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Old 08-02-2019, 07:14 PM   #1
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Covered or uncovered moorage for Pacific Northwest?

What are the pros and cons of covered vs uncovered moorage for the Pacific Northwest (Columbia River)? The marina closest to my house on the Columbia has separate wait lists for both covered and uncovered slips and fees to get on each wait list. Covered slips are about $80 more per month.

Just wondering if there is a good discussion of the pros and cons of each? Iím assuming covered is going to be better as long as you can fit under the roof.
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Old 08-02-2019, 07:24 PM   #2
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I don't have a boat in the Pacific NW, but I grew up there. Keeping the weather off the boat, both sun and precip, will decrease the environmental degradation caused by constant attack by the weather. There was recently a thread that covered the topic thoroughly, though the subject was an East Coast boat. It doesn't matter. IMO, the protection is precious no matter where the boat is.
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Old 08-02-2019, 07:49 PM   #3
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Varnished wood and even fiberglass degrades in the open sunlight. The varnish will need some work every year if left in the open. And over time the fiberglass will become dull. Also sunlight coming thru the windows can fade material and wood inside. The $80 might be worth the savings in maintenance.
Although there's not a lot of sun in the PNW.
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:23 PM   #4
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We're in covered moorage but the conditions here are much different from Portland. You have lots of rain, we have blistering sun and heat. We also have lots of wind and dust. It is a desert, after all.


What the others have said about covered moorage is true. Whether it's rain or sun, both will eat your gelcoat, canvas, wood coatings, etc.


If you can do it, look for a municipal marina that has covered moorage. They're often much cheaper than privately owned moorage.


I'm in a 10 year old marina owned by the Port of Kennewick. My slip is 20' x 60' and runs just over $260/month. I'd hate to think what a private marina would charge for that same slip.


Also, as to the height of the slip, if you can find a slip but it's too low to suit the boat you're looking at, consider putting the radar (or whatever is tall) on a pivoting mount.
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Old 08-02-2019, 08:31 PM   #5
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We’re in Portland and are definitely in the covered moorage corner. We have two boats, our wood Grand Banks is in a boathouse, the Roughwater is open. Very little maintenance in the boathouse (except spider poop) whereas the other gets dirty and teak has to be attended to yearly. Fortunately, there’s not much teak to deal with. Go for covered if you can....a boathouse is even better.
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Old 08-02-2019, 10:42 PM   #6
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Iíve never had covered moorage. Instead Iíve always had open moorage. Until the last 4 years, that was always because I had sailboats.

Besides, you get so much more with open moorage. Open moorage means you have the opportunity to enjoy the sun, breeze, fresh air etc.... Of course, you have a lot more time to enjoy it as you spend the extra weekends washing and waxing the boat. A few weekends ago I watched my dock neighbor spend the entire weekend sanding and varnishing his brightwork. Not to worry, he only got a couple coats on so he has a lot more fun in store.

Another advantage on the Wet Coast is the wonderful greenish patina that the north side of the boat takes on as the long winter goes on. You certainly donít get that in a boathouse!

Folks who keep their boats under cover also are stuck with their canvas. It never wears out. Those of out in the open get to change out our canvas much more often.

So, why spend $80/mo more just to miss out on all the fun?
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Old 08-02-2019, 11:26 PM   #7
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Another advantage on the Wet Coast is the wonderful greenish patina that the north side of the boat takes on as the long winter goes on. You certainly donít get that in a boathouse!

Folks who keep their boats under cover also are stuck with their canvas. It never wears out. Those of out in the open get to change out our canvas much more often.
Back when we were in an open slip with our last boat, I spent two days washing the boat with a bleach and soap solution getting the green stuff off. The green on the canvas required a pressure washer after bleach.

Teak required frequent varnish. Fiberglass required waxing twice per year, buff every other year.

Boat had to be washed every time it got used.

Sandpiper fortunately lives in a boat house. I spend about 30 minutes with an electric leaf blower blowing the dust off the boat in the spring. I wash the boat 3 times a year with soap. Plain water housing off when needed..

When I am working on a project, I can stop at the end of the day, drop all the tools on the deck, lock up the boathouse and leave without clean up or putting things away.

I can work on exterior projects all year around in any weather.

I own the boathouse so will be able to recoup cost and most likely make a profit.

Downside to covered moorage; I had to hinge the mast. I had to remove the paravane poles.

Downside to boathouse ownership; bare styrofoam has to be replaced with tubs eventually, maintenance of the boathouse structure and sheet metal, no view out windows.
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Old 08-02-2019, 11:45 PM   #8
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I'm in open moorage now, no choice as there are no boat houses or shed any where near here.

Before we moved we kept the boat in a shed. It meant I could redo my varnish every two years, instead of the now yearly. I worked a pattern so all got done. The wax lasted longer. the only problem areas were the stern where the sun could get at it.

I did a lot of exterior maintenance and outright repairs over the years in spite of the weather. Now if the weather doesn't co-operate I can't do the work.

If I could have a shed, not a house, I would take it. I wouldn't turn a house down but I never found it needed.

If you can afford it and it is available a shed or house will help reduce mtce. and make exterior winter mtce. possible.
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Old 08-02-2019, 11:52 PM   #9
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One advantage of an open slip in the PNW is that you will know when a leak occurs sooner than if the slip is covered.
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Old 08-02-2019, 11:57 PM   #10
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In the PNW, if you can get under cover, do it. I'm in an open slip but not by choice. I'd much prefer the boat to be sheltered from the rain, sun and snow. Worth the extra money.
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Old 08-03-2019, 12:13 AM   #11
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One advantage of an open slip in the PNW is that you will know when a leak occurs sooner than if the slip is covered.
Very true.

Before I replaced the roofs on Sandpiper, first rain meant water drips.

No matter how carefully I inspected and caulked cracks on the roof prior to leaving the boathouse, there were always ones I could'nt see.
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Old 08-03-2019, 12:16 AM   #12
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Pros: boat stays dry and lasts longer/less topside maintenance. Is in shade on sunny days. You can invite sail boaters up onto the flybridge. No rain/snow on boat.

Cons: Is in shade on sunny days. Greater risk of fire damage should a boat under the roof set things on fire. Costs more/harder to get sometimes. Easy to bust off VHF antennas (don't ask me how I know!) Heavy snow load can sink covered moorage.
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Old 08-03-2019, 12:42 AM   #13
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Here's the best reason to be under cover. This is a 3 year old wax job.




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Old 08-03-2019, 12:46 AM   #14
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We love our covered slip here in Portland, but weíre lucky to have it. There really arenít a lot available in the PNW. Weíd like to move the boat up to the Sound, but theyíre even harder to find up there. Definitely worth the extra cost when you consider the maintenance savings.
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Old 08-03-2019, 12:48 AM   #15
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I would go covered if possible. Your boat will love you for it.
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Old 08-03-2019, 02:40 AM   #16
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Having a substantial mast, a covered berth is not available. On the other hand, covered berths made of wood are a much greater fire hazard than an open one.
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