When looking for a lakefront home in Ohio there are a lot of questions to ask to decide which lake is right for you. One of the big questions to ask is whether or not you need to have a marina. Marinas can be very convenient since a lot of them are full service, for example Apple Valley Lake and Charles Mill Lake where they can provide maintenance, supplies and parts, repairs, winterizing, you name it and these Marinas can do it. However, in most cases for the services listed above that a marina can perform, so can local companies around the lakes, especially lakes that do not have a marina. But there do happen to be a few main services that is generally exclusive to marinas. And so you need to ask yourself two questions before deciding if a marina is absolutely necessary for you.
- How do you get fuel?
One of biggest activities on a lake is boating. It can be fun, relaxing, or exhilarating. But the truth is that most boats, whether they are pontoons, speed boats or fishing boats, need fuel to operate. So where do you get your fuel? If you have a marina the answer is relatively easy; you pull your boat right up to the marina and fill up so you can enjoy the rest of the day out on the water. If there is no marina, then how far away is the nearest gas station? Some lakes have a gas station right outside the entrance, such as Lake Buckhorn and Hide-a-way-Hills, while others could have you driving fifteen minutes or more to go get gas. Either way, without a marina, you need to consistently transport gasoline when you want to take your boat on the water. Unless of course you have a way to store mass quantities of fuel at your residence, which depends on space, equipment and HOA rules and could be far more trouble than it’s worth and still be inconvenient. So ask yourself, do you need this convenience for filling up or would you be ok without it? Some people don’t want to waste their time getting and transporting fuel, and others will tell you they don’t mind and have become used to it.
- What do you do if you break down?
It’s a fact that boats often breakdown while out on the water, sometimes it’s as simple as running out of gas (see point #1) and other times it could be more serious. What will you do if you breakdown? If you are at a lake with a marina, then more than likely they can come out and tow you back in so you can get the boat repaired (or bring you gas), but if there is no marina you need a backup plan. You can call a local boat repair company to come tow you, but if you are at a private lake you may have a hard time getting them out in the water as HOA’s are strict for who and what boats they allow to go in. You can call a friend to come tow you, but of course that’s counting on the fact that you have friends who live at that lake and who happen to be there the same day. You can wait for another resident to come by and ask for help, or you can paddle or float your way back to shore. As someone who has wound up in that situation before, I can tell you that at that moment when you are floating around on the lake on a broken down boat, baking in the sun, you may wish that there was a marina. But would you be ok to take your chances? Or maybe you have friends, relatives and neighbors you could count on? Or maybe you plan on simply kayaking and paddle boarding? Activities that don’t require either service. That’s a question you need to ask yourself.
Obviously everyone is different when it comes to priorities, and maybe you’re ok transporting fuel or taking your chances on a breakdown situation. But as your lakefront home purchase tends to be an important decision, make sure to ask yourself these two questions and talk to your lakefront specialist before you make a choice on whether you need a marina or not.
Posted by Justin Shelton- Lakefront Consultant “The Lake Team”