Difficult financial straits force boaters to seek alternatives to marinas

MarinaBoatyard and mooring operators are seeing improved demand for affordable moorings as boat owners seek to minimise their outgoings, according to Simon Gardiner, associate director at Chesterton Humberts Southampton office.

Even as marina prices are held at last years’ levels and customer loyalty at marinas is strong, many new entrants to boating are taking harbour or river moorings or berths in smaller private boatyards at modest cost with reduced facilities.

Gardiner, a marine property expert, advises operators and land owners large and small on values and rents of marine property. “We know the big marina companies are holding their own in a difficult economic climate”, he says,  “and they undoubtedly offer the best facilities, but the smaller operator is seeing a strong demand particularly if they offer 24 hour tidal access, parking, and basic shore facilities”.

Mr Gardiner believes that swinging moorings attract those who enjoy the solitude of their own spot in a harbour, where they can enjoy the wildlife more and may find berthing easier than in a crowded marina. “The disadvantage” he says “is you do not have easy access to fresh water and electricity and you need somewhere to leave a tender and a car, the costs of which can add sizeably to your annual berthing bill”.

The popular locations for affordable moorings in the Solent area include the upper sections of the rivers Medina, Yar, Hamble and Itchen, plus Wootton Creek, Portsmouth and Bembridge harbours.

Gardiner also points to the many member clubs and associations who hold blocks of moorings for the benefit of their members. “This can be a fast track way to securing a mooring when there may otherwise be a waiting list”, he says.

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