The benefits of anchoring out instead of staying in marinas
The benefits of anchoring out instead of staying in marinas

Discover the financial and lifestyle benefits of anchoring out instead of staying in marinas while on your sailing adventure with your family.

The Benefits of Anchoring Out Instead of Staying in Marinas

As you embark on your sailing adventure with your family, one of the most important aspects to consider is your budget. While the freedom and fulfillment of living on the open sea are priceless, it’s essential to manage your finances wisely to ensure a sustainable and enjoyable journey. One significant way to save money while cruising is by anchoring out instead of staying in marinas. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of anchoring out, offer tips and tricks for successful anchoring, and discuss how this choice can positively impact your sailing experience.

The Financial Benefits of Anchoring Out

One of the most apparent advantages of anchoring out is the cost savings. Marina fees can quickly add up, especially in popular cruising destinations. By choosing to anchor out, you can significantly reduce your expenses and allocate those funds to other aspects of your adventure, such as exploring new destinations, provisioning, or upgrading your boat.

Marina Fees vs. Anchoring Costs

To illustrate the potential savings, let’s compare the costs of staying in a marina versus anchoring out. Marina fees can range from $1 to $5 per foot of boat length per night, depending on the location and amenities offered. For a 40-foot boat, this could mean spending anywhere from $40 to $200 per night. Over a month, this could amount to $1,200 to $6,000 in marina fees alone.

On the other hand, anchoring out is often free or significantly cheaper than staying in a marina. Some popular anchorages may charge a small fee for a mooring ball, which can range from $10 to $30 per night. However, many anchorages are entirely free, allowing you to save even more money.

Additional Cost Savings

Beyond the direct savings on marina fees, anchoring out can also lead to additional cost savings. For example, marinas often charge extra for amenities such as electricity, water, and laundry facilities. By anchoring out and relying on your boat’s systems, you can avoid these additional expenses.

Furthermore, marinas are often located near touristy areas with higher prices for dining and shopping. By anchoring out and exploring less touristy locations, you can save money on food, entertainment, and other expenses.

The Lifestyle Benefits of Anchoring Out

While the financial benefits of anchoring out are significant, there are also numerous lifestyle advantages to consider. These benefits can enhance your overall sailing experience and contribute to the sense of freedom and fulfillment that comes with living aboard.

Privacy and Solitude

One of the most appealing aspects of anchoring out is the privacy and solitude it offers. Marinas can be crowded and noisy, with boats packed closely together and constant activity on the docks. By anchoring out, you can enjoy a peaceful and serene environment, surrounded by nature and away from the hustle and bustle of marina life.

Connection with Nature

Anchoring out allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of your surroundings. Whether you’re anchored in a secluded cove or a bustling harbor, you’ll have the opportunity to observe wildlife, enjoy stunning sunsets, and stargaze without the light pollution of a marina. This connection with nature can be incredibly rejuvenating and inspiring, enhancing your overall cruising experience.

Flexibility and Freedom

When you choose to anchor out, you have the flexibility to explore a wider variety of destinations and experiences. Marinas can be limiting, as they are often located in more developed areas with less opportunity for off-the-beaten-path exploration. By anchoring out, you can discover hidden gems, visit remote islands, and experience the true essence of the cruising lifestyle.

Tips and Tricks for Successful Anchoring

To fully enjoy the benefits of anchoring out, it’s essential to master the art of anchoring. Here are some tips and tricks to help you anchor safely and securely:

Choose the Right Anchor

Investing in a high-quality anchor is crucial for successful anchoring. Research different types of anchors and choose one that is suitable for your boat size and the various seabed conditions you may encounter.

Scope Out Your Anchorage

Before dropping your anchor, take the time to scope out your chosen anchorage. Look for potential hazards, such as shallow areas, rocks, or other boats. Also, consider the wind and current conditions, as well as the forecast for the night, to ensure a safe and comfortable stay.

Set Your Anchor Properly

When setting your anchor, make sure to lower it gently to the seabed and then slowly back away, allowing the anchor to dig in and set securely. Once you’ve set your anchor, perform a “set test” by putting your engine in reverse and applying some power to ensure the anchor is holding.

Monitor Your Position

Keep an eye on your position throughout your stay at anchor, especially if the weather conditions change. Use your GPS or a smartphone app to set an anchor alarm, which will notify you if your boat drifts beyond a specified radius.

Be a Good Neighbor

When anchoring out, be considerate of other boaters by giving them plenty of space and avoiding anchoring too close to their boats. Also, be mindful of local regulations and customs, such as displaying an anchor light at night and respecting designated anchoring areas.


Anchoring out instead of staying in marinas offers numerous financial and lifestyle benefits that can enhance your sailing adventure. By mastering the art of anchoring and embracing the freedom and flexibility it provides, you can create a more fulfilling and sustainable cruising experience for you and your family. So, weigh anchor and set sail for the open sea, knowing that the world is your oyster and the possibilities are endless.