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Old 10-23-2021, 08:07 PM   #1
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Angry $20 to dock your dinghy for dinner.

Stepping onto the soapbox.

This just rubbed me the wrong way. There is this really wonderful restaurant in Southport, NC called Joseph's Italian Bistro and Chop House. Been going there for 6 years every time I pass through. It's located overlooking South Harbor Village Marina. The marina always saves some space along the back floating walkway for people going to the restaurant to tie up at. I don't believe the restaurant paid for it, more of a mutually beneficial and neighborly thing to do. Sometimes I would stay at the marina overnight and sometimes I would anchor out near by.

Safe Harbors has bought the marina. Dinghy parking is now $20 for dinner. I realize it's their marina to do as they wish. I feel sorry for the restaurant as they may loose some business as a result of it. Without going into details, I was able to work around paying this time. I guess I could see $5 or maybe $10, but $20 says "we don't want you." So be it. The streets of Hell will be 3' deep in snow before I stay in that marina again or any of there other ones.

Stepping down from the soapbox.

Ted
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Old 10-23-2021, 08:19 PM   #2
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I have paid more in valet parking and tip for the valet at good steakhouses.
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Old 10-23-2021, 08:19 PM   #3
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That definitely seems exorbitant to me!
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Old 10-23-2021, 08:40 PM   #4
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South Harbour Village Marina (now a Safe Harbor property) is our home port and Joseph's is one of our local favorites. I didn't know they were starting to charge for short term docking but it doesn't surprise me. Bald Head Island Marina started charging $20 for short term docking several years ago and have recently gone to $2/ft. Sign of the times I suppose.
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Old 10-23-2021, 09:22 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
Stepping onto the soapbox.

This just rubbed me the wrong way. There is this really wonderful restaurant in Southport, NC called Joseph's Italian Bistro and Chop House. Been going there for 6 years every time I pass through. It's located overlooking South Harbor Village Marina. The marina always saves some space along the back floating walkway for people going to the restaurant to tie up at. I don't believe the restaurant paid for it, more of a mutually beneficial and neighborly thing to do. Sometimes I would stay at the marina overnight and sometimes I would anchor out near by.

Safe Harbors has bought the marina. Dinghy parking is now $20 for dinner. I realize it's their marina to do as they wish. I feel sorry for the restaurant as they may loose some business as a result of it. Without going into details, I was able to work around paying this time. I guess I could see $5 or maybe $10, but $20 says "we don't want you." So be it. The streets of Hell will be 3' deep in snow before I stay in that marina again or any of there other ones.

Stepping down from the soapbox.

Ted
On the surface.....it seems....

Very dangerous words because often things are not at all like they seem. Not knowing the rest of the story, I'd be reluctant to place the blame. I know a lot of people got upset when Miami Beach Marina started charging landing fees (after Suntex took over management). However, it was very out of control and pickups weren't 2 minutes or something but often extended times with many persons on the docks. Also, often preventing customers wanting fuel or to dock from getting in. Now they charge day fees to any boat docking and the fees aren't cheap either. The exception is boats under 35' with receipts from Monty's get 2 hours. Clearly Monty's is paying and no one else is. The marina is docking/parking for Joe's Stone Crab and dozens of other restaurants. They must charge. Anyone docking there other than that pays and pays high daily rates. Suntex now operates Las Olas Marina in Fort Lauderdale and has similar policies I believe. The City of Fort Lauderdale charges $0.70 per foot for any boat over 31' to dock but I don't know about smaller or dinghies.

You don't see parking lots just generously tell you if you're going to a restaurant near then parking is free unless the restaurant is compensating them. That's what we have here. I would be interested in knowing if the charge is the same if you go to Rusty Hooks. The last I heard the marina still hadn't fully recovered from Isaias.

I guess I come from the view that to dock any boat at any marina other than a public facility (as in city owned) that chooses to provide a free dinghy dock should cost money. It's use of the facilities. If restaurant doesn't pay then customer has to.

I do think it's worth asking the marina and/or restaurant managers further questions. $20 seems high for that location. Wouldn't shock me at all in South Florida. $20 might be high but certainly no reason for it to be free.

I wouldn't swear off of all Safe Harbor. You will need one of their marinas sometime. Companies acquiring others face a lot of challenges and some are changing poor business practices. Businesses sell because they have more value to the purchasers than the sellers. That almost always requires change.
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Old 10-24-2021, 01:17 AM   #6
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Marinas. Can't live with them, cannot live without them.

Moorage rates were lower when there was more dock space than boats. Land & water lots have gone up 10 fold in value. Making a return on investment became difficult and they stopped building new marinas. Now there are more boats than dock space. Supply and demand, we need them more than they need us and the costs will continue to rise, new charges will become the Norm.
OP has found the beginning of the never ending surcharges.
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Old 10-24-2021, 02:28 AM   #7
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Marinas. Can't live with them, cannot live without them.

.
And yet we have never just fine for 40+ years on various boats and 5+ years with this one.
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Old 10-24-2021, 04:52 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
Stepping onto the soapbox.

This just rubbed me the wrong way. There is this really wonderful restaurant in Southport, NC called Joseph's Italian Bistro and Chop House. Been going there for 6 years every time I pass through. It's located overlooking South Harbor Village Marina. The marina always saves some space along the back floating walkway for people going to the restaurant to tie up at. I don't believe the restaurant paid for it, more of a mutually beneficial and neighborly thing to do. Sometimes I would stay at the marina overnight and sometimes I would anchor out near by.

Safe Harbors has bought the marina. Dinghy parking is now $20 for dinner. I realize it's their marina to do as they wish. I feel sorry for the restaurant as they may loose some business as a result of it. Without going into details, I was able to work around paying this time. I guess I could see $5 or maybe $10, but $20 says "we don't want you." So be it. The streets of Hell will be 3' deep in snow before I stay in that marina again or any of there other ones.

Stepping down from the soapbox.

Ted
Maybe Safe Harbor is trying to 'starve out' the restaurant so they can buy it?
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Old 10-24-2021, 05:17 AM   #9
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Isn’t it just plain old capitalism at work? Why should SH/Sun give away an asset for free? They have an obligation to make money for their investors, not be neighborly.

The days of community minded independent marinas seem to be dwindling. Small businesses can’t afford to compete with corporations to buy out independent marinas when the owners retire. In many cases sellers can’t turn down lucrative offers to turn the property into condos.

Not defending SH and $20 seems like the steep end but, I’ve seen boaters abuse the privilege of docking for free time and again. Overstaying the hours or staying overnight or more than one night or having parties and taking over the dock. Often enough a small number of people can’t be considerate of others and ruin it for the rest who do.

I don’t know the restaurant’s situation but they could offer a discount to those who pay to dock and offset the cost.
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Old 10-24-2021, 05:31 AM   #10
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Thank you Ted.

My opinion of most restaurants has tumbled quite a bit in recent decades.

Making it difficult to get to them or having to pay even more for mediocre food guarantees me never returning or even going in the first place.
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Old 10-24-2021, 05:45 AM   #11
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The Original Pancake House is about 1 mile away. I would go there more often except it is so friggin cold in there. I have to wear a sweater or jacket and almost have to wear long pants so I make breakfast at home. Come on folks, this is FL.
There is one Waffle House and it is 30 minutes away and ALWAYS crowded. I aint standing line to eat there.
Sooooo, I eat on the boat, no dress code.
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Old 10-24-2021, 05:50 AM   #12
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Capitalism or not it’s hard to see a large company like Safe Harbor slowly driving the average guy out of boating. Many families are already stretching things to pursue a boating lifestyle. Safe Harbor realizes that people who can afford to will pay a lot more than they are currently paying to access the water and they plan to capitalize on it. They have “upgraded”many of the marinas that they have purchased in my neck of the woods and they aren’t bashful about charging for it. It’s hard to watch things change I guess. I applaud the small Boat Yards and Marinas that have found a way to resist the temptation to sell out.
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Old 10-24-2021, 06:01 AM   #13
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Maybe $5 for 90 minutes? More than enough time to eat and leave.
Or maybe take-out or delivered to the dock?

I wonder if that $20 is for all day??
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Old 10-24-2021, 06:46 AM   #14
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How full was the dinghy dock ? That will tell you if the price was fair.

It may also be a privacy issue for the members of that marina. I would not want 100 people per day walking past my boat every night on their way to and from dinner.
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Old 10-24-2021, 06:48 AM   #15
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Common at many marinas/restuarants that we visited over the years - never seemed to affect business.
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Old 10-24-2021, 06:58 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by O C Diver View Post
There is this really wonderful restaurant in Southport, NC called Joseph's Italian Bistro and Chop House. Been going there for 6 years every time I pass through. It's located overlooking South Harbor Village Marina.
Indeed, we've had very good meals there, a couple of times as we've passed through... including this most recent time.


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The last I heard the marina still hadn't fully recovered from Isaias.
When we stopped there in early August they were fully operational, even if still working on some dock plumbing and some cosmetic concrete. The new piles look to be about a mile high. Dock water at the pedestals wasn't yet working, but they had a bazillion hoses strung out along the new docks so everyone could get fresh water.

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Old 10-24-2021, 07:40 AM   #17
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yeah, that the thing... $20 seems like punishment money for a few hours of no service just access.
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Old 10-24-2021, 08:14 AM   #18
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Regarding marina's charging for dingy access. I don't have answers, only questions.

- How much does it cost to build the dingy dock? Materials, labor, permits.
- How much does it cost to maintain the dingy dock? Materials, labor, taxes.
- What are the other costs of ownership of the dingy dock? Payments if the marina was purchased with other people's money. Payments if construction and maintenance of the dingy dock was purchased with other people's money?
- How much profit does the marina need to make on the dingy dock before convering that dock to use that generates reliable revenue?
- How much profit does the marina need to make to stay in the marina business vs selling out to higher value development?
- How much does the marina make off the restaurant to cover the above costs?
- Why should tieing up at the dingy dock be free? The dingy dock and the land & water it occupies are not free to the marina owner and operator.

Those questions are for privately held marinas. For publicly held marinas take the profit questions out and ask why tax payers should support my boating needs. Yes, I know, boaters pay taxes too. When does the city need to seriously consider selling out or leasing out to a private operator and put money in the city coffers?

I do miss the old days. Funky independent marinas. Maybe I was welcomed by a friendly operator. Maybe I was growled at by an old curmudgeon telling me the space was only for paying tenants. But those days are quickly going away.

$20 seems high but to put it in perspective:
$100 + on dinner & drinks
$50 - $300 in fuel costs to get to the restaurant depending upon how far I cruised
$1000 per month base ownership costs for moorage, insurance and routine maintenance before I drop lines and cruise anywhere

So yeah, $20 would piss me off when it used to be free. No different than when street parking used to be free but now it's all metered. But it won't prevent me from making a favorite stop. And is surely won't prevent me from making a necessary stop.
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Old 10-24-2021, 08:20 AM   #19
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so you're comparing it to parking meters. It's been a while since I used one of those, but for a parking meter you're talking what, maybe a few dollars at most? Double that to make for a profit since it's not a city thing.... still not in the league of $20.
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Old 10-24-2021, 08:22 AM   #20
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I see arguments both ways. Like “it’s just honest capitalism “

So it’s also just capitalism for Atlas to shrug, and just say no and let lower demand sort it all out.

I agree with OC Diver. Just say no and give them no more thought
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