Slip Rate Increases – Boaters Respond
By Carl Wagenfohr
Of the ten former Clearwater Municipal Marina slip renters surveyed this week, four are Clearwater residents. Seven have moved their boats to less costly docking facilities, while three have given up boating.
“It broke my heart to sell the boat and leave the marina,” said Clearwater resident John Enlund, who purchased his boat with a slip at the marina only two years ago. “They stole the marina from the residents to auction it off to out-of-staters for higher rates,” he added.
Clearwater resident Stephen Taylor also sold his boat. “The fees were getting extremely outrageous. For a working man, it's too expensive,” he said. Steven Hasley agreed; “They raised their prices outrageously,” he said.
John and Lisa Renee, Orlando residents who used to weekend on their boat at the Municipal Marina, protested what they called “absurd increases in rent.” John said that they have moved the boat to Gulfport, where they claim to enjoy better amenities, free parking and a $200 per month reduction in slip rent.
Johnny Keckler, a Pasco County resident who also used to weekend on his boat, had been at the marina for eight years. “It cost $280 when I got there and just under $700 when I left,” he said. Keckler moved his boat to the nearby Island Estates Yacht Club for what he claimed was about half of his former rent.
Jack Mewhirter, a non-resident owner of a 36-foot sailboat, complained, “They just kept jacking rates up on me. They priced me out of the market.” He moved his boat to a private dock in Madeira Beach and is saving nearly $700 per month. But Keckler said, “I'd rather be at the Clearwater Municipal Marina. I was always treated nicely by the staff.”
Michael MacDonald said, “They raised the rates for non-residents so high that it was cheaper to go elsewhere.” Not only did he save money, he found better security at a private marina. Fuel was siphoned from MacDonald's boat when it was in Clearwater last year, costing him several hundred dollars he said.
Joseph Dady, a non-resident, said, “It got too expensive out there. They're out of touch with the market.” Dady moved his boat to a private marina in Tarpon Springs for what he claimed was half of Clearwater's slip rent.
Robert Carter said of the slip rent increases, “It's awful”.” The Carters moved their boat to a dock behind their rental house on Island Estates.
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