Marina Mania

I have recently developed an allergy to marina’s

Wildwood normally lives on a mooring in lovely Corsair Bay. Aside from getting a bit shallow in very low tides, and not giving any shelter in a dreaded Southerly storm, Corsair Bay is a lovely place to keep your boat.

However if you decide to head up to the Marlborough Sounds for your holidays, the time will come when you will need/want to venture in to a marina to get some jobs done.

My recent marina allergy developed after a bit of a crash that I had, and so from then on I was reluctant to go back in, so we needed to deploy some strategies to enable ourselves to be more self sufficient out on the anchor for longer periods of time, hence stretching out the number of visits we needed to make to go in.

Don’t get me wrong – I think marina’s are awesome and I would love to be able to walk on and off my boat, but we don’t have a decent marina in Lyttelton at the moment so I don’t really have a choice. But here we were on holiday and so whenever we went in to the marina, we both seemed to work feverishly for hours on end to get all the jobs done so we could get back out to having fun and relaxing.

Here are a few of the things that we needed to do in the marina and some of the strategies we used or could deploy in future to make life that little bit easier.

Entering the marina

  • Know where you are going before you go in – taking note of the weather conditions!
  • Get pre-set up with fenders and lines and have a back up plan
  • The visitors berth is usually in a reasonably easily accessible position. Make friends with the marina manager to get a good spot with plenty of space for your visit.


Yes yes I know – we are a sailing boat. Why should we need much fuel when we should have been sailing? Well aside from the fact that we had a variety of paddle boards strapped to the bow, and a whole pile of gear in the V berth which was on top of our sails… we also needed to run the engine to keep the fridge and our beer cold. So there you go.

To avoid going to the fuel berth which was absolutely feral with mad speedboat people, we just took our 20 litre fuel container and filled that up and brought it back to the boat to fill up from there.

Further ways to avoid having to go in to a marina on a regular basis to fill up with fuel:

  • Sail more! Get furling sails on the new boat to make it easier for us to put them up short handed.
  • Get solar panels so we don’t have to run the engine to cool the fridge
  • Have larger fuel tanks – requiring less regular fills
  • Get a couple more spare fuel cans to stow somewhere so we can refill at our leisure and avoid manoeuvring at fuel wharves.



We have only got about 100 litre water tank on Wildwood which we use for washing, cooking & dishes and that lasted us for over a week with just the two of us, and about 5 days with the kids. Then we also fill up soft drink bottles with water for drinking. Some places in Asia don’t have water you can drink in the tap! So it would be an expensive painful exercise having to fill up your tanks with bottled water!?

  • Have bigger water tanks on the new boat
  • Have a tank gauge to monitor usage
  • Get a water maker if we can afford it
  • Have a salt water tap – great for rinsing dishes
  • Have a system for catching water to fill the tanks when it rains.


I am not a big fan of doing the groceries on dry land, let alone during holiday time, however we did quite well with our provisioning and supplementing that with all the wonderful fish we caught along the way as well! Provisioning is a bit of trial and error and I found it really interesting seeing what the other boats were cooking up to get ideas of things that last for a long time which require little refrigeration.

The other thing is transporting and carrying the groceries to and from the boat. Many marinas have complementary trolleys but I have also got a folding trolley which would work perfectly for transporting groceries from the supermarket to the marina. I have threatened to purchase a granny supermarket trolley bag thing too. I reckon they would be perfect!

Further ways to avoid having to go in to the marina so you can go to the supermarket:

  • Shop online and get the supermarket to deliver the groceries to the marina – save you a trip!
  • Buy things that have a longer shelf life
  • Have bulk supplies of staple ingredients
  • Get a bigger fridge/freezer on the new boat
  • Catch more fish!
  • Use the folding trolley to help carry things.


It was amazing how much rubbish we accumulated along the way, and we regularly palmed bags off to other boats who were heading back to the marina before we were. So how do you cut down on rubbish?

  • Have a decent locker where you can store a big rubbish bag where it doesn’t get in the way
  • Have some big black rubbish bags
  • Separate out the recyclables if there is a facility to deal with these at the marina
  • Food scraps go over the side (when no one is swimming) this helps keep the bag not getting too smelly
  • Reducing as much packaging as possible before heading out of the marina. Chuck all the cardboard boxes in the rubbish and label the things inside if relevant.
  • Perhaps we should start drinking beer out of cans instead of bottles? At least they can be squashed down perhaps?
Nicci, Craig, Vaughan, Dean, Rachel, Viki, Jon & Andrew

Nicci, Craig, Vaughan, Dean, Rachel, Viki, Jon & Andrew


We don’t have a ‘real’ shower on board. Just my really cool invented cheap hot shower one. Which works a treat for rinsing off the salt etc, but doesn’t really have enough pressure for a long hair wash.

There is a trick to maximising the time in the 6 minute marina shower. It all mainly revolves around being organised before you get there…

  • Wear jandals (flip flops) to, from and in the shower – the floors are sometimes not too clean – eeew
  • Have a plastic bag with your shampoo, shower gel, razor etc all handy
  • Have a bag to put your dirty and clean clothes in which can be easily hung on a hook – don’t leave anything on the floor as it will get wet
  • Take a towel!!!
  • Have another little bag with coins of the right denomination to run the shower
  • READ the shower instructions before you take your clothes off (I was naked when I realised that I had to go back outside to swipe the card to operate the shower!)
  • Make it quick if there is a queue. Better to go back to the boat to do your hair/makeup. Don’t loiter in the cubicle if there are people waiting outside. Rude!
  • Its entirely up to you, but I personally don’t think its appropriate to wander around the marina in your pyjamas…

Waikawa Marina


Inevitably there are things that break, get lost, need replacing. You can’t have spares for absolutely everything, however you can be reasonably self sufficient by having some essential spare parts, various kinds of tape and a decent set of tools. If something does break down and you need to go in to the marina for some repairs here are some ideas:

  • Let your fingers do the walking – google the local suppliers, and call them in advance to see if they have got the parts that you need, or give them the opportunity to order them in before you get there
  • Make friends with the people in the local chandlery, and get them to recommend boat repair people if the job requires more expertise than you have.


Doing laundry sucks. It takes too long, and the machines put marks all over our clothes last time we used them. Unfortunately, like death and taxes, laundry is difficult to avoid.

  • Get a decent laundry bag – firstly for carrying the laundry to the machines and for folding it up and putting it back in to carry home. The supermarket shopping bags we used were not cool.
  • Bring your own detergent. The office was shut when we went along so we couldn’t purchase any detergent from them, meaning we had to delay the wash until we had been to the supermarket. Put it in a nice sistema container and keep it in the bag with some fabric softener.
  • Have a nice little side pocket with change in various denominations so that you can do the required loads
  • Take a book, write your blog, go for a walk while it is doing its thing.
  • You can either use the dryer – which inevitably takes ages, or take the stuff home to hang out on the boat.
  • Don’t hang things on the metal lifelines unless you want to get little rusty marks on them. String up a laundry line instead
  • Don’t use pegs with metal bits in them – these will go rusty too
  • Bring your clothes in if it gets too windy or they will end up in the water!

Other ways to cut down on washing

  • Take more clothes with you, darker colours can hide a multitude of sins!
  • Wear things more than once

Laundry day

Holding tanks

Wildwood doesn’t have a holding tank, but we are super careful about who is in the water when the head needs to be flushed! If you are in the marina it isn’t the done thing to flush the loo – so if you haven’t got a holding tank, then you need to use the facilities instead. Marina’s usually also have pump out facilities to enable you to empty the tanks, and if you are out sailing around, different locations have got different rules on when you can empty your tanks.

  • Have a big holding tank. My friend Craig has only got 15 litres on Flying Machine and this has caused huge messy problems in the past!!!
  • Empty out on a regular basis, taking in to account of the local regulations

Other marina etiquette…

  • Noise – try to keep it down, but if there is a party going on, invite everyone in the vicinity along so they won’t complain!
  • Don’t pump out your holding tank in to the marina water!
  • Remember that at night if you have your lights on inside that everyone walking past can see in…
  • Keep the walkways clear of stuff and trip hazards

Do you have any other tips for either having to avoid the marina, or if you do have to go in, how to make it as painless as possible? I would love to hear your comments!

Party on Resolve in the marina

Party on Resolve in the marina


10 thoughts on “Marina Mania

  1. The best ways to avoid marinas is to get a good reliable anchor and hang from it during the summer. We do have to find one during winter and as liveaboards we look for one where there are other liveaboards. It is so important when you are on the boat all the time in a strange land.
    You make so many good points about marinas and by following them it makes life so much easier for everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A good article that makes people think! Shower in salt water – using shampoo – then rinse with fresh (we could rinse with one cup of fresh when in the middle of oceans and I had very long hair!) – cut your rubbish up into small pieces, takes far less room. The people that ask you why you need fuel on a sailboat,will be the same ones that would ask you why you didn’t use your engine to get you out of trouble! There’s hundred’s more of snippets of words of wisdom in Cruiser’s AA (accumulated acumen) as you know ! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved your marina guide and other tips! Great advice all around, plus I love your sense of humor (laundry, like death and taxes, is difficult to avoid…) The only thing I can think to add is having a welcome mat on your side deck where people step on board, otherwise you end up with some gritty decks!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We always feel like we’re in a prison whenever we have to tie up in a marina (especially during the season), and avoid them like the plague by using most of the tips in your post. Of course there’s huge price to pay in the end when I have to tackle two months’ worth of laundry, but it’s worth it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. During our summer trips we provision for 6 weeks to be independent of marinas. We hate them and think of nothing worse than to constantly have to go back to ‘civilisation’. Like you we don’t have much water, so we collect rainwater and store it in 20l cans. Fuel…spare cans too and minimal motoring. Power to run fridge and freezer: solar panels and wind generator, plus back up petrol genset. Showers: camp showers – we wash in salt , shampoo, back in salt for a rinse, then final rinse in fresh! Laundry- we have a twin tub on board – it is light and does the job. We only use it if we have collected warer somehow. Lots of tshitts, shorts and knickers in reserve and spare towels and sheets! ….After doing this for 15 years, we’ve got it reasonably down pat and have been refining and equiping Take It Easy little by little to be able to do what we want to at anchor, not in marinas!

    Liked by 2 people

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