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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
For many reasons, an unknown used trailer among them, our boat spent last summer moored in South Beach when it was not underway. It seemed pricey and most days it was unecessary. But there were a few days when we skipped a crazy launch line that I was glad I did it.

What is or was your experience using a moorage? Got any tips?

Here is what worked for us and what did not.
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1) Skip the launch line and boat ramp follies, especially on crazy derby fishing days.
2) Easy access for limited time excursions, like crabbing or quick bottom fish trips. For me at least this made more trips possible.
3) Exposure to most of the other moorage residents and users. We got to exhange info, tips and worked with some of them.
4) Most fisher people like us were nice and one guy even washed my boat when we had to leave without doing so.
5) 24/7 access to the boat already in the water, ready to go.

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1) Marina gas is expensive. I designed the boat to use street gas by engine choice. We bought no ethanol marina gas at times. Hated paying that much for it.
2) Everything has to go to and from the boat down the long dock in a cart.
3) Maintenance on the boat is still best on the trailer. No risk of oil spills and dropped tools on the trailer. SO the boat has to come out at least a few tmes.
4) Residents of the many permanently moored boats can be a PIA. My neighbor was always complaining when I washed my boat down about overspray. He showed up stagger drunk a few tmes too. I have zero patience with stupid drunk. I'm sure it goes both ways. We tried to be quiet in off hours.
5) Security was not an issue but you can see how it could be. There are no access gates or keyed entry to the docks at south beach.
6) $$$$$$$. Insurance is mandatory for moorage. It can double the price for a moorage. You have no choice at a certain boat size. It was an option for us.
 

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I went from trailer sailor my entire life, to having a slip but moving the boat back to dry land if it wasn’t going to be used in the next 3-4 days to three seasons of mooring six months a year.

A few thoughts on some of your points-

1. Insurance- I’d check around if adding the insurance requirements raised your insurance much. I meet or exceed all the Ports requirements on a boat similar in value to yours and pay less than $300 a year for all my coverages. I have progressive via a sub contract with USAA.

2. Moving stuff up/down the docks- I learned early you have to have a plan. Over the years I have evolved to a collapsible wagon that handles most salmon/bottom fish type days.

Then I have a Costco dolly that can be a dolly or lay flat cart. It handles pots, 165 coolers, full kill bags etc better than anything else.

My crew is usually not the first round draft pick for moving heavy loads so we focus on the process to move loads around.

I often think a high school kid with a power wagon could make a killing working for tips moving heavy loads around.

3. Maintenance- first year on your motors and boat likely had you needing to do more maintenance than you’ll do in the future. Even on a heavy use year you may need to pull once or twice at most.

4. Fuel- I grumble as much as anyone about fuel costs but try to keep in perspective that in the scheme of our fishing, it’s often the most noticeable cost but not the biggest.

I’ve changed my attitude to be “I long for the day when the ocean has been nice enough and the fishing good enough that I run out of fuel money.”

5. You likely took the slip they had. Now start getting on the Ports list as someone open to changing your slip. Eventually you’ll be close to neighbors you know and like that come back every year.

I miss the flexibility of being on a trailer at times. Sure I could pull the boat and chase the bite but it’s a lot easier to skip it and take a mediocre day at my home port.

For now, I’ll stick with moorage if for no other reason than I fish more because the boats in the water. It removes a mental barrier of staying home to avoid the tow, launch and retrieve.


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The extra price of fuel is offset somewhat by the fact you're not towing your boat down, can use a commuter car that fits your coolers etc. Convenient for short trips, have everything on board for bottom fish, salmon, crab pretty much all the time, just bring bait and some ice.

Loading/unloading supplies on the boat is way easier at home, as well as washing it down and keeping it cleaner. The boat gets dirty just sitting in moorage, birds, moss, etc.

I love foldable carts and kill bags for transporting fish ice rods etc. Keep two of those carts and a clamp on rod rack in the rig at all times.

Spending the time to clean everything up at the dock at the end of the day can be a drag sometimes. I'd rather just load the boat up and tow it home and deal with it in the morning.

It's nice to get home and not have to deal with the boat as it's already tucked away.

Fuel dock hours suck at Ilwaco, have to fuel up the day before or leave later the next trip. Same if you want to get ice. This is more of a tuna thing where I want the boat full of ice and fuel before every trip. Salmon and bottom fish not such a big deal. Especially the need to head out early morning for longer runs.
 

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Oh, and when you go on others boats, you always have your favorite rod, jig, tackle etc on your boat in moorage. Only solution to that I've found is start buying duplicate and triplicate of everything you really like, including all salmon gear that I need to fish the little boat at home on the Columbia..
 

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Oh, and when you go on others boats, you always have your favorite rod, jig, tackle etc on your boat in moorage. Only solution to that I've found is start buying duplicate and triplicate of everything you really like, including all salmon gear that I need to fish the little boat at home on the Columbia..
You make that sound like a bad thing.
 

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Oh, and when you go on others boats, you always have your favorite rod, jig, tackle etc on your boat in moorage. Only solution to that I've found is start buying duplicate and triplicate of everything you really like, including all salmon gear that I need to fish the little boat at home on the Columbia..
That is a real issue. I had to make a little back pack with terminal tackle, cutters, knife and a few favorite setups because it was a real pain to get invited to go fish on a friends boat and have to swing a few hours out of my way to get my gear.


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Much happier mooring than towing. I was 150 miles from port. So, towing sown at 0230, fishing, And then towing home well after dark Got very tiresome and legitimately unsafe for me.
Get to boat the day/evening before, ice up, load gear, go eat, get a good night sleep. Wake up, bring rods down, go fish.
Also, everyone is at the boat at the end of the day, so fish, gear, boat cleanup are shared duties.
I’ll pay marina fuel price instead of going from 18-20 mpg to 8-9 mpg towing with the dually. And, sometimes, I get to let someone else drive to the boat. That never happens when towing my own boat.
 

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My boat has been in the same slip at Warrenton for going on twenty years. I probably wouldn't keep the boat if I had to launch for every trip. I have a 25' C-Dory and even though it loads and tows easily with a 3/4 ton truck it is still a long, wide load of over 8000 pounds and more hassle than this old guy wants to deal with more than a few times a year. I don't work well under pressure and the busy ramps would do me in, I'm afraid.

The marina folks keep the spot next to me empty in the off season so coming back from crabbing or fishing on windy days is stress free. Right next to me on the other side of the finger pier is a permanently moored sailboat that does a good job of blocking the NW breeze when I pull into my slip. He is a live aboard and keeps an eye on things. He pops his head out the top most times when I go down to check on things to make sure it is me. He is a nice feller but likes the weed pretty often so it sometimes smells like Cheech or Chong live there but I like having his boat where it is. Except for Buoy 10 season I am able to tie up in Hammond whenever I want so sometimes we will go out there and sleep on the boat for early morning ocean runs in late June and July. The boat comes home three times a year and the only time it doesn't go right back in the water is February and March. The rest of the time she floats.

It is expensive, and it goes up a dollar per foot every year, but still worth it to me. This year it was $1176 for the 28' slip plus $100 for what they call a facility use fee which includes launching, two parking passes, and keys for the showers, restrooms, and waste oil disposal shed. They also charge me $10 plus usage every month for electricity. Another added cost is bottom paint, which I need to refresh again after five years. That cost me $700 last time. As long as I don't stand on the dock to pour gas into the boat I can fill the tank with Costco gas using the hand truck I fixed up to tote two 6 gallon jugs at once. The nearest fuel dock is five miles from my slip in Astoria but I rarely use it. I have never had a problem with ethanol in my newer motors and I only use the stabilizer (Startron for me) in the winter time or the first tank in the spring.

They also require minimum $300k liability insurance with Warrenton Marina listed on the policy. I get my coverage from Foremost through Farmers Ins. Co. and it costs me right a little over $300 a year for all the goodies and an agreed value of $38k. So you might do well to shop around a little for coverage. Boat policies can be a little vague sometimes on what they cover, so having the marina listed as a protected party if needed is actually a good thing.

I know most of that info won't help you much for deciding about down south a ways, but what I really want to say is it is well worth it to me to have the slip even though I am only a few minutes from the marina. Having the boat always ready to go makes it much more pleasant being able to go anytime we want, even if just into Astoria for lunch at Pier 39 or out at night for the 4th of July fireworks. And fishing B10 is at least doable in the frantic months even though finding a place to park is tough. A few times I have left my truck parked in the lot overnight and rode my bike down in the morning just so I knew I would have a spot. If you can get a yearly slip I would highly recommend it. There are waiting lists around here and at one time they figured Warrenton's was about two years out. It may be better after the last couple of goofy Covid years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah, gotta say that I struggled with 5 ton tackle box thing. I just kept everything I needed on the Carver. When I wanted to do an away game I had stress trying to build a backpack with my necessary things in it.

But now less boat stuff to deal with .. I might actually get to be a more focused fisher and less of a boat fixer. We will renew the moorage again for next year. Learned alot this summer and acquired at least one new bad habit.

I am now marlin curious.
 
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That is a real issue. I had to make a little back pack with terminal tackle, cutters, knife and a few favorite setups because it was a real pain to get invited to go fish on a friends boat and have to swing a few hours out of my way to get my gear.


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I've got a rollaway/backpack tackle box like used on long range trips down south, I've dedicated salmon and a little mix on it. I drag it back and forth so I have enough to get by if I go somewhere else. Keep most other tackle on the boat.
 

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No way I would fish half the days if I had to tow. When we first got the bit we lived downtown so there was no other option.

I will say not all marinas are created equally. Love where we are and not loved others.

The other benefit for me is being able to run down after work crash on the boat and have a lazy (comparatively) morning while the rest of the crew drives over the hill. Also the ability to cruse into the slip after a long tuna trip, gut, ice and pass out. Then get up bright and early to wash and haul back.

I have done some silly in water maintenance, like replacing my steering system. Honestly the view is a lot better than my driveway. I still pull out every little under a year to do the 100 hour service and check everything out.

For me and my haul I have calculated out the savings on the fuel and it’s worth it to pay the in water price.


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It is expensive, but worth it, for me.

Pros:
  • No boat ramp circus. I mostly fish solo, and a crowded boat ramp can be stressful when you're solo.
  • With the boat ready-to-roll, the "before/after-work quickie" becomes very doable. I end up fishing a lot more than I would if I had to trailer every time.
  • My checklists end up being much shorter. Grab coffee, rods, tackle, bait, hop in the truck, and go. I picked up one of those collapsible wagons off Amazon and it's been very handy lugging stuff down to the boat.

Cons, mostly same as yours:
  • Trips to the fuel dock are a pain in the wallet (as you mentioned).
  • Insurance is much more expensive.
  • I don't feel comfortable leaving stuff on the boat, so still dragging gear back and forth.
  • Still need to pull the boat periodically, to keep the beard from getting too thick.

I doubt I'll ever go back to trailering, if I can avoid it (i.e. afford it).
 

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We are in Brookings so we don’t have the launch and parking lot rodeo you have in other ports. Even so after 20 years - first without a slip and then later with one we have a few observations.
  1. Our boat is aluminum and that makes a difference, if you get a slip chances are someone will have a hot boat and your zinks or bottom or both will show it. In our case we have outboards which is definitely an advantage, your can get the motors totally out of the water and flush them after every use. But, dealing with hot slips has always been a concern I monitored and made sure my zinks were in order.
  2. Our boat trailer aged 10 times faster with daily launches in those first 12 years than the second 8 years.
  3. So did my attitude with daily dealings with googans in those earlier years
  4. But, leaving your boat in the salt will age everything else due to salt air and sun. Because of this I hybridized my routine. We have a place with a large shop 5 minutes from the launch. Our routine is to fish the series of good ocean condition days - then pull, gas, clean, maintain and store through the blow days. I can launch and retrieve at my convenience when there are no googans about!
  5. The hybrid routine helps reduce long moorage induced maintenance and helps my attitude immensely!
  6. In time I learned which slips were the most desirable and have moved 3 times until I got my dream slip. So many variables separate the good ones from the less good. But given the choice even a bad one is a better choice than none for me.
  7. I learned that a well thought out backpack and a cart will make a good slip 10 times better. Pick those with even closer scrutiny than your rod/reels trust me on this. And - get travel rods/reels and bag (luxury I know) outfitted for those days you fish on partner boats.
  8. There is one other biggie, when we have visitors walking down and getting on the boat makes all the difference in the world for the experience of everyone involved. The day starts and ends well weather we have a successful day on the water or not and that alone makes the cost of the slip worth it.
  9. We absorb the cost of a slip like we do the cost of owning a boat because it creates a positive overall experience we can share with family and friends free of the daily boat launching/retrieve drama and energy expense. After a long day on the water everyones is sapped
 

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I sure hear the good slip vs. bad... I rented a slip for a few days at SB last summer that I literally couldn’t get to once the northerly kicked it. My boat skids sideways across the surface like an empty beer can in a strong crosswind. I tried from numerous approaches... finally a fellow tin can owner (on the dock) said you just can’t do it in these conditions, tie up to the long dock and then just tell ‘em at SB that you had to.
 

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The biggest - to slipping from my perspective is the fuel dock is not open early or late enough.
 

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The biggest - to slipping from my perspective is the fuel dock is not open early or late enough.
Get Gary's number, make friends with him. It'll go a long ways towards when you get fuel.

I couldn't imagine trailering my boat(s). I HATE trailering them anyways, but doing so when the line is backed up to the bridge at 0500 would ruin it for me. I love being able to run down to the boat in the morning, hop on, and push off. I also live in Newport so I am able to fish after work or in a short morning window if it's worth it.
 

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Year round at Ilwaco and year round covered slip at Scappoose Bay. Expensive yes, but beats towing the beast around at my age. I often will sleep on the boat the night before or book a room at the Salt Hotel and up early to prep, not to drive to the coast. I pull it after crabbing in November and put it in the driveway for miscellaneous projects. Then I put it in the covered slip in Scappoose for the winter. Early springer test fishing is easy. First of July I'm back in Ilwaco. Drive to the lot, load up the cart and walk to the boat. It's a luxury, but I know I fished many many more times than if I had to motivate myself to hook up the boat and drag it somewhere. The two hour drive without the boat towed behind is much more pleasant and easier. I'll tow it to the San Juans or elsewhere as desired, but I target the freezer fillers at the moorages.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Some great insights .. thanks for the feedback.

As Chetco Tyee said above blown out conditions are good for doing maintenance. We pulled the boat several times last summer to install a kicker and other things as they finally got delivered. Every three or four weeks it seemed. I did notice on the last time trailering that we had finally picked up a few barnacles and some green fringe on the sides. I think that time it was in the water for almost six weeks and not used much. I will use some ablative on the motor mount that is in the water to avoid the barnacles next year.

It is nice to do a quick rinse, put stuff away, check the ice in the fishbox and go get some sleep after a long day. Trailering after a 15 hour day is not fun or easy when you are tired.
 
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