How much is a marina berth worth?

Published: Monday, 12 July 2021

ON THE Trent & Mersey Canal, there are many marinas within a day's cruising, writes Andrew Claxby.

So there is a temptation amongst marinas owners to think they can get away with just charging the local 'going rate'. Whilst this may be true if you are simply looking for somewhere to 'park' a boat that you use infrequently, but the rest of the boating community is a little more discerning I suspect.

My evaluation method

From a personal point of view I have a mental checklist I use to evaluate the 'worth'—i.e desirability, of a marina berth. This sort of checklist will of course change in terms of order of priority from boater to boater, but in general a marina in a poor location or with few facilities, can still be 'overpriced' and therefore not competitive, whilst charging the 'going rate'.

Location is my prime concern. Are their many locks in the vicinity, and what is their condition? (Having to navigate poorly maintained locks every time you take your boat out soon becomes a chore.)

Is it easy to get into or out of your berth/marina on a breezy day? In other words has the marina been designed by someone who has skippered a narrowboat or is it laid out like a supermarket car park!

Is it quiet or is there a busy main road or railway nearby (to disturb you afternoon nap)?
Does it smell nice? Don't laugh! I know of a marina that is adjacent to a sewerage treatment plant.


Being an oldie a secure footing is paramount, so is the decking and walkways in some way anti-slip? (I think that should be a legal requirement to be honest.)

Are there toilets/shower blocks/rubbish skips near your pontoon?

Walking around half the marina to the main block is okay in the summer, but unpleasant on a cold wet winters' day.

Paths/car parking. What are the state of these? Are they potholed/muddy/hardcore or tarmac.

Are there enough car parking spaces for the number of berths? Surprisingly some marinas have parking spaces for only about 25% of the berths!


If you talk to moorers from that marina do they find it a pleasant place to moor? Again this is not a given.

Some marinas have other priorities and tolerate boaters because they provide a steady source of revenue and 'entertainment' for gongoozlers at the on-site gastro pub.

Are the office staff boater friendly and helpful (or boaters themselves)?

Dogs and boaters seem to go together, but I have moored in a marina with no poo bins!

Bonus features

Some marinas gain 'bonus points' for having on-site (rented?) storage for coal or more importantly expensive bikes.

Others have a boaters lounge where boaters can meet up and have a chat during bad weather.

Points system. If I were more organised I should generate a chart and award points (based on each category). From the points score it would then be easy to do a price versus desirability overview of the marinas in my area.

A case in point?

Barton Marina upped it's prices by around 8% during lockdown when, I might remind you, the marina and the system itself was closed. No new facilities have been built in the marina for boaters exclusive use for ages, so moorers wondered if this ill-timed rise was to replace lost revenue due to the on site gastro pub being closed?

Barton Turns2The management attitude at the time was of the 'We are competitive on price with other if you don't like it ...' Enough said. Either way it seemed the price rise was a step too far and created much bad feeling.

Now the canals have re-opened there has been a steady stream of boats leaving the marina as they have presumably found other moorings that are better value for money or perhaps more boater friendly? Indeed such are the numbers that have left Barton it is now possible that the revenue from the marina is less than it was before the price rise. Boaters have voted with their tillers and gone!