How Much Does It Cost To Dock a Boat in California? (7 Types)

Written by Sophia Roa in Cost of Sailing

Boating in California is a dream come true for many enthusiasts, with miles of beautiful coastline and picturesque harbors to explore. While owning a boat can be a rewarding experience, it's important to consider the costs associated with docking your vessel. In this article, we'll look at the costs of docking different types of boats in California and help you understand what to expect when seeking a marina or harbor for your boat.

In California, docking fees for boats under 30-foot long generally start at $50 per day and $500 per month. Typical marina slip costs range from $9.50 to $29.35 per foot per month. Some places, like Morro Bay Marina, offer both covered and uncovered slips, giving you more options for your boating needs.

As a boat owner, you'll quickly discover that docking costs can vary greatly based on factors such as the location, length of your boat, and amenities offered by the marina. For example, it costs $800 a year to dock a 30-foot sailboat, while it costs $1,800 per year to dock a sailboat of more than 40 feet.


  • In California, the average docking fee is around $29.35 per foot per month.
  • Your boat type may also impact the docking fees. For example, a sailboat may have different fees associated with it compared to a motorboat.
  • Popular boating seasons may have higher demand and limited availability, meaning you might pay higher docking fees during those times. Planning your boat usage around these fluctuations can help save you money in the long run.

It Costs $800 to $1,800 per Year to Dock a Boat in California

Docking your boat in California can vary in cost depending on the size of the boat and the location of the marina. Below are some average costs for docking seven different types of boats in California. These costs are only estimates and can vary significantly depending on the specific marina and its location in California.

Boat Type Estimated Cost to Dock
Sailboats $12 and $240 per foot or $800 to $1,800 per year
Motor Yachts $15 to $40 per square foot or $100 per linear foot
Fishing Boats $50 per day and $500 per month
Catamarans $50 to $240 per foot per year
Pontoons $12 and $240 per foot
Houseboats $15 to $40 per square foot
Dinghies $5 and $10 per foot per month

Sailboats cost $50 per foot to dock

For your sailboat, expect to pay between $12 and $240 per foot per year, with an average of roughly $50 per foot per year. Depending on the size, an average sailboat's annual docking fee ranges from $800 to $1,800.

  • Small sailboat (under 30 feet): For a smaller sailboat, you can expect to pay around $50 per day or $500 per month for docking fees. These costs can vary depending on the location and season. Remember, most marinas charge slip rates in feet, so a larger vessel will result in higher docking costs.

  • Medium-sized sailboat (30–40 feet): For a medium-sized sailboat, the docking fees may range between $800 and $1,800 per year. This number can also vary depending on factors like the boat's length, location, and season.

  • Large sailboat (over 40 feet): Docking fees for large sailboats can be more expensive due to the increased size of the vessel. The rates can go up to $1800 per year or more.

Docking cost for motor yachts is $100 per foot

Motor yacht docking fees are typically charged by the length of the boat. Docking fees of yachts that are over 40 feet can be quite costly, especially in high-end marinas. On average, the cost can range from $15 to $40 per square foot, or $100 per linear foot, in California. Larger motor yachts will have higher docking fees due to their size and accommodation requirements.

Fishing boats' docking costs are higher for larger boats

When docking your fishing boat, costs might vary depending on the type and size of the boat. Generally, the fees can start at $50 per day and $500 per month for boats under 30 feet long in California. Keep in mind that the larger the boat, the higher the docking costs.

Catamarans' docking cost reach up to $240 per foot per year

Catamarans often incur higher docking fees than monohulls due to their width. You should expect to pay from $50 to $240 per foot per year in California. The specific cost will depend on the marina and the size of your catamaran.

It costs $50 per foot per year to dock pontoons

For docking your pontoon boat, expect to pay similar fees to those for fishing boats and sailboats. This means you may be charged between $12 and $240 per foot per year, with an average of $50 per foot per year in California.

Docking cost for houseboats is around $100 per linear foot

Houseboat docking fees also depend on the size and amenities offered by the marina. In general, you should be prepared to pay around $100 per linear foot, or approximately $15 to $40 per square foot, in California annually.

You can dock dinghies for $120 per foot per year

Dinghies have relatively lower docking fees, as they typically require minimal space. You should anticipate paying between $5 and $10 per foot per month in California. However, this cost can fluctuate depending on the location and the specific marina's fee structure.

Factors Affecting Docking Costs in California

To help you better understand what you can expect to pay, let's examine the most important factors: Location, Size of the Boat, Duration of Stay, and Dock Amenities.

Location of the marina or dock

In California, marinas in popular boating destinations or in close proximity to major cities tend to charge higher fees. Additionally, the availability of dock space, the facilities that are nearby, and the demand for spaces at certain times of the year in various regions will also affect the cost.

Size of the boat

Typically, marinas charge slip rates in feet, so the bigger the vessel, the higher the docking costs. Boats under 30 feet long may start at $50 per day and $500 per month, but larger boats will incur higher fees.

Duration of stay of the boat

How long you plan to dock your boat will impact your overall docking costs. Generally, short-term daily rates are higher than monthly rates, considering longer stays tend to be more cost-effective on a per-day basis. Some marinas may even offer discounted rates for seasonal or annual contracts, providing additional savings for longer stays.

Dock amenities

Different marinas and docks offer various amenities and services, such as water, electricity, fuel, or waste disposal, which can affect docking costs. Higher-end facilities with more amenities and services usually charge a premium for these conveniences. Therefore, consider your needs and preferences when selecting a dock that best suits your budget and lifestyle.

To accurately estimate the cost of docking a boat in California, take these factors into account and research the locations and marinas that interest you. Remember, it always helps to compare prices and negotiate when possible to get the best deal for your docking needs.

Finding a Dock or Marina in California

When looking for a place to dock your boat in California, it's essential to consider factors such as location, price, and available facilities. Here are some helpful tips to find the perfect dock or marina for your boat.

Research online for marinas and docks

Start by searching for marinas and docks in the area where you'd like to keep your boat. Our website offers helpful information about prices and slip availability in California. Be sure to read reviews from other boaters, as they can provide invaluable insights into the facilities and customer service at each marina.

Ask for recommendations for good marinas and docks

Talking to other boat owners is an excellent way to get advice on marinas in your preferred location. Join online boating forums, Facebook groups, or local boating clubs to discuss experiences and get recommendations for good marinas and docks. Remember that everyone's preferences and needs might be different, so it's important to consider your specific requirements when seeking advice.

Contact marina directly

Once you've gathered some options, reach out to the marinas directly. By speaking with the marina staff, you can confirm slip availability, pricing, and facilities, ensuring that you find a marina that fits your needs and budget. Be sure to inquire about any additional fees or services, such as electricity, water, or waste disposal, as these factors may affect your overall costs.

Ways to Save on Boat Docking Costs

Here are some strategies you can use to save money when docking your boat in California:

  • To begin with, consider short-term docking options. Some marinas offer daily docking rates, starting at $50/per day for boats under 30-foot long. If you only dock your boat occasionally, this option could save you money compared to a monthly or annual commitment.

  • Next, consider the location of the marina. The prices for docking services can differ depending on the popularity and facilities available at the marina. Choosing a marina that's a little farther away from popular tourist attractions or water activities could result in lower fees without sacrificing too much convenience.

  • Additionally, you may be able to find discounts for docking multiple boats at the same marina. If you have friends or family with boats, consider teaming up and renting slips together to take advantage of group discounts.

  • Another way to cut docking costs is by taking advantage of seasonal deals. Some marinas may offer lower rates during the offseason, when there are fewer boats on the water. Keep an eye out for these promotions and be ready to secure a discounted rate when the opportunity arises.

  • While you may not be able to control the size of your boat, you can control how well you maintain it. A well-maintained boat is less likely to have issues that require special accommodations at the dock, which could result in additional fees.

  • Lastly, be sure to inquire about any loyalty programs or membership discounts offered by the marina. These programs can help you save money on docking costs, as well as other services such as fueling, boat maintenance, and storage fees.

Joining Marina Membership Programs

Joining a marina membership program can be a great way to save money on docking fees, especially if you frequently dock your boat in California. These programs often offer a range of benefits, including discounted slip rates, fuel savings, and access to a network of marinas.

  • One popular marina membership program is offered by Safe Harbor Marinas. As a member, you can enjoy fuel discounts at their operated fuel docks, as well as special member experiences and discounts at over 130 waterfront locations. This can be particularly helpful if you're exploring different parts of the California coastline with your boat.

  • When considering a marina membership program, take a look at their list of participating marinas to ensure they have locations where you want to dock your boat. For example, if you spend a lot of time in Southern California, you'll want to make sure the program includes marinas in popular spots like Los Angeles or San Diego.

  • In addition to saving money on docking fees, marina membership programs may also offer access to amenities and services, such as boat maintenance and repair, concierge services, or event invitations. These perks can enhance your boating experience, making it more enjoyable and hassle-free.

  • Before signing up for a membership, understand the specific terms of the program, including any restrictions or limitations. For example, some programs may require a minimum commitment or have blackout dates when discounts aren't available. By thoroughly researching your options, you can select a marina membership program that best fits your boating needs and budget.

Remember, while marina membership programs can be a great way to save money on docking fees, it's important to weigh the costs and benefits based on your own boating habits and preferences. And don't forget to factor in the different types of boats you might dock, as fees can vary depending on the size and type of your vessel.

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