That’s it for me. I’ve done my stint and from this Friday, (7th March), I’m back on the cut. Away from the protected environs of the marina and back out into the wilds.
Is it better to over-winter in a marina?
Here’s some of my positive and negative aspects of choosing one, or the other.
Advantages of the Marina over the Cut
- Electric. Easy and probably the only single reason I’d pick a marina over the cut is the electric.
It’s in abundant supply, you can use as much as you want of it, and it doesn’t cost very much.
Contrast this to starting of engines of one sort or another, it’s a greener and more pleasant way to spend those dark nights watching telly or using the computer.
- Post. All post is delivered to the marina office. Around Christmas, this is a massive thing allowing you to shop with alacrity.
- Parking. No more parking on the road, it’s all secure. Need your keys to get in and out and a short walk to the boat.
- Shelter. The boat is slightly more sheltered on the pontoons than areas you might be located on the cut.
- No mud. Serious business when you’re coming home from work or doing the shopping and got the towpath full of mud. Not so bad here on the GU, but down on the Kennet, there were definitely areas where the towpath was impassible.
- Personal care facilities. If you so wish, you can wash and ablute using the marina’s facilities.
- Shop/chandlers. To drop by and pick up things you may need in the future for the boat.
- Water-point/Elsan. Is right there! No fussing and planning trips to the waterpoint/elsan. Waterpoints are at the end of the pontoons, and the elsan is about 25yards away.
- No passing boats. I’m not one of those people that complains a lot about passing boats, but in certain circumstances, they can be detrimental in terms of noise or wake or collisions or all the above. This simply doesn’t happen in the marina.
There are no speeding boats. Although the boats do speed around the marina, it has little or no impact on your boat.
- Deep charge batteries. For 4 months 24/7, your batteries will be receiving full charge courtesy of the marina hook-up.
By the time you leave, they will have reached the maximum amount of charge that they can receive.
From there on in, electrons in your battery electrolyte line up, so they’re all uniform, and ready for action!
This can significantly improve the performance/life of your battery bank.
Advantages of the Cut over the Marina
- Rules. That’s right. There are none on the cut, apart from common law, UK criminal law, a couple of bylaws in various places, there are no rules.
Not the case in the marina. You will find that marina’s have rules about things like 1)Painting 2)Powertools 3)Pushbikes 4)Pets and dogs 5)Shared areas 6)Cutting of wood 7)anything else you can think of.
They will have a whole set of rules they pass you on signing up. In addition to that, they may throw some more in there for good measure if and when they feel like it.
Life without them feels much better.
- Location. You don’t get a choice. The marina is in location X. You too are in location X, it may be near a railway or motorway. The internet or TV signal may be crap, or it may be a long way away from the shops.
They are not alterable by you.
- No views. It is a boat high-rise. All the boats are arranged with one living space sidled up to another, like a lateral block of flats.
Not very appealing. Not great views. A little cloistered shall we say as an environment, it has less instant appeal than the wilds of the cut looking at the side of a boat 7 days a week.
- No wildlife. I think I’ve seen two lots of ducks in 4 months. Usually, these come along every couple of days looking for bread or peering in the windows or eating the weed of the sides of the boat.
Part of the attraction of living on the cut is the wildlife.
There’s comparatively little in a marina.
- Make you lazy. With the car much closer and parking all sanitised and regular, plus marina’s not being located directly on the cut. You’ll find that trips you would have taken along the canalside, either walking or on the bike will now simply be taken in the car.
- Sedentary boat. Regularly, I’ve had to wipe mildew off the engine and alternator.
The injector heads are going rusty.
Ropes gather moss.
Dark side of the boat gathers moss, grass and detritus normally scrubed off when you move the boat.
Although it may not be great for the environment, the engine itself definitely prefers being run on a regular basis.
- It’s not free. Much as we might like it to be.
My winter moorings in a marina, with long-stay premium. A long stay premium is where you stay longer the 6 days a fortnight, ie. you’re actually staying on the boat rather than just visiting it.
This was about 10% on top of monthly mooring fees per foot.
All-in, it was £300 p/m for a 45ft boat.
- It’s not a lifestyle. Marina lubbers will claim it is. Comparatively, it’s not.
It’s a residence.
- Bad neighbors/politics. Although that didn’t happen at this marina. In some of the liveaboard marinas, you’ll find the politics and parochialism that you might in any UK housing estate.
Some like this familiarity, gossip, back-biting, bitching and trouble-making.
- No blog. Sitting in one place isn’t terribly interesting and the blog has suffered.
As I was moving around the Grand Union, I made efforts to visit local places of interest.
Staying in one place, these grow exhausted and the blogs dry up to.
Back on the cut means more blogs, more travel and more travel experiences.