What Are Boat Slips? Is it Worth it to Buy? [Explained]

If you own a boat or you’re just the curious type you might want to know a little more about the different parts that go along with that boat ownership. After all, there’s a lot of moving parts and also a lot of information and terminology to learn. One of those things you may have heard is about a boat slip, but just what does it mean?

What Are Boat Slips?

A boat slip is a parking space for your boat, typically in a marina but sometimes located in parks or beaches and elsewhere. These slips are designed with an enclosure on three sides to make it easy to pull in and to tie up your boat.

Not all spaces where you ‘park’ your boat are called slips. If you’re leaving your boat tied up against a single ‘wall’ it’s actually considered a dock. These are more common in parks and beaches, but some will have slips.

Keep in mind that a slip has three sides just like a parking space has three lines. A dock is what you would call an area without all three sides and they might not be as easy to get out of your boat.

What is a Dry Boat Slip?

When you typically put your boat in a slip it’s in the water and you’re tied up to a dock to keep you where you need to be. On the other hand, a dry slip is one that’s off the water. It keeps your boat dry when it’s not in use.

During the off-season or when you’re not planning to use your boat for a while, you can keep it more secure in a dry slip. It’s protected from the elements and you don’t have to worry about things like animals or even other people getting unauthorized access to your boat. You can feel more comfortable leaving it for a longer period of time.

What is a Wet Boat Slip?

A wet boat slip is a type that you likely think of when you’re thinking about a boat slip in general. This is one that’s right on the water and lets you jump in your boat and set sail at a moment’s notice. They give you immediate access to the boat and water.

A wet boat slip is great during the boating season because you don’t need to work with the marina to get your boat out of storage and into the water or even transport it yourself down to the water. It’s already right there so you can untie it and get started on your next venture right away.

What is the Difference Between a Slip and a Mooring?

When you’re talking about a slip you are looking at something that is on the water but right onshore as well. You tie your boat up and get out of the boat and onto land. A mooring is a place to tie up your boat but you still need a dinghy to get to land.

Larger boats will generally moor off the coast or the shore because they are too large to get any closer. They drop anchor out in the water and then smaller boats are used to get people or items off the boat and onto land. If you can pull into a slip it means that you are right next to the shore and you can walk from the dock directly onto the land.

Is it Worth Buying a Boat Slip?

This answer is going to depend on you. In short, a boat slip could give you some equity and it’s convenient if you tend to use your boat frequently. If you don’t use it often or you don’t have a lot of money, however, it can be more expensive than it’s worth.

Buying a boat slip is a personal decision and you should think about whether it’s good for you. If you have the money then it can help you maintain easier access to your boat and it also keeps your costs steady because you don’t have to worry about increasing rental costs. On the other hand, it can be expensive and for those who don’t use their boat often it’s not worth the cost.

Can You Finance a Boat Slip?

The short answer is that you can finance a boat slip. In general, you can finance anything that you want and slips are no different. Marinas will often have some type of financing available for those who want to get their own slip.

You’ll need to think about the fact that there is interest in any type of financing, but once you’re done the slip will be yours and you’ll always have a place to tie up your boat. That can be very convenient for those who want to have access to their boat and the water at all times. If you live in an area where the sailing season is nearly year-round this can be even more important.

What is Slip Rental?

If you don’t own a slip and you don’t have a public space to tie up your boat (which are only available on a short-term basis) you may need to rent one. You are not allowed to just pull up anywhere and tie your boat unless it’s public access.

A slip rental means that you’re going to pay a set amount to tie up your boat at a slip for a set amount of time. If you’re ‘parking’ at a marina or any private space you will need to do this. Public beaches or parks will have free spaces where you can tie off but you’ll need to move your boat before the end of the day.

How Wide Should a Boat Slip Be?

A boat slip should be at least 2-4 feet wider than the beam of the boats. Therefore, the boat slip sizes vary widely to accommodate different sizes of boats. It’s always a good idea to let the marina owner know the size of your boat so they can get the right slip.


Boat slips are going to make things a whole lot easier for you when it comes to tying off your boat and getting back to it whenever you want to sail again. But deciding whether you should have one of your own is going to be entirely up to you.





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