By Len Bose
It only seemed like yesterday when I would receive a sales call and the prospect would request, “If you can find me a slip, I will buy a boat from you.” I didn’t hear that request in 2009 and I don’t think I would hear it in 2010. This down cycle, for the demand of yacht storage, was last seen in 1990-95, when it seemed most of our inventory was shipped to the Pacific Northwest. Today, our boats are being purchased from people all around the world and placed on yacht transport ships, trucks, or they’re leaving on their own bottom.
We have slips again! Is that a good thing for me? I am not sure yet and I squeeze my pennies a lot tighter than I did in 2005 in anticipation for the market upturn.
As I drove around town I noticed the “Slips Available” signs starting to appear in August of last year. Dock Masters, Port Captains and Commodores are calling me reminding me they have Open Slips. By November, I started receiving color brochures from the California Recreation Company/Cal Rec. (Irvine Company) and Bellport Marinas. Dock masters were making follow up calls to me and offering incentives, such as: Sign up for a year and receive a month free, and I even had a Port Captain tell me to “Make him an offer,”
Yesterday, I made a cold call to Cal Rec. to ask a couple of questions on the slip status and was introduced to Greg Sinks, general manager of Cal Rec. in Newport Beach. Sinks is a corporate guy with The Irvine Company and can’t answer questions regarding the percentage of occupation in slips. So, let’s look between the lines of the company that drives the market in slip rentals. Cal Rec. has four marinas in town and if you look at their rate sheets a 40 foot+ boat will be charged a monthly rate between $32 and $39 per foot and, yes, they do have slips available. If you have a yacht in the 50 foot+ range, the demand is still high and the market is holding at the $ 50 to $ 55 per foot range, although the waiting list is thinner than ever, and it’s very possible you will find a slip within six months. If you have a sailboat in this size range with enough water under her for you to store your yacht in a slip, you’re one of the lucky 20 people in Newport Beach with a slip, so you should be grateful and not say a word.
If you own a boat under 35 feet in length, you’re in the size range with the lowest demand for slips. The brochure tells me you’ll pay $ 27 to $ 33 per foot. Take a simple look around town and you will find more than 20 slips that are open in this size range and that’s not even looking in the Back Bay.
Do, what you want with this information. What I would do is buy a high quality boat under 42 feet and I would find a mooring. Rent the mooring and go work the system for the best slip. If you look back over the last decade, it’s a very good value/time to be yachting now.
Len’s Lesson for the Week: Looks like there will be motor vehicle safety inspections this Saturday night between Newport Boulevard and Finley from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Len Bose is the owner of Len Bose Yacht Sales.