Too many boats and not enough places to put them

Thanks to the roaring economy of the 1990s, lots of New Englanders have enough money to buy the boat of their dreams. But in some places, no amount of money will guarantee a place to put it.

The issue is a lack of slips at many marinas. For example, the waiting lists at marinas on Cape Cod range from five to 30 years, according to harbor masters and private marina owners.

Cape resident Steve McGrail is one of the fortunate ones. After he realized he had nowhere to keep his new 27-foot Black Fin boat, he finally found a slip at a private marina - at a cost of $4,000 a year.

That's about three times what he'd pay at a town-owned facility. But towns are reluctant to turn open space into marinas, which are expensive to build and require a long permitting process. Also, towns strictly monitor the number of moorings to prevent too many boats in open water.

The Massachusetts Maritime Trade Association will release a study this summer that shows boat sales rising while the space available for them remains unchanged.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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