When we leave the boat for an extended period of time, say a week or a month, the question always arises about how we should leave the boat. Should we build a mooring or should we tie up in a marina?
While the cost of tying up for a night is very expensive, the cost for a monthly slip is not so horrendous (if you shop around). We have found that most marinas will price their slips so that the break even point between daily transient rate and monthly rate is around 10 days. This means that if you tie up for 9 days, it will be cheaper to pay the daily rate. If you tie up for 11 days, it will be cheaper to pay for an entire month.
When we leave the boat for an extended period of time, we factor this cost into the decision. Usually, for us on a 45 foot sailboat, the cost is somewhere around $500 for a month.
When we leave the boat, it will be alone and in a foreign port where people don't know us, and don't know our boat. We worry about our boat since no one would be watching it, and since if something were to happen to the boat and we were called, we would be about a day of travel away so we wouldn't be able to get to the boat in a timely manner to fix any problems that might arise.
If we could find the perfect protected anchorage, with a friend close by that would keep an eye on the boat and check the bilge periodically for us while we are away, we would feel more comfortable leaving it on a mooring. Since we are going home to visit family and work (to earn money that will keep paying for us to cruise), the price of peace of mind comes into question.
At my job as a dentist, I can earn $500 relatively quickly. This means that I will be able to pay for the marina with ease. I will also be more relaxed about the boat because I know people in the marina will be watching over it. It will also be plugged in so the batteries will stay charged up and it will be out of the way of other boats that might bump into it in an anchorage.
All in all, the price of peace of mind makes it feel like $500 is worth it for us. We can tie up and comfortably leave the boat in the marina until we get back. When we return, she will be tied up and ready to keep cruising. If $500 seems a bit steep of a price, one last point to consider is this: Is $500 worth ending your voyage? If something were to happen, say the anchors drag or someone hits you and you sink while you are away, your entire adventure would end with that incident. Is that worth $500 to you?
Even in places where the prices seem ridiculous to tie up, a few miles away there will always be a reasonable marina. We were anchored in a harbor where the best price we could find was $4,600 for the month; so we kept looking and found a marina 10 miles away that wanted $450 for the month. The answer you seek is always out there, you just need to find it!