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Old 07-20-2020, 06:58 PM   #1
Highland Mist's Avatar
City: Lakewood, WA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Highland Mist
Vessel Model: North Pacific Yacht 39
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 15
Boathouses in PNW

Hello all - we are considering moving from dry storage to a boathouse in the Tacoma area to keep the boat closer to us and more readily available for summer days. Highland Mist is 42' LOA, but we intend to move up to a 45' (LOA 48'5") in the next couple of years. I know nothing of boathouses - for one thing, costs vary widely from the $40K range to well over $300,000 (CLEARLY cost-prohibitive). I know there is sales tax, insurance, etc., but am unsure of routine maintenance requirements. Any constructive comments are welcomed - wiseacre remarks would also be entertaining!


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Old 07-21-2020, 12:10 AM   #2
City: Anacortes
Country: USA
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They are mostly going the way of the dodo bird. In most places after you buy one, of course you are still paying a sizable monthly moorage fee. If sitting over DNR land, every year that goes by, more pressure to get rid of them or not renew the leasehold. Even covered moorage has lots of pressure, replacing roof panels to get more light under the docks, etc.. The ones in Tacoma have been frequently on the market for years. Donít know what is driving the sales, but it has been noticeable. Iíd say do your homework with real due diligence.

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Old 07-21-2020, 10:30 AM   #3
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City: Bellingham WA
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Vessel Model: 45' Hatteras Convertible
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Quite a few in Bellingham and Blaine, and some posted for sale. Reduced effects of sun and rain are a big plus, but they are expensive and you have to follow all the rules set forth by the port, in this case Port of Bellingham. Suggest you go to their website for more info. People who have them seem to like them, though.
Ken on Hatt Trick
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Old 07-22-2020, 01:01 PM   #4
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City: Gibsons, B.C.
Country: Canada
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Boathouses to me are closed so houses.
A boat she'd offers most of the same attributes.
We kept our boat in sheds for 25 yr. I was able to work on the boat year round, both interior and exterior and I did some fairly involved work. The weather seldom interfered with my activities.

We moved and took the boat with us to open moorage. No houses, no sheds.
I still do interior stuff but virtually no chance for serious exterior stuff any longer from Oct. to May

The boat has a winter cover which means we no longer winter boat. We used to and would still do some.

If you can afford it and you do your own work or winter boat at least seriously consider a she'd if not a house.
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Old 07-23-2020, 01:57 PM   #5
City: Tacoma, WA
Country: United Stated
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Join Date: Jul 2019
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Have I got a deal for you......!

I live in Reno and have a 2nd home in Tacoma and own a couple of boathouses that I've purchased in the last five years - one small (37' x 17') at Day Island Yacht Club (DIYC) and one I'm going to fill in the near future (58' x 22') at Tacoma Yacht Club (TYC) - will start seriously looking for a 52-58' LOA pilothouse early next year.

The DIYC boathouse has been excellent for our needs - we sometimes don't see the boat for a month or two and with it under cover and checked for issues every day by the carekeeper of the YC - I feel secure. The boat is ready year around to use with a simple wash down and so nice to work on it under cover all year long - and DIYC amenities are pretty good for the monthly. Only issue to my mind is that tide has to be over 3' for coming and going - but I've easily worked around that. Boathouse maintenance has been very minimal - little paint and power wash - but do make sure that you get one on tubs - not styrofoam - if the marina/YC requires it.

Both YC's have boathouses for sale right now (TYC has two to fit your needs but somewhat pricey) and DIYC only has small ones available right now. I do have a line with an older gentleman at DIYC who is selling his +/- 48" boathouse and 42' boat but hasn't advertised it yet. If you are interested PM me and I'll give you his information.

Was up there last week and we saw Orca's under the Narrows bridge and off of TYC - love PNW boating - especially with a boathouse!
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Old 07-27-2020, 12:37 PM   #6
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City: Yelm, WA
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I've kept out boats in boathouses whenever we can. I currently own a 60' house at Breakwater Marina in Tacoma. A couple pretty obvious observations; the more you pay for the underlying moorage, the cheaper you can usually get the house. For example, at the Day Island Club mentioned above, where I currently have a second house for sale, larger houses are at a premium because moorage is relatively cheap. There is currently a 47' house there for sale, for I think about 84,000. Out at Breakwater, where I am, my 60' house was significantly less than that, but my monthly moorage bill is outrageous.

The city taxes are relatively inexpensive. If the boathouse is up to current standards, maintenance is not much. Boathouses also don't often change price too much, so when you sell, you likely get a big part of your purchase price back.

The real deal is that the boat stays Soooo much cleaner and drier inside a house. I can leave my tools out, store spares etc all over the place. Heck, mine even has a fridge, freezer, a couple comfy chairs and coffee tale installed in the loft.

Everything is a trade off, but all things being considered, I'd almost always opt for the house other than if you are a liveaboard. Have fun.
Toni Froehling
Day Island Washington
1994 Bayliner 4788
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Old 07-27-2020, 05:03 PM   #7
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City: Gig Harbor
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FWIW, I'd love to have my boat in a boathouse. If I did, I might actually have a clean and shiny boat. I definitely don't now. I could work on the boat more easily in all kinds of weather. Now it is either too hot, too cold, or too wet much of the time. A boathouse would allow me to more easily store things for the boat without them actually having to be IN the boat all the time. Now, I've got the boat, my garage, and my car stuffed to the gills with boat stuff.

OTOH, this last weekend I spent the weekend on the boat without leaving the dock. I could sit in the aft cockpit or in the saloon and have a glorious view of Gig Harbor. The kids and grandkids were able to easily meet us there and go sailing, kayaking, and paddle boarding right from the boat. In essence, the boat at our dock (granted I have a great spot) is a wonderful place to be even if we don't have the time to go anywhere. If my boat was in a boathouse, it would be clean, but maybe not enjoyed as much.

If it was just me, and not my family, I'd probably opt for a boathouse. As it is, I'll stick with open moorage.

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Old 07-27-2020, 06:20 PM   #8
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City: Southport, Florida
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Not exactly sure what constitutes a boathouse in the PNW, but I am guessing they may have sides. Here in Florida while there are boathouses fit for 40-ish footer trawlers, they are very few and far between to the point that the only ones I can remember seeing are mine and the one across the bayou, now both destroyed by Hurricane Michael - they were both vinyl covered hoop affairs with not sides as such. The before and after (with the new version representative of most Florida "boat covers") Michael versions occupying the same footprint are below. Although wide and long enough to house the old GB42, the vertical clearance at the sill is now to low for that boat.
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Rich Gano
FROLIC (2005 MainShip 30 Pilot II)
Panama City area
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Old 07-27-2020, 06:42 PM   #9
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Covered berths are common here, particularly from Vallejo eastward into the Delta.
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Old 07-28-2020, 11:34 AM   #10
City: San Francisco
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What I want is a boathouse in dry storage, or alternatively a boathouse with a lift. Boat is out of the water and covered. It would cut maintenance by a large percentage and keep the boat looking new indefinitely. Obviously if your usage pattern involved lots of days on board in your slip, not a good idea. Any time I spend in the slip is working on the boat.
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Old 07-31-2020, 07:25 PM   #11
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City: Lakewood, WA
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Vessel Model: North Pacific Yacht 39
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Many thanks to all of you for your insight. Starbright - thank you for the lead - we are TYC members, and don't really want to "jump ship" for a berth. I do appreciate the offer to link up though, thanks. I think we are sold on the idea of a need to shop for location & price. Happy sailing to all!
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Old 07-31-2020, 08:33 PM   #12
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City: Gig Harbor
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Originally Posted by Highland Mist View Post
Many thanks to all of you for your insight. Starbright - thank you for the lead - we are TYC members, and don't really want to "jump ship" for a berth. I do appreciate the offer to link up though, thanks. I think we are sold on the idea of a need to shop for location & price. Happy sailing to all!
If you already belong to TYC, I would buy one there. Owning a boathouse at a yacht club is the only way to own one. At private or municipal marinas, you have no say in moorage costs, boathouse construction standards or whether they decide to ellminate boathouses someday.

At a yacht club with a lot of boathouses, boathouse owners have considerable clout and can control moorage fees and boathouse rules. If the boathouse is over DNA water, then flotation tubs and 25% clear panels on the roof are required before the next DNA Lease renewal.

I've owned a 20' X 52' boathouse at a yacht club for 18 years. My total monthly cost is less than the cost of an open slip at an adjacent marina. I had to purchase the boathouse and remodel it to get Sandpiper to fit. The DNR lease will be up for renewal in 2022 so I have been replacing the foam blocks with tubs - 10 per year.


When I had boats in open moorage in the PNW, I spent several days every spring washing the mildew, dirt, black streaks and other contaminants off the boat and canvas. Now in the boathouse, I blow off the dust with a cordless leaf lower in the spring.

I wash the boat twice a year.

Canvas and upholstery doesn't fade and can last 20 years plus.

When I worked on the outside of the boat in an open slip, I had to clean the debris off the dock and put my tools and cords away at the end of the day. Now in the boathouse, I just drop everything, lock the boathouse door and leave.

I have a shop area in the boathouse with workbenches, table saw, compressor, material and tool storage. The boathouse has a loft where I can store boat equipment, supplies, fishing, crabbing and prawning gear. The roof is tall enough that I can hang kayaks and a 12' sailboat from the trusses.

I can work on the exterior of the boat all year, rain snow or shine. The temperature inside the boathouse with curtain closed is typically 10 degrees higher than outside. I have heaters to take the chill off.

If a liveboard, plenty of space for storage and maybe an extra freezer or frig.

You can have an 8 speaker plus subwoofer sound system to provide music while you work like mine.

And finally, when done boating, instead of a box of moorage receipts, the boathouse can be sold for more than purchase price. Unless maintenance and upkeep was neglected.


Cost of acquisition.

Maintenance. It's yours so better keep it in good shape. A boathouse, constructed well with 100% steel exterior and floating on tubs should require minimal maintenance. The occasional loose fastner is about it.

If an older boathouse without tubs or 25% clear roof panels is purchased at a reduced price, then the cost can spiral up. There are very few construction professionals in the boathouse building and repairing business and the wait times to get one on site can be long and cost are more expensive than building a similiar shed on land. I do my own work and it is not overly complex or difficult but some agility is required working up on a scaffold tied on top of a moveable dock.

If a live aboard or spend considerable time aboard, the view out the windows is not great. There are probably over ten boats in boathouses at my YC with livaboards.

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