Waiting List Policy: Should a berth assignment transfer with
the sale of a boat, or should the new owner apply for a berth
and start at the end of the waiting list?
Advantages of various options:
Option 1: current policy - berth cannot be transferred with
sale of the boat
- The waiting list rolls over faster, allowing owners of boats
purchased new or from other areas to gain easier access to
- Current berthers who would like to move to a different berth
can do so more easily, also because the waiting list rolls
- Might be a mechanism for discouraging the transfer of derelict
or non-navigable live-aboard boats. But see comments on live-aboard
- Might have the effect of causing more older boats to be removed
from the marina, replaced by newer boats and newer money. From a
marina managment POV this might be considered a good thing.
Option 2: old policy - berth can be transferred with sale of boat
- The value of boats in the marina is enhanced. A significant
number of boat purchasers want to keep the boat right where it
is. Even if there are suitable berths available, there will always be
uncertainty about the new location in the marina if there are
waiting list entries in line for that berth. In the case of older
low-value boats, it's not uncommon
for a boat to be purchased for it's berth, and then replaced
with a newer vessel. "Berkeley berth" has always been a
selling point in the classified ads for used boats.
- Less work for marina staff. There is administrative overhead
every time a berth is assigned to the next person on the
waiting list, and every time a boat moves from one berth to
another. Transferring a berth from an old owner to a new
owner is much simpler than finding the next berther on the
waiting list. The task of managing the waiting list is
complicated by the fact that a high
proportion of names on the list are not ready to
occupy a berth as soon as it becomes available. In order to
run the list fairly, each name has to be contacted in order,
and staff has to wait for a response before moving on to the
next name on the list.
- If berths can be transferred, buyers and sellers have no
motivation to conceal the sale
from the Marina Staff in order to allow the new owner to stay
in the old berth. This means that the Marina will have more
accurate and up-to-date records on vessel ownership and contact
info, which could have important safety and property tax
- Derelict boats will always retain some value as long as
there's a demand for berths, with the likely result that
derelicts will be sold and replaced. This will help alleviate
the problem of derelict boats by market forces rather than by
intervention of marina staff.
- Because berth transfer with boat sale has been the de facto policy
for so many decades, it is likely that boat sellers will
represent this as the current policy to boat buyers. (And even
if they know about the change in policy, there's considerable
incentive to misrepresent it to a prospective buyer who shows
an interest in keeping the same berth). If berth transfers
with new ownership are not allowed, marina staff will be left
to deal with boat owners who were told they have a right to
keep their boat in the old berth when in fact they don't. Each
case could become a time-consuming adversarial issue.
- This policy might have the effect of causing fewer older
boats to be replaced with newer ones. This helps to retain
a more diverse range of boat values and types, as well as a more
diverse range of owner incomes.
Option 3: Berths are transferable with change of boat ownership
on payment of a transfer Fee
- Retains most of the advantages of option 2 (but a high fee will
be an incentive to conceal sale from Marina management).
- Generates some revenue to cover administrative work associated
with berth transfers.
Transfer of Live-Aboard Status
The transfer of live-aboard status from the boat seller to the
boat buyer is a separate issue, and there is probably
consensus that this is not a good idea. Although, it's not
unusual to see ads that list "live-aboard berth" as a major
selling point, and this part of a boat's value would be lost.
There's a perceived problem with derelict or non-navigable
boats being used as low cost housing. The new marina ordinance
addresses this issue with clear navigability requirements for
legal live-aboards. The proposed key card system, along with
other measures, will make it much easier for staff to take
action against illegal live-aboards.
Creating a waiting list rollover for each boat sale is not
likely to be an effective way to address this particular
problem. Some ownership transfers (or "sublets") will simply
not be reported to the marina. Other transfers, especially in
larger sizes, might find a vacancy on the waiting list anyway.
"Problem" live-aboards should be dealt with directly.