Sailing Tips: How to Choose a Marina

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Use these tips to select the right marina for your sailing holiday.

Selecting the marinas for your yacht charter holiday is a big part of planning your sailing route. Of course, if you’re sailing with a skipper, they’ll know all the best spots and will plan your route accordingly. If you’re sailing on your own, however, there are many things to take into account when selecting a marina for the night.

After a long day of sailing, you’ll want to find a marina with everything you need. From facilities to maintenance, staff and location, there’s a lot to consider.

Selecting a marina is a big investment of time and money, so we’ve put together the ultimate guide to make the process easier.

What to Look For in a Marina


Barcelona, Spain


Location is one of the most important factors in selecting a marina; it will determine your whole route.

  • Planning ahead is crucial if you’re looking for a stress-free experience and aren’t prepared to anchor off-shore.
  • Depending on what you’re looking for — maybe you’d like a marina in the centre of town, or perhaps you would prefer something more secluded — location can be everything. Is it situated near beaches, islands, and anchorages you wish to explore? Is there access to other waterways and rivers? Is it close enough to town for you to be able to explore the local area?
  • Knowing which marinas you’ll be staying in each night can help you plan other aspects of your holiday, such as purchasing provisions, activities, and planning a budget.
  • If, after doing research on your preferential route, you’re still not sure where the best spots are, chat to one of our customer service specialists who can point you in the right direction.


The price of marina fees are a huge factor in planning your budget for the week…

  • Marina costs vary from location to time of year, so it can be hard to determine what’s a good deal and what’s not. You can expect to pay between €5 and €250, depending on many factors.
  • Research the area online, and call around for approximate prices. If it’s peak season, you’ll want to make sure you book ahead to get the best price and ensure a mooring.
  • Again, if you’re still not sure, speak to one of our customer service specialists — either before you leave or during your trip — who can give you a rough idea of what you should be paying in a specific location.


Things you should consider when looking at the facilities of a marina are:

  • Is the dock stocked with petrol, diesel and pump-out facilities?
  • Shower and toilet blocks: availability, cleanliness, safety?
  • Does it stock ice and bait for purchase?
  • Does it have a laundry?
  • Is there environmentally friendly waste disposal?
  • Is there a lounge area? And, if so, does it suit your needs? (e.g. family friendly, bar access.)
  • If you travel with a pet, is it pet friendly?
  • And does the marina store stock all the essentials, like boat parts, sailing supplies, and accessories?


Father son sailing yacht charter Zizoo

Dockside Services

The boat-side services a marina offers are another important factor in selecting the right spot. Things you’ll need to look out for are:

  • Adequate and compatible electricity and water
  • A mobile pump-out service
  • Dock carts
  • Waste disposal units
  • Wifi
  • Cable
  • And a well-maintained docking area

Maintenance Services

The condition a marina is in will tell you a lot about whether or not it’s suitable for you. Things you should consider are:

  • Well-trained technicians and mechanics
  • Pressure washing services
  • Fibreglass repair services
  • Painting services
  • Wash, wax and detailing services
  • Haul-out and drop-in services, if needed

Surrounding Amenities

If you don’t want to end up in a marina in the middle of nowhere, these are the things to ask:

  • Does the marina have a restaurant or bar?
  • If not, are there good restaurants nearby?
  • Or, alternatively, a bbq and picnic area?
  • Is there access to good grocery stores to stock up on supplies?
  • And hopefully you won’t need it, but is there access to a doctor or pharmacy in case of health issues?


Recreational Activities

Like to have a bit of fun at the marina? These are the questions to ask:

  • Does the marina have bicycle rentals or a shuttle service?
  • Does it have access to any tennis courts, playgrounds, or swimming pools?
  • Does the marina hold any special events?
  • Are there any local tours near the marina? For example, day tours into town or the surrounding areas?
  • Is there a scuba diving tour, or a paragliding company?
  • Will you have access to the local attractions?

Marina Staff

You should be looking for:

  • A well-trained boat mechanic
  • Friendly and helpful reception staff
  • Trustworthy security
  • Capable dock hands
  • Efficient cleaning crews

There are so many aspects to consider, we know! Choosing the right marina can be hard, so please, if you need assistance either before or during your trip, give us a call and we’d be happy to point you in the right direction. If you’re sailing with a skipper, however, you won’t need to worry about any of these things — just sit back, relax on deck, and enjoy the fresh air and holiday freedom.

Dying to plan a sailing holiday for next year? We’ve got some massive early-bird savings if you book your 2016 yacht holiday now. Check out the deals!

Have you had a great or horrible marina experience? Let us know in the comments!


  1. Excellent advice. It is amazing all the different technical aspects to consider when sailing. Choosing the correct marina would never have been something I considered when I first started. I wish I had run across these tips a long time ago. Thanks!


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