Picking The “Right” Marina

Before we bought our boat, we had already decided that we wanted to keep the boat in the Kent Narrows area in Maryland.  We fell in love with the area a few years ago and have taken every opportunity possible to spend time there since then.  Since we would be keeping the boat at a marina for a year or more while we finish things up with our house, we wanted our drive from home to the marina and back again to be as short as possible so it wouldn’t be a big undertaking to make the trek each weekend.  Kent Narrows is only a 2 hour drive from our house, making the trip there and back each weekend no big deal.  There are also a number of marinas in Kent Narrows so we were pretty confident that at least one of the marinas would meet our needs for the immediate future.  After scoping out the area, we identified four marinas that we felt were contenders.

While in Kent Narrows, we made sure to drive around and visit each of the four marinas.  We also spent a significant amount of time researching the marinas online, via the marina websites and ActiveCaptain reviews, to see what information was available to help us make our decision.  Here’s what we found…

Piney Narrows Yacht Haven

Piney Narrows offers condominium boat slips. A condominium boat slip is similar to a residential townhome or apartment condominium in that the owner receives a “fee simple” deed (which is insurable and recorded in the Queen Anne’s County Land Records) which carries with it the exclusive right to the use of a slip (referred to as limited common elements in the condo documents). The owner receives and undivided interest in all the condominium property (referred to as general common elements in the condo documents). In the case of Piney Narrows Yacht Haven, the general common elements include the piers, swimming pool, parking lots, etc.  Slip owners receive an annual real estate tax assessment directly from Queen Anne’s County. Electricity and telephone service at each slip are billed directly to the slip occupant.

Slip fees at Piney Narrows include the following amenities: cable TV, dockside water, winter bubbling, air-conditioned and heated heads and showers, swimming pool, laundry, a club lounge, picnic areas with BBQ grill, gated entrance with key-card entry, reserved parking spaces, individually metered electric and free pump out.  Piney Narrows also has fuel docks at the marina.  Since our boat is 42ish feet long, we would need to opt for a 45′ slip at Piney Narrows, which started at $4,950 for an annual lease.

Piney Narrows was our top choice of marinas for the last few years, as we really liked the atmosphere and live-aboard friendliness.  But, once we started looking at some other options, we realized that we may be able to save a few hundred (if not $1,000) by keeping the boat at another local marina.

Fisherman’s Marina

Fisherman’s Marina was the most basic of the marinas we looked at.  There were no bathrooms, no laundry facilities and no security.  Electricity was available and the slip occupant would be responsible for their electric with Delmarva Power.  At Fisherman’s Marina, a 45′ slip would run us $3,600 per year with absolutely zero amenities or security.

We’re not really fancy people, but, we do anticipate spending quite a bit of time on the boat while it’s in the marina, so we at least wanted to be comfortable.  We were also a bit uncomfortable with the idea that there was no security and anyone could literally walk onto our boat at any time of the day or night with no one knowing.

Mears Point Marina

Mears Point Marina was on the “luxury” end of the marinas we researched on Kent Island.  Mears Point offered dockside 30 or 50 amp electric, water and cable television, free WiFi on every dock, Olympic size swimming pool, fenced kiddie pool & playground, free access to the Island Athletic Club fitness center, two air conditioned bathhouses, landscaped shaded picnic areas with grills at every pier, a large covered pavilion for group gatherings, coin operated laundry facilities, a 260′ fuel dock, complimentary pump-outs, dock carts at each pier, lighted parking areas, fenced security with card reader access, video security cameras at strategic marina locations and Kent Narrows Yacht Club membership and social events.  Annual slip-holder rates include free pump out, cable TV, dockside water, in-water winter boat storage with marina provided ice eaters, a fuel discount and access to all marina amenities including membership to the Kent Narrows Yacht Club.  Electric is individually metered and paid directly to Delmarva Power.  At Mears Point, the 2019 – 2020 annual lease rate for a 45′ slip started at $5,300.

While Mears Point offered some fantastic amenities, we weren’t quite sold on the price tag.  We were also a bit concerned about the “classiness” of the marina.  It looks absolutely beautiful, but, again, we’re really not fancy people.

Lippincott Marina

Lippincott Marina was the most “working” marina that we researched, giving home to a TON of boats in various stages of being worked on.  The hum of sanders and buzz of saws was a common sound throughout Lippincott Marina.  In fact, Lippincott Marina has a carpentry shop at the marina that is available for slip holders to utilize to work on projects.  Lippincott also offered a swimming pool and picnic area with grills, security systems located all over the marina which included lights and cameras, a coded security gate entrance, heated and air conditioned bathrooms with private showers, laundry, a WiFi Lounge with a reading room, ice, soda & snack machines, dinghy storage, pump-out and Lippincott is extremely pet-friendly, offering pet tie up cleats and a designated pet walk area.  Like most of the other marinas, the slip holder is responsible for power from Delmarva Electric.  At Lippincott, a 46′ slip started at an annual rate of $3250.00.

After considering all four marinas, we decided to go with Lippincott for a few reasons – the price was right, the amenities seemed pretty plentiful for the price and the “vibe” that we got when we visited the marina made us feel at home.  We secured our slip shortly after having our offer accepted on the boat and got an annual lease rate of $3,300, which breaks down to only $275 per month.  The owner of the marina assigned us a slip that makes entering and exiting the marina about as simple as it can be and we even have a pretty decent view!

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