View Full Version : Med marina costs

25-05-06, 20:22
I've been a bit concerned to read a number of posts about the costs of berthing in the Med.
We are planning to retire next year and work the boat down through the French canals to the Med. Our plan was then to cruise for a few years from April to June and September to October, leaving the boat in convenient marinas during the hot and cold bits.
Is it possible to live like this without it being ruinously expensive. There have been various articles in the monthlies suggesting that it was feasable to do this for under 10k a year.
Is our dream going to become a nightmare?

25-05-06, 22:09
Not at all ruinous, provided you pick and choose your longer stays imho. The "known posh" marinas around the french riviera and balearics such as st tropez and puerto portals for example do have ruinous summer rates - but even st trop is a fraction of the price inthe winter. Nearby marinas (such as cogolin just a coupleof miles from st tropez, or club de mar in palma) are less glitzy, at least as good facilities and are somehow more "normal boaty". Stay at anchor in the calmer summer - and outside both the marinas above is (imho) actually at least as nice. possiblynicer. You need a decent dinghy for runs ashore, and the wisdom to stay further away than other boats so the dang charter crews don't wake you at 7am for their croissant run.

I do know a several couples who have done exactlyas you plan for a decade or more, one based cogolin, not rich people by any means, 30ish foot boat, late sixties now, scottish too and i can't believe they would spend ten thousand pounds a year.

25-05-06, 22:41
If your on the boat, just anchor in nice bays and coves, or just outside marinas. Only go in during the day to shop and fuel and water, often they dont charge at all for that. If its stormy of course, you may have to sit it out at 'transit rate'

Problem is leaving the boat to co back to the UK for a month or so. Rven finding a space can be difficult, and very expensive, 1K a month even!

26-05-06, 06:14
Thanks for the info - should be able to sleep better now.
Presumably there are lots of nice bays and coves off France, Spain and Italy then?
I was beginning to get the impression that it is all overcrowded. I am used to the West Coast of Scotland where another boat in an anchorage is busy, and realise that that will not be the case in the Med but I am hoping that the moans about how it's not like it was are the usual exaggerations.

Paw Paw
26-05-06, 06:39
Presumably there are lots of nice bays and coves off France, Spain and Italy then?

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I am somebody who spent 8 or 9 years anchoring. Only went into marina's for fuel and water and where I was there were hardly any so there was no choice. When I came out of Suez 3 years ago heading across the Med towards the West Atlantic French coast I was just amazed how very few anchorages I could find - because marina's had been built in all the places that were anchorages.... In the Balearic's there were only a handful. Spanish coast very very few, French coast one or two, Italy a very few and the same with Sicily. Turkey has lots of anchorages.

I tried very hard with the aid of pilot books and ended up in some iffy places. On the other hand I never had a big problem with finding a marina or port place for the night! The prices generally are significantly lower than UK prices.


26-05-06, 07:40
Puerto Portals in Mallorca rates are
10m berth 1450 Euro's + 1.50 Euro a day for water and Lec.
12m 2600Euro + 4.50 Euro a day for water and lec
These are 6 month rate and valid until 10/06/06, not much of a rise on last years so this winter will be similar.
Most other marinas in Mallorca will be equivalent. Best to go direct to the Capitania NOT rent a private one unless you happen on a good deal.

Summer prices....You really don't want to know!!!!! at least double , nearly treble and just for 3 months.

Lots of good anchorages around mallorca, Sth,East coast. West coast is bleaker, north is just Alcudia and Pollensa. Notoriously bad in Winter. well not as bad as UK, but bad .


26-05-06, 08:44
eh? I can think of four largish areas in the gulf of st tropez for starters? And half the entire russian fleet used to anchor in Villefranche. Plus some islands off marseilles, basy near cassis, lavandou, bay of cannes, antibes and etc etc etc.

Paw Paw
26-05-06, 09:43
Yes your right - I had forgotten those but the gulf is pretty exposed and the whole Gulf de Lyons has as Nelson put it 'Gales from NEWS more often than elsewhere'.

Yes the Islands off Marseilles - but generally it is difficult to find secure anchorages - there are some, as I said everywhere, but I found it really hard to locate them. Particulaly in Spain and much of France..

On the other hand Corsica has lots - Sardinia too, mainland Greece and some of the islands but I have not found the med rich in secure overnight anchorages...


30-05-06, 20:09
The posts so far don't sound very encouraging for your 2 month lay up in the summer. I am considering almost exactly the same thing next year. Retirement / sail May & June / lay up July & August / sail September & October / lay up again over winter. Have you found out anything that might make the summer lay up more affordable?

Paw Paw
31-05-06, 07:45
I have exactly the same problem on the French Atlantic coast.. There are some solutions given that the Mediterranean Marinas have become so very overcrowded in Summer.
Tunisia is a real possibility - only question is economic air access to and from the boat. Lovely cruising grounds and very accustom to UK tourists.

Abu Tic Marina in the Red Sea.. Not that difficult to get to from Suez - super cruising area and not full - I am certain that the Red Sea starting in the North then slowly extending south will become the next popular cruising area.. The anchorages are superb and Marinas like Abu Tic make most European look like slums!

The Caribbean - Trinidad or Venezuela - already very popular with the Americans but out of the hurricane zone, excellent cruising, cheap flights and fun places...


31-05-06, 09:35
My brother and his partner have been living on their yacht for the last eight years. They have travelled the Med extensively and are now on a Greek island. He is certainly not rich, he keeps very careful records of their expenditure and tells me that they never spend more than 600. a month. They always winter in a marina because the costs are not high and sail during the summer months they almost never come back to England. They are always at anchor and use the dinghy to get their supplies. He find marinas that will allow him to work on the boat when it has to be lifted. he is quite capable of stripping an engine and rebuilding it!
They have had a work free fantastic life for eight years now and he is only 55 now!


31-05-06, 21:35
We came through the area last year. We would agree that anchorages along most of the coast are hard to come by but there are certainly some good ones around Porquerolles and St Tropez. There are also several harbours along the Spanish coast that let you anchor for free such as: Motril, Garrucha, Torrevieja, Vinaros and Cambrills. Also the Mar Menor is very sheltered.

01-06-06, 09:33
Ive just posted on the same thread as this in scuttlebut in which i said people are talking rubbish when like tcm they have said there are many free places.(in other posts)

The other post said there are lots of empty places in some sizes in port-st-laurentRubbish its full!! At 10.30 i called the harbour office there are no places for any size of boat to be had for the year nor can any reservations for any summer stay be taken as its FULL

I then asked if i could reserve now for winter answer im sorry at the moment we are FULL for the winter for any size small or large and dont expect to have anyplaces becomeing free

The anchorages tcm speaks about are very open and the gulf of saint tropez where only 6 or 7 years ago would be 20 boats anchored in the swell are now hundreds!!with speed boats jet skis makeing life uncomfortabel the bay of st maxim where i once went for april and where i would be the only boat at anchor is now bouyed off.

Villefranche has always been quite full all year round i havent looked lately but i bet thats full!!

Many of the othe bays may seem ok such as the rade d agay but suffers from jet skis ski boats and when the wind blows from the south west or west or east or south east a bad swell rolls in there. on a calm day very nice from midnight to 7 am when the jet skis start.

You can look hear for a place http://www.paruvendu.fr/html/bonjour/index.php

then click auto-moto then nautisme then anneux de port where i found today place for sale saint raphael 72,000 euros 10mx3.46 plus 2000euros annual charges
There is a place in cannes no price and an 8m place for july/augut for 1000euros plus many others mostly for small places in the gulf of Lions

I get angry hearing tmc pouring out such unseakable rubbish about places on the French med there are no empty places unless youre very lucky and pay a fortune!And anchoring has become an ordeal not a pleasure in summer.

Im now sailing on the atlantic coast as i couldent get up the rhone. Its wonderful hear so far ive always found a place i will soon be in quimper where i called ahead for a place also Brest to ask about place and so far from Bordeux to Belle-ile in which area i am now there has always been a place and not expensive!

All most all ports ive asked about a place for the year have one at a fair price a few have a waiting list but even there for my small boat it may have been possiable!! The towns are wonderful cafes super life in the atlantic sun perfect! the sea sparkels theres mostly enough wind! And at around 20 degrees at midday very nice not hot sticky crowded or full and expensive as the med.

Why not try the atlantic coast? In winter you could drift south to Portugal Madera or the caneries??Thought i havent yet got any info about ports and port costs there.Yet!

19-06-06, 01:20
Sorry to put a damper on things - but I did exactly what you are planning in 2003/2004. having found morring places in italy to be at a premium - assuming they had one, which was not often I turned tail and went down the Costa Brava coast. what a nightmare! Yes - you can anchor in calas, but not very far in, because of all the illegal mooring buoys laid by the locals - don,t try picking one of those up - they tried to charge me 30 euros for a night - and at that time I only had a 8m boat! Ports were between 32-36 euros a night.
A uselful publication for France and the costa Brava is 'Livre du Bord', which lists all themarina charges for the areas mentioned.
Me - i gave up and went into the french canals - much cheaper!

Paw Paw
19-06-06, 07:31
Trouville hi,

What you write is correct - On the French Atlantic coast not only do marina prices almost double for the 'high season' the places are full and the waiting list is several years...

There are berths in Bordeaux harbour basin - very inexpensive and lots of liveaboards but far from the sea. There is a new marina opposite Royan with very expensive berths and far from anywhere - except Royan but you must use the bac to get there...

Trouville if you come to La Rochelle email me and we can meet for a drink if you want.


19-06-06, 08:32
We had the same idea but had to modify our "dream" not only due to cost but even if you're willing to pay there is very little berth availability in the Med. We now sign up for a whole year at a marina and cruise locally (radius 100nm) both in the boat and we hire a car and do the fabulous inland explorations. So far weve had a year in Alghero Sardinia, Ostia near Rome and now in the Empuriabrava Costa Brava, which we enjoy so much, we are having a couple of years here at least. My annual berthing cost is 3500 euro all in for a 15 footer and we probably spend about 3 months a year on the boat. It's not quite the roaming around the Med that we had in mind but we are now doing far more detailed explorations of local culture and scenery....and most of all we are loving it.
hope this helps

20-06-06, 08:15
Yes indeed the ports do have summer prices!!Still not as bad as the med!And there are already more boats than there were a month ago.

Some ports i went to said they fill up in summer but i dident think they ment full?Now im begining to think they did especially at the weekends,ive no idea where the boats come from?Though a few are from accross the channel as they fly the English ensign.

The weathers amazing! I thought it would be cold and wet,but so far almost everydays been wonderful,bit fresh mornings but by mid day 20 degrees!Its paradise cant understand why anyone wants to go to the med?

I dident go into La Rochelle as i thought it might be full and the French told me its the "riviera" of the Atlantic and where the very rich live,which with my modest buget dident sound a good idea.I havent really got any plans except not to go anywhere near the Baltic.Nor to go much north of Brest,as for winter im only just wondering where?At the moment hear is paradise good food good people and always plently of wind!

I will be near La Rochell this summer as my landrover will be left in the Charent(16) and i want to look around that region and the Cantal in August when im told summer really starts on the Atlantic!I can leave my boat with a girl friend who lives in Brest and has a place for me!(shes also a very good cook)

I hope well meet this year.

20-06-06, 08:33
Hm. I wonder if your attitude when asking at the capitainerie for a place...is the same as in your post? Because the fact is that if they want to try, they know that there are loads of spaces in their marina.

If you aren't the most diplomatic person yourself (and it seems that you aren't) try sending swmbo to the capitainerie to plead for a space.

It remains the case that many liveaboards have a pleasant and not-ruinous time in french med areas, in summer.

20-06-06, 09:59
Hello TCM
I've been reading this post with interest & while I can only speak for Spain I have never been told sorry no room. (boat 10 metre) I have stayed in numerous ports at all times of the year & even stayed on the fuel pontoon in some. Last year three boat loads of us went across to Ibiza (end of June) & had no trouble staying in Moriara overnight. also no probs in San Antonio but we chose to anchor overnight in the many calas that dot the coast. I often read posts about marinas being full but I have never had a problem getting a berth, I never phone in advance just go in tie up & ask very politly for a berth. oh & buy some provisions or fuel
Also all the stories about everone being chucked out of outer harbours. Most of these are boats that have far outstayed their welcome emptying their tanks ect into the harbour, genuine visiting yachts are seldom told to leave. The way you are treated depends on how you approach them .....Nat

20-06-06, 10:40
Yes you can sometimes find a place somewhere like Antibes or port cap d ail both of which i can find a place and since you last mentioned Antibes last year? I sent my girl friend to ask for the MOBO and indeed could have a place but just as cap d ail i dident stay becouse i couldent aford to!

Haveing said that you still cant garentee a place will be free when you come in during summer,and from cannes onwards to the west it really is full.

As you also say its better to go along and not phone with that i absolutly agree,but going in to each port take time and many ports are full. What im saying is that for a comfortable cruise its impossiable to plan except in Italy where you can sometimes book for the year ahead.

As for a place for the year as you will see from the link i gave again you will get a place but at what price?I cant justify the prices today in the med,and dont want to have to spend all my time in the same port beyond day sailing or going off to Corsica and Sardinia where there are so many bays even the huge number of boats sailing to day cant fill--Yet!

Its becouse everything is so full and enough are prepard to pay any price that we see the 120 euro a day rate in some ports!!

Now the atlantic,if id known what a wonderful area south of Brest is and always sunny id have spent more time hear,though im not really always so kean on the tidel aspect.

I would like to come back to the med but can only do that for the winter (still)i do want to look at some other areas as ive been given some ideas where there may be a place for the year that i could aford 3500/4000 euros a years just to much!

Have a really good summer you wont be short of great people to meet down in the med and quite some have houses down there so invertations are plentiful,providing you have somewhere safe for the boat!!I suppose the main trouble for me is i just dont have enough money today!

Good sailing to you all even the very rich!