The Berthing Issue

Renting or leasing a berth for the short, medium or long term is normally a matter of supply and demand where availability in most sizes can be very tight in highly desirable destination locations during the high season. It is not as crucial in the lower season or in areas that are not as popular or do not have the appropriate repair and servicing facilities.

As time goes by and more new yachts are built with older ones being kept in great condition and few being scrapped or lost, it is becoming a challenge to foresee how berths in the most popular cruising grounds will be available when needed. Authorities in mature destinations are reluctant to approve new marinas or extend older ones, and the existing facilities are being squeezed to capacity. In addition, regulations vary greatly between countries and there is no common pattern.

For many owners it makes sense to rent a berth as it offers flexibility until they decide to settle in a home port or marina or have very clear ideas about their yachting plans. Having a long lease on a berth, or several of them, in their favourite locations will normally bring peace of mind and the assurance of availability. It should be possible to rent berths out when not being used, and they may be a reasonably good investment over time although circumstances do change and as leases reach their end, they generally become less valuable.

Very large yachts and explorers may be found anchoring off popular location and are generally more likely to be spending more time on the move or in faraway places and may only plan to stop in shipyards or in less popular locations that allow refitting afloat.

Captains and crew of medium and larger yachts may have a strong influence on the choice of a winter port depending on the size and the needs of the yacht with locations such as Palma and Antibes being attractive as they can also enjoy better family lives when they are not cruising.

Smaller or pocket yacht owners may enjoy coming to their yacht year-round and might chose a more vibrant marina or city location to use their yacht like a floating home. Just like everything else in yachting, it is important to find the right balance for your own circumstances.