact that the management company is passing along their bulk discount to me.

Quote:
Kept my boat in Alameda, CA while living in Hawaii. Made it back to the boat 4-6 times a year for 1-4 week stays.
Roverhi, just curious - any issues with the engine as a result of the time between visits (and starting of the engine)? I've heard some people say these engines (mine's a Yanmar 3-cylinder) should be started and run once a week for 10 minutes. Any feedback on this idea?

This, and airing of the boat, are my two main concerns when thinking about leaving the boat alone on its own for months at a time. Other aspects I can handle via remote monitoring.
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Old 07-03-2015, 00:56   #11
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Re: Slip or Mooring

I can't add to this conversation with any knowledge at all because I'm in Tasmania, Australia. But just wanted to comment on my surprise at how much a mooring costs.

We own our moorings here, and pay $75 a year to the local marine authority for a permit to have the mooring. The tackle costs between $1400 to $1800, but that's a once off fee and its owned. My insurance and local yacht club requires mooring inspection certificate every two years.

A slip here is between $3000 to $4000 per year for power site with own deck.
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Old 07-03-2015, 01:00   #12
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Re: Slip or Mooring

I use portbooker.com for research. You can do comparative price search... Since I don't know your boat well you can type your data and find out.. It has phone number so you can call and verify the slip fee.. Hope it helps and let me know if data is accurate.


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Old 07-03-2015, 01:30   #13
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Re: Slip or Mooring

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rustic Charm View Post
I can't add to this conversation with any knowledge at all because I'm in Tasmania, Australia. But just wanted to comment on my surprise at how much a mooring costs.

A slip here is between $3000 to $4000 per year for power site with own deck.
The prices I've mentioned are for a slip (berth) with AC power and fresh water (metered and extra). $300USD per month = $3600USD per year = ~4600AUD per year.

I believe the supply/demand situation in Phuket is different than what's found in Australia or the US, hence the higher prices.
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Old 07-03-2015, 01:39   #14
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Re: Slip or Mooring

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Originally Posted by american View Post
The prices I've mentioned are for a slip (berth) with AC power and fresh water (metered and extra). $300USD per month = $3600USD per year = ~4600AUD per year.

I believe the supply/demand situation in Phuket is different than what's found in Australia or the US, hence the higher prices.
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Old 07-03-2015, 01:51   #15
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Re: Slip or Mooring

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Originally Posted by captamerica View Post
I use portbooker.com for research. You can do comparative price search... Since I don't know your boat well you can type your data and find out.. It has phone number so you can call and verify the slip fee.. Hope it helps and let me know if data is accurate.
As I mentioned before, I already called and/or visited most of the marinas around Phuket. If you've never been there or kept a boat there... I'm not sure why you felt compelled to suggest I'm paying too much.

The website you mentioned returns prices in excess of $1000USD per month for a slip at any of the available marinas. Seems the data is far from accurate.
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