Yesterday we got a letter from our boatyard announcing an increase in mooring fees. Contrary to what you might think, I am not at all upset because
a) we are moving to another marina in April
b) the increase(the first for two years) is below that of inflation
c) our boatyard is the cheapest around, taking into account the facilities provided
What staggers me though, is the huge variation in cost between different places. Compare our place, High Line Yachting (HLY) at Iver, with the newly opened Roydon Marina on the Stort which we glimpsed last October as we passed.
Both a half hour train journey from London
Both have a chandlery, showers, laundry, electronic security gates, CCTV, electricity to all berths
HLY has workshop facilities and on site technical staff, I don't think Roydon has.
Cost for a 50 foot boat per annum (non residential) ?
Now look at BWs Packet Boat Marina just 10 minutes drive from HLY.
annual mooring charge £6242 !!!!!
You can find examples of this level of variation in any part of the country. I found big variations six months ago when looking for somewhere for us to move further north.
Am I a skinflint or are other people profilgate? What is it that people get for the extra money? Well it seems to be one of two things.
1) Location -places like Braunston at the hub of the canals south of Birmingham can charge a premium. Also it is noticeable than marinas on the main line charge more than those on canal arms, although Roydon is definitely way off the beaten track.
2) Newness.All these new marinas springing up seem to want more money than most of the older ones. I suppose they have higher costs to recoup.
Admittedly HLY is fairly rare, being a commercial boatyard that has all of its berths on the canal bank, i.e. not in a big lake. This is one of the reasons, I suspect, for their lower rates. The towpath bank opposite is quiet and for the most part rural, so no problem there. On our side, residential boats line the bank and non residentials breast up alongside them. For residential boats the pros outweigh the cons. Rather than a narrow pontoon to access their boat they have terra firma all along one side. Where space permits, many have created nice little gardens against the perimeter fence.
The downside is that they each have another boat moored on the other side, but then so do most boats on pontoon moorings, albeit three feet away. Glynn who we moor against, reckons Herbie's presence gives her added warmth and shelter in the winter.
For us non residents, we have the disadvantage of having to step over another boat to access our own. On the other hand we have a friendly lookout moored against us when we are away from the boat. I feel more secure at HLY than I will when we move to Crick. Crick, by the way, although being a well known large marina will only cots us about £70 p.a. more than we pay now. I suspect that that's because they are off the mainline too and you have to go through a tunnel to get there.
One thing I won't miss is the summer weed in the Slough Arm, but bad though it is, it's no worse than the strong stream conditions that trap boats in riverside marinas many's the year.
I guess it's horses for courses, but if I had to pay £6k per annum for a berth, I wouldn't be boating.