Outdoors - 10 min read

How Much Does It Cost To Dock a Boat? (Long-term & Short-term Costs!)

Town and Tourist

Town and Tourist, Updated October 22, 2022

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Having a boat is undoubtedly a luxury, but it comes at the cost of continual maintenance and fees. Docking a boat is necessary if you take it out a lot, live on it, or don’t have space for the vessel on your property. So, how much does it cost to dock a boat?

The average cost to dock a boat per year is $1,300, but it can cost $5,000 or more. Marinas typically charge for utilities, and the average cost is $110 per month for pump-outs and electricity. You can expect to spend 35% more to dock a boat during the spring and summer than during the fall and winter.

Factor in another $1,250 or more for an anchor if the marina won’t let you tether your boat to a dock. You also have to pay an extra $1,800 per month or more on average if you are going to live on your boat at the marina. Follow along as we explore how much it costs to dock a boat and highlight the factors that you need to consider.

Cost To Dock Boat At a Marina

It costs an average of $1,300 per year to dock a boat at a marina. Costs vary widely based on factors such as your location, utilities, season, and the length of the boat. Geography is among the biggest cost factors because land values vary widely even between cities within a state.

Different marinas within the same city can even charge different rates, so it’s worth contacting several locations. Let’s take a look at the cost factors that determine how much it costs to dock a boat.

Location

The location of a marina affects the cost per foot to dock a boat. Location can also increase the cost of utilities, and pump-out fees based on the cost of living in the area. Cities like Los Angeles have a higher cost of living than the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, so docking prices are understandably pricier.

For example, it costs $1,500 per year to dock a 25’ boat in Alton, IL whereas it costs up to $3,500 per year to dock a boat in Los Angeles of the same size. The same applies to cities within the same state. It costs up to $10 less per foot each month to dock a boat in Fort Lauderdale than in Miami.

Length

Length is one of the biggest factors that determines how much it costs to dock a boat. It can cost as little as $10 per foot to dock a boat, but it sometimes costs more than $50 per foot each year. This is bad news if you have a boat that measures longer than 40 feet, especially if the dock is on premium land.

Marinas get away with charging more for long boats because of the limited availability. It’s often difficult to find marinas that allow boats that are over 35-40 feet. That is why the cost per foot per year is often extremely high in states like Florida and California where marina space is limited. Generally, it costs over $7,000 per year to dock a 40-foot-long boat at a  marina.

Utilities

Utility fees are a big factor in how much it costs to dock a boat. Some marinas charge a flat utility rate, and others charge you based on your usage. The average utility cost per month when you dock a boat is $110, but it varies.

However, it could cost as little as $10 or as much as $200 per month at a flat rate. Flat rates rarely cost over $100, but it is not unheard of in areas with premium property values such as Miami or Los Angeles. Otherwise, your utility cost should consist of a flat base rate combined with a fee based on your usage.

Electricity costs an average of $30 per day, but it can cost as little as $10 per day if the pricing is based on individual usage. Just like an apartment or condominium, the utilities at a marina are metered. Utility rates often include pump-out fees which add another $10-$15 each time that it needs to be pumped.

Liveaboard Fee

Marinas charge an additional fee for those that dock a liveaboard boat and stay on the vessel. You are essentially paying a rent charge if you plan to live on the vessel while it is docked at their marina. Costs vary based on location and how much space they have, but it typically costs at least $150-$200 extra per month.

You will only have to pay a liveaboard fee if you are sleeping on the vessel for that time. In other words, you don’t have to pay an additional fee for docking all liveaboard boats. This only applies to a long-term stay on a liveaboard boat that you dock at a marina.

Make sure to be honest with the marina if you plan to live on the boat. Otherwise, you face serious penalties and fines. This can also result in you being evicted from the marina which isn’t ideal by any means. It can cost $1,800 or more per year to live on a boat at a marina in additional fees.

Anchor

Anchoring costs are another factor if dock your boat somewhere that doesn’t provide one. Many marinas don’t provide anchors when there is no shore access. It’s easier to dock at a marina where they connect the boat to the dock via a rope, chain, or tether of some sort.

It’s worth contacting the marina and finding out whether or not you will be responsible for anchoring your boat. The average cost for a large boat anchor is $1,250, but the price can exceed $3,000 in many cases. Anchor costs vary based on the size of the boat and the material of the anchor.

Of course, you will need a bigger and heavier anchor for a large boat than you would for a fishing vessel. Some marinas fix the price of anchoring into the overall cost, but that is rare. Budget at least $1,000-$3,000 for a boat anchor if you cannot tether your boat to the dock directly.

Season

You can expect to spend up to 35% more to dock a boat at a marina during the spring and summer. This price fluctuation doesn’t always apply if you are docking your boat for a year at a time. The increase in cost coincides with the rise in demand for marina space during the warmer seasons.

Luckily, this doesn’t typically apply to you if you are a member of a boat club or if you dock at a marina long-term. You are more likely to run into seasonal rate fluctuations if you are docking a boat in an area that isn’t warm year-round. This is a common practice on the east coast where it’s often much cheaper to dock a boat during the fall and winter.

Membership Fee

Membership fees are another cost factor to consider, but they don’t apply to everyone. The average marina meant for fishing vessels, sailboats, and pontoons don’t charge a membership fee. However, you will need to pay a membership fee if you want to belong to a boating club.

You won’t find boating clubs everywhere, but they are popular in luxury areas such as Marina Del Ray or Miami. Yacht clubs are the best example, and they cost an average of $2,450 per year in membership fees. Luxury yacht clubs can exceed $4,000 per year, and that doesn’t include all of the docking fees.

Some yacht clubs offer a flat rate that includes utilities and docking fees. This is the best value if you want the benefits of being a club member and need somewhere to dock your yacht. Yacht clubs also feature on-site staff that can offer maintenance which is worth the cost to many people.

Taxes

Depending on where you live, you may need to pay taxes to the city or state on docking your boat. Some cities, such as Chicago, IL charge you a 7% tax when you dock your boat at a marina. The tax applies to 7% of your total docking fees, and that can add a small fortune to your costs.

For example, you would need to spend an additional $126 per year on taxes if you spent $1,800 on docking. That may not sound like a lot, but it adds up when you factor in the utility fees, maintenance fees, and fuel costs. Luckily, you can get a tax deduction and write it off if you have a liveaboard boat with a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen.

That is because that qualifies as a second home in the eyes of the IRS. Not all cities and states impose a docking and mooring tax for boat owners, but it’s important to look into it in advance. The last thing that you want is to spend hundreds of dollars that you didn’t account for or incur penalties for failing to comply.

How Much Does It Cost To Dock a Boat For a Day?

It costs an average of $120 to dock a boat for a single day. Marinas typically charge you an hourly rate if you only need to dock a boat for 24 hours at a time. The average cost is $5 per hour, but it costs more if you plan to sleep at the marina.

They may charge you as much as $7 per hour or more if you sleep at a marina. Additional costs include metered utility costs such as pump-outs and electricity. You may spend an extra $30 per day based on your electrical usage and whether or not you need to pump out your boat.

Marinas often offer weekend rates in popular tourist destinations, such as Lake of the Ozarks and Miami. For example, you can dock a boat for the weekend at the Lake of the Ozarks for $300 and save $60 in many cases. This is an inefficient rate if you are docking a boat long-term, but it’s perfect for a day or weekend trip.

Can You Live On a Boat At a Marina?

You can live on a boat at a marina, but not all marinas allow that. Additional fees apply if you plan to live on the boat and you have to apply if that is your intent. Some marinas require a non-refundable application fee even if they don’t accept you, unfortunately.

It costs an additional $200 per month to live on a boat at a marina in many cases. You will generally be put on a waitlist even if the marina accepts you as a liveaboard customer. Generally, a marina may allow you to sleep on a boat for up to 3 days at a time without paying additional fees.

Contact the marina ahead of time if you plan to do that to avoid penalties and unexpected charges. One of the main reasons that marinas charge extra liveaboard fees is the additional sewage and waste that it entails. Pump-outs are much more frequent for marina members that live on their boats, and they have to account for that.

So, How Much Does It Cost To Dock a Boat?

It costs $1,300 per year to dock a boat, on average, but it can cost much more. The average marina charges $10-$50 per foot per year to dock a boat. Many marinas are unable to provide an anchor and you need to buy one for $1,250 on average if you can’t tether your boat to the dock.

The time of year also affects the cost to dock a boat, and it can cost 35% more during the spring and summer. You can expect to spend another $1,800 per year to dock a boat if you plan to live on it. Factor in another $110 per month on utilities when you dock a boat if the marina doesn’t include it in the overall cost. You may also be subject to a 7% mooring and docking tax each year depending on where you live and dock your boat.

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