Moorage shortage a growing problem in Lower Mainland

Finding available moorage space is becoming a growing problem for Lower Mainland boat owners.

CBC News, Business in Vancouver series The Water’s Edge looks at recreational boating

Finding available moorage space is becoming a growing problem for Lower Mainland boat owners.

Lloyd Sumpter, who has owned several boats over the years, says finding moorage has always been a scramble.

"I've never really been without a moorage spot, but sometimes it's been pretty close."

Sumpter now moors his 28-foot sailboat at Lynnwood Marina in North Vancouver, but it wasn't his first choice.

"It's an hour to open water, so I don't go day sailing as much as I would if I was just out in Burrard or someplace like that."

Some marinas in False Creek and Coal Harbour have closed due to high land prices and expanding waterfront development.

Others now cater towards bigger boats, which means fewer spots for those with smaller vessels.

At high-demand marinas in Vancouver, the wait to get in can be painfully long.

"They have seven- to eight-year waiting lists sometimes," Sumpter said. "But other ones way out of the way — there's one nine miles up the Fraser, that one doesn't have a waiting list at all."

'Tougher to find moorage'

Ken Wolder with Lions Bay Marina, which now dry docks about 200 boats, says moorage started to become scarce about 10 years ago.

Those in the industry say moorage for larger boats is much tougher to find. (CBC)

"As the baby boomers reached a point where they had the money to spend and they wanted to enjoy themselves out on the water, they reached a point where they started buying boats," Wolder said.

"And there's not a lot of new marinas starting up, so it makes it tougher to find moorage."

For boats longer than 30 feet, moorage is even harder to find.

At Lions Bay Marina, the wait for larger boats is up to three years, while the wait for a smaller boat is only about six months.

"If you've got a smaller boat, it's a little bit easier to find a place to moor it," Wolder said.

"If you've got anything above 22 or 23 feet, it’s a lot tougher. A lot of people are shopping for moorage before they buy their boat."