boats 33 trends

Indeed, after looking at analyses of such northern tourists meccas as Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, as well as other well-known sailing or boating designations from the Virginia Capes to the tip of Maine, three facts have become clear and will likely be borne out around the globe. They are:

Boaters are now using their craft as living accommodations and not just arriving in a major port, mooring and then heading off to the local Marriott or other leading hotelBoaters are now using more sail and less gasolineBoaters are using their craft as entertainment centers as well as living quarters

These trends became clear after looking at such sources as local newspaper articles from up and down the coast (the Internet, to its credit, makes this easy), as well as looking at reports from major hotel and resort marketers and Chambers of Commerce.

The reports indicated that there was a definite change in the day-sailing and overnighting. With gasoline prices hovering near $4 for most of the northern boating season, a typical 24-hour trip in an engine that burns three gallons or more of gasoline or diesel fuel would cost, based on a dual 100-gallon port and starboard fuel tanks, about $288 in fuel costs alone, not to mention, mooring fees and associated anchorage fees that one can expect to pay on arrival. Mooring fees are usually standard and vary from site to site but they do depend on the size of the craft. This means a 28-footer (power or sail) might expect to pay at an arbitrary $5 per foot price mooring fees of $140. Other fees might include power hookup fees as well as hookup fees for your head facilities. Those fees vary from port to port and are fairly standard in any of the tourist meccas.

All of these costs add into a potentially hefty fee of $500 or more for a craft. The good news is that once you've paid them, you're done. The only things left to pay are for your entertainment when you get to your destination.

(The fees, by the way, are not exact and are only meant as examples of the potential fees a boater may pay on docking in a major tourist port.)

The key change, though, local officials and harbormasters report is a change in the makeup of the boats mooring in a port. In general, the changes include:

More sailboatsMore overnight tieups and fewer day tripsSmaller powerboats, rather than 50-footers

As noted this information comes from local harbormasters and other officials from Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard and other points of interest through the tip of Maine. They report that this year, for the time in many years, more sailing rigs were reported to have tied up or used either day/public moorings or overnight moorings. There are no empirical results as the information comes from interviews with officials, however, they all agree to an official that this season, so far, they have seen far more sailing craft tie up than in previous years.

They cite the same factors, fuel, the cost of cruising and the cost of overnighting. For example, wind is free and the few times that boaters have told them they had to use their auxiliary engines, they were used for relatively short periods of time so their fuel costs are low.

Cruising under power, is, as noted, an extremely expensive affair, today. However, officials do agree that those in the largest craft who docked or moored in their harbors were in craft that reflected a lifestyle where the cost of fuel would be one of their last concerns. In craft of less than 50 feet, though, fuel costs tend to be an important item.

Finally, there has been a an uptick in using craft as overnight accommodations, rather than using hotel facilities around harbor sites. Granted, the hotel facilities were still quite well used by folks who tended to arrive via ferry with their vehicles, so there was not shortage of business, it is still interesting to note that boaters tended to rely on their craft for their accommodations.