From the Boathouse: Boat barns can reduce owners' costs

August 09, 2012|By Mike Whitehead


Are waterfront barns on the horizon for our harbor, but without the farm animals?

Newport Harbor already has boat storage racks commonly referred to as dry stacks on Lido Peninsula, but Marina Del Rey and Dana Point are looking to build boat barns on their waterfronts.

Boat barns are not new to the boating world, but the barns are relatively new to the Southern California's coastal communities. You can find boat barns across the country in areas where the snow falls, and in regions with extreme heat.


A boat barn is a covered structure with interior boat racks. The racks are usually multi-stories high with a forklift that transports the boat to and from the water upon the beckoning call of the boat owner. The idea of covering the boats while sitting in the cradles is an excellent idea to protect the boat from the Mother Nature and critters.

Critters love to build nests and homes in unattended, covered boats that sit idle for the winter season. Just ask anyone you know who has stored a boat in other areas of what a raccoon can do to your boat's upholstery. Along the coast in Southern California, we can expect to find possums, mice, rats and birds among other critters that like to sneak under the boat's cover to find a dry, warm home. Which, might be better than finding Sinky, the sea lion, relaxing on your boat in the harbor.

Out-of-the-water storage is becoming more popular as marinas redesign the size of their slips to accommodate the larger boats. Additionally, the price per foot might be prohibitive to store a 20-plus-foot boat in the water. As the land prices increase, more environmental regulations are imposed, and insurance costs rise, so does the price per foot to keep your boat in the water.

Additionally, waterfront landowners and businesses are very concerned about the city's new idea to charge more for the tideland fees, up to 20 % of gross revenue, which will negatively impact boating in Newport Harbor.

Another advantage of a boat barn is that the boats, racks and gear are hidden by a façade to match the characteristics and compatibility of the surrounding area. Marina del Rey is planning to build the barn to resemble an office building, while Dana Point's conceptual drawings look like a hotel.

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