Which do you Prefer, a Private Boat Dock or Public Marina?

Which do you Prefer, a Private Boat Dock or Public Marina?

Owning a boat means you will need to decide between a house with a private boat dock or one near a public marina for boat storage. Both options have benefits and limitations, which is why you should weigh the pros and cons before making a choice. To help boat owners to make a decision that works for them, read more to understand how private boat docks stack up against public marinas.


How much privacy do you, a boat owner, need or want? Some boat owners love the open nature of public marinas and the entire boating community associated with such facilities. Many people are often around communal marinas most days of the week, some heading out on the waters and others performing maintenance on their boats. Don't be surprised to find some people living in their luxury boats either part-time or full-time.

Owning a boat dock means you can control who is allowed to use the dock because it's personal property. That means you can enjoy a higher level of privacy you won't get when you choose a communal marina.


Security is another important consideration when choosing between owning a boat dock and keeping your boat in a marina. As mentioned earlier, owning a private dock means fewer people will use it. This minimizes the risk of theft or vandalism. Generally, private boat dock owners can always spring for a higher level of security, including alarms, surveillance cameras, or hiring private security firms.

Note that communal marinas have some level of security, which is often included in the monthly cost. Unfortunately, most small marinas might not afford the protection that luxury boat owners want. There are also communal marinas with 24-hour security personnel, surveillance cameras, and gated entrance. The downside is that their slip fee is usually very high. So, when weighing between a private boat dock and a communal marina, think about security.


When it comes to ease of use, flexibility, and convenience, private boat docks have an advantage over communal marinas. If you own a private boat dock, you can head out on the water whenever you want. Just walk outside to your boat or any other water vessel and have fun. There is no need to drive anywhere or tow your boat to a public marina.

Unfortunately, the construction and maintenance of a private boat dock may be costly. The good news is that you won't be paying monthly slip fees. Also, you don't have to shop around for available slips, some of which may be far from home. On the other hand, public marinas can get overly crowded, particularly during the busy months of the year. If you choose the latter, you will only pay the monthly slip fees and no upfront dock construction costs.

Sue, private boat docks offer more conveniences compared to public marinas. But their initial cost is prohibitively high. On the other hand, communal marinas are also associated with some conveniences. For instance, some marina offers full head pump-out services, dry dock storage, and boat fueling stations. Most private docks lack these facilities.

Therefore, depending on the level of convenience you seek, you can choose a communal marina or construct a private dock on your waterfront property. For some people, the ability to fuel their boats at the communal marina is a significant convenience that could make them choose marinas over a private dock. On the flip side, some boat owners prefer the boat storage convenience, safety, and ease of use associated with a private dock.


Boat insurance does not cover everything related to your boat. In fact, what it covers depends on whether you own a private dock or usually store your boat at a communal marina. A private boat dock is typically covered under the homeowner's insurance policy and often categorized as 'personal property or other structures.'

Keep in mind that the insurance covers the cash value of the boat dock during construction or loss, minus the insurance policy's deductibles. Boat docks that begin on the owner's home and extend off the house into the water are also considered 'on-premises' when it comes to the homeowner's insurance policy. Remember, this is separate from your boat insurance policy.

Suppose you choose to dock your boat at a communal marina. In that case, you will not be paying the entire dock insurance policy, though your monthly slip fees might help pay the premiums. The marina is legally responsible for acquiring the right insurance policy to protect the docks and the entire business.

It's important to mention that this doesn't include insurance cover for the loss of a slip renter's water vessel due to vandalism, an act of nature, or an accident. The boat insurance policy is the boat owner's responsibility and not the communal marina. Note that most marinas ask boat owners to provide proof of water vessel insurance when signing a rental contract.

Other amenities

Owning a boat dock means you have control of the specific amenities near or on the dock. The only limits are your budget and imagination. If you want a gazebo, fire pit, special lighting, jet ski ramp, or other features, you can install them on your dock.

At a communal marina, the amenities available often increase along with the monthly slip fees. Some high-end marinas have a clubhouse and a private swimming pool for members. Other marinas have a grassy area for pets or kids to run and play while adults get an opportunity to enjoy a barbecue. Note that other amenities such as showers, shore-power hookups, water for refilling boats' tanks, fresh drinking water, dinghy storage, and dock carts may or may not be available depending on the communal marina.


Private boat docks and communal marinas each have pluses and limitations. Your choice will come down to what level of expense and responsibility you want. Although private docks cost a lot of resources initially, they offer a higher level of privacy, safety, and convenience tailored to your needs. If you need a professional to help construct or repair a dock, contact VW DOCKS.

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