Here at Dock Skipper, we facilitate a lot of dock rentals. Whether somebody is looking to rent a dock long term, rent a slip short term, or even sell their private boat dock, we’ve been the platform that connects the parties. Throughout all of those connections one thing is for certain, asking questions is beneficial to both the renter and owner. Having a clear understanding of what is allowed and possible prior to finalizing the rental or sale agreement will make sure both parties are happy and comfortable with the final outcome. Today, we bring to you a list of the best questions you should be asking before renting your next dock.
Obviously this is the first question on the list. Make sure you get pricing out of the way before you start asking about specifics. There’s no reason to get into detail if you can’t afford the listing in the first place. The second part of the question should focus on discounts for longer term agreements. For example, you may only be trying to stay for 5 days but the owner will offer you a discounted rate if you stay for a week. The weekly rate ends up being cheaper than paying for 5 individual nights. Ask these questions and make a decision based on price breaks.
Another important question when it comes to boating. Many cruisers can often get stuck in weather, have mechanical issues or simply don’t make the time they had hoped. This can lead to necessary cancellations often at the last minute. Unfortunately, many dock owners cannot be overly sympathetic to this since it may be hard for them to find a replacement. It’s always important to get the cancellation policy prior to booking and have a clear understanding on what, if any refund can be provided.
This question should often come before question #1 as if you can’t get to the location, there’s no point in discussing rates or cancellation policies. Accessibility mostly involves fixed bridges, water depth, currents, and tide changes but will vary based on the type of boat you are docking. This may sound obvious but make sure you will be comfortable accessing the dock before you make a booking.
This is likely your next question as it can make or break a booking. Do you need electricity, water, showers, laundry, etc… Would you like to have a pool, bikes to borrow, 24 hour access, etc.. You may also want to ask about nearby restaurants, grocery shopping, things to do. Amenities can be the difference between an enjoyable stay and a place you will not return to. Ensuring you know the amenities upfront will help you curb your expectations prior to arrival.
Security is often important for many boaters. This will heavily depend on where you are cruising, what type of boat you are cruising on, and the type of people you are. If security is important, make sure you talk about it upfront with the dock/slip owner. The last thing you want to do is be paying money for a dock that you can’t fall asleep on because of security concerns.
A very important question if this pertains to you. Many private boat docks or private marina slips may be opposed to liveaboards. In some cases, it can be against their homeowner associations. If you plan to be staying onboard, make sure you tell the owner upfront.
If this applies to you, make sure it is discussed. If you’ll need to put in your tender or PWC, you’ll want to make sure you have ample room at the dock or slip to do so. Don’t assume that you’ll have extra room on top of what you are booking. During busy months docks may be packed in tight.
In conclusion, renting a dock is all about communication. Don’t assume, ask questions and be honest. If you’re a good communicator than both the renter as well as the owner will be comfortable with the upcoming stay. The boating community is very tight knit, even more so with social media. Reviews and feedback across the waterways can be a very good thing, or a very bad thing. Be on the good side as both a renter and an owner.