Monday, February 07, 2011

Marathon City Marina

Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL
34 42.54 N 081 05.58 W

Since we're spending so much time here, I should write something about our host -- The Marathon City Marina.  Another day, I'll write about the Marathon Cruisers Net.

Important stuff up front.  We've stayed in many city marinas from way up in Vermont down to here in Marathon.   Of them all, we think that this marina is the best managed of them all.   I don't know much about city politics, but I'm willing to bet that Richard, the manager, is the reason why.  Richard it tough, dedicated, and very capable.  Notwithstanding that, this is not a fluff piece.  I have some criticisms below.

In a nutshell, the marina provides over 200 moorings here in Boot Key Harbor, plus 10 or so dock spaces.  There is a large, office/mailroom/lounge/TV room, and about 20 toilet/shower rooms.  It has ample facilities for parking cars and bicycles, and dinghies.   Their fees are on the low side.  We pay about $280/month for a mooring; the cheapest of any city marina we know.

Here are a few of the things that they do that impress me so much.

  • City marina pump out boats come every week.  The fee is built in to the mooring fee.  The pump out boat visits all the boats in this harbor, whether docked, moored, anchored, at city or private facilities.  The purpose is not to make money but to keep the harbor clean.  There is even a redundant pump out boat, so that no interruption occurs in case of mechanical breakdown. Marathon is light years ahead of other cities in this regard.
  • City paid divers inspect the tackle on each mooring four times every year.  If the tackle is worn, it is removed from service until repaired.
  • Marina employees are very nice, competent, helpful, and hard working.  Many other city marinas seem to be employed with patronage beneficiaries with bad attitudes.
  • The marina provides a secure facility to dispose of waste oil/fuel/batteries and other toxics.  Most marinas have no such thing.
  • Their lowest rates apply to month-long rentals.  However, if you're waiting for a weather window to leave, you can extend your stay day-by-day at the monthly rate.  Thus there is no financial incentive to compromise safety.
  • They have ways of dealing with derelict and abandoned bicycles and boats, of which there seems to be an endless supply.
  • They don't put up with nonsense.  Rules are clear and enforced.
  • They abstained from filling the entire harbor with moorings.   There remains room for 50-75 boats to sit at anchor.  Without that, there could be safety issues when bad weather approaches and no vacant docks or moorings remain.  It is very wise to leave space to anchor. Anchored boats can pay a fee to use the City Marina facilities, and they can pump out like anyone else.
Now, how about some of the less nice stuff.
  • They used to have only 4 toilet/shower rooms that in the opinion of many cruisers were "disgusting." A couple of years ago, they built new facilities with a new laundry and about 20 toilet/shower rooms.

    Believe it or not, the long awaited new showers are even more disgusting than the old ones.  IMHO the worst thing is that the floors are not sloped properly to allow water to drain.  When you come in one of these rooms after several others have showered, the floors are covered with standing water  If you drop your pants when sitting on the toilet, they fall into the puddle and come up soaked with water.  (I hope to God that it is water and only water!)  Imagine how that is to your image to exit the bathroom with soaking wet pants?

    If you want to shave with an electric razor or use a hair dryer, you must do that while standing barefoot (or wearing water soaked shoes) in a grounded puddle of water.  It seems inevitable that one day someone will be electrocuted.

    Several of our friends refuse to shower at the marina.  They do it on board instead.   Libby refuses to use their toilets,  she goes to the much nicer city-owned facilities in the nearby park instead.
  • The lounge has unbelievably bad acoustics.   As I sit here writing this in the lounge, there is a group next to me trying to listen to a lecture about the Bahamas.  I'm sure that most of them can't hear 50% of what is said.

    We came to the lounge one night for a meet-and-greet pot luck supper.  The background noise was so loud, Libby and I had to converse with a mouth direct to the ear.  I don't think we'll go again.

    If you sit in the TV area, the background noise from the lounge is so loud that the TV sound can't be heard at normal volume.
I have no idea whether these two faults are the fault of the city or the marina.  But hey, nothing is perfect. I can say that they don't sway my overall opinion.  This city marina is still the best.  It has a lot to do with the draw that brings so many cruisers here year after year.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Type your comments here.