FAQ on buying a marina berth

If you are a boat owner, you may have wondered how much money you could save by buying a marina berth or mooring instead of paying for your space each year.  You might also be interested to know if there were any other benefits to owning your own marina berth.

To help we have put together a list of frequently asked questions. These are questions that our clients ask on a regular basis. Helping them to make the best decision for them on owning a berth vs renting a berth. 

If you have a question that isn’t covered, please get in touch and we’ll try our best to answer it. Then we may add it to our FAQ.

How do you value a marina berth for sale?

Thanks to Howard for this question.

Valuing a marina berth to sell is dependent on multiple factors. These include location, lease size (both length and width), years left on the lease and the variety of benefits that can be included in the lease.

It is always best to get a professional opinion. Here at Triangle, we’d always be happy to help in this regard. Please get in touch. We will be able to look at the market, recent berth sales and current demand when helping you to consider the value of a marina berth or mooring.

How long does it take to buy a marina berth?

The length of time it takes to buy a marina berth will depend on which country you are buying the berth in. Below are a couple of examples from our recent experience.

Buying a marina berth in the UK

If you are buying a berth in the UK the process can be very similar to when you buy a property.

In the majority of cases, allow between 6-10 weeks from payment of your deposit until the marina berth is ready to move your boat onto.

This is because some of the marina berths bought and sold in the UK are on the Land Registry. So at the end of the sales process, you will hold deeds to the marina berth you have just bought.

Not all UK marinas have their berths registered this way. If the berth you are looking at isn’t registered then it will be sold and operated under a berthing license.

Buying a marina berth in Europe

If you are buying a marina berth in Europe you will usually need to use the services of a local notary.

Some marinas have to approve changes in berth ownership at board meetings. These can be held sporadically and can slow down the sales transfer.

If you are looking to move onto a berth on a certain date, possibly to coincide with the end of a berth rental. Then let us know at the start of the process so we can communicate with all parties involved. This will help keep everyone focused.

The length of time can vary from payment of the deposit through to completion. We have on a couple of occasions closed the sale of a European marina berth in less than two weeks. This was thanks to a well-organised port and the buyer and seller working quickly to complete paperwork.

Should I appoint a solicitor when buying a marina berth?

If you are buying a marina berth in the UK then we do suggest that you appoint a solicitor. Although any property solicitor will be able to help, we advise our clients to appoint a solicitor who has previous experience in buying and selling marina berths. This is solely due to the fact that this can speed up the process which ultimately saves you money. We provide an up-to-date list of solicitors who can help once your offer has been accepted. 

If you are buying in Europe then you will need to use a local notary to buy your berth. We can help and advise on this subject so please ask.

What exactly is it that I am buying?

When you purchase a long lease marina berth you are buying the right to moor your vessel in a marina.

At some marinas, you will be buying the right to moor your vessel on a dedicated berth.

In other marinas, you will be buying the right to moor your vessel in the marina as a whole.

In both cases, this right to berth is for a predetermined length of time and for a predetermined size, length and width of a marina berth.

We do occasionally have freehold marina berths for sale. These berths don’t have a lease end date.

Will I have to pay stamp duty if I buy a marina berth in the UK?

You’ll be happy to hear that you won’t have any stamp duty to pay on any marina berth purchase in the UK.

What other benefits can I expect from my marina?

The benefits you will receive as a marina berth owner will vary from marina to marina and location to location.

In some you will receive permits to park a vehicle, in others passes to enter the clubhouse. Some will include discounts on lift-outs and time ashore included. Other marinas include water and electricity. They really can vary a lot.

I’m going travelling or selling my boat. What can I do with the marina berth I own?

This is a question we are asked regularly. We suggest you take a close look at your lease. Here you will be able to see whether you are entitled to sublet your berth.

At Triangle, we help a lot of owners who wish to sublet their berths. We work hard to find tenants who are looking for a marina berth to rent whilst they are not using them.

You may decide that you’d prefer to sell your marina berth and we’d be happy to market it on your behalf.

What happens when my lease expires?

Over the next few years, marina leases, especially in Mediterranean marinas, will expire. In the UK at MDL marinas, this will happen in 2034 or 2035.

In Europe, many marinas are owned by the municipal council in the area in which the marina is located. Prior to the end of the concession, the council will have asked interested parties to tender to operate and run the marina for a certain length of time.

Once awarded the concession holders sell long leases to berth holders. Offering them the ability to moor their vessel until X date. This date will be in line with the end of the concession.

When it gets close to the expiry date, unless things have changed, the marina operator will apply to the local council to rerun the concession.

Once the concession has been awarded the marina operator will probably look to sell lease berths again to cover the length of their concession. These are often offered in the first instance to current lease berth holders and sometimes at a special rate.

If a current lease berth holder chooses not to buy another berth. They will then either revert to paying annual fees if the marina has rental berths. Alternatively, they may also use this as an opportunity to move their vessel to another marina. Where they can either purchase another lease berth or rent the berth annually or monthly.

When we first considered buying a bigger boat we didn’t know whether to buy the boat and hope to get a mooring or buy the mooring and hope to get a boat. 

Thanks to David for this question.

This is quite often a tricky question and in some circumstances does relate to location. In sought-after locations, it does pay to get the berth sorted first. So you are certain you have somewhere to put your vessel. You do of course need to know the size and beam of the vessel you are going to buy. Some marinas are very strict on the lease berth sizes. Very often vessels are not allowed to be over-length and very rarely over width.

Please get in touch and we will happily advise on this subject based on your specific location and vessel requirements.

A family member has died, what can we do with the marina berth they own?

In this instance, it is usual for the berth (property) to go through the probate process.

We regularly work with executors who require a formal valuation of the berth.

Once probate has passed we can then be contracted to assist in selling or renting out the berth.

Why not take a look at the marina berths we currently have listed for sale?

We hope that we have answered some of the questions you may have had on buying a marina berth. Please feel free to contact us if you have other questions, or can help with your next marina berth.