By Bernice Radle:
Can you imagine what people pay to have a sailboat in places like NYC or Boston?
Well, I looked. Docking fees are around $2500 for the summer in Boston and a minimum of $2700 dollars in NYC not including daily fees like parking and passenger pickup! In Buffalo? It cost between $700 - $1200 dollars depending on size for the season. That's half of NYC and you can sail to Cleveland or Canada and back if you really want to.
Well, this post is to let you all in on a little secret: Sailing in Buffalo is affordable and really fun! Jason, my significant other, bought a small sailboat a few years ago and we have been sailing on it all summer. It has been such a blast to take out, enjoying the summer air and taking in the beautiful Buffalo skyline. Thanks to Buffalo's industrial roots, Buffalo has a great harbor that is protected by a series of break walls, which is nice to have when it is very windy and you still want to sail.
Jason notes that he pays $1,074 a seasonal (May - October) for a slip in Buffalo that fits a 20 - 30 foot boat at the Erie Basin Marina. The cost at the marina is scaled based on length. He is pretty sure the cost is only $700 for a boat under 20 feet in length, and roughly $1500 for a 30 - 40 foot slip. And he got a price break for being a city resident! Electric and water is included in the cost of the slip, as well as two parking passes and 24-hr access to the marina and its faculties (boat launch, showers, etc). That is a major bargain for access to the premier marina in Downtown Buffalo.
His boat is a 1983 Catalina 22 that he purchased off of Craigslist in 2010 for just $2,000. He has put roughly $7,000 or more into it including miscellaneous costs like storage, new electronics, club memberships, haul-in/out, and labor for repairs. He just moved the boat to Lake Erie this summer after having it at Olcott, NY on Lake Ontario for 2 years. He can now bike to the boat in less than a half hour compared with the old hour drive to Olcott.
Yearly maintenance costs aren't too bad either because unlike a powerboat, Jason's sailboat doesn't have a large engine that sucks down gas and requires maintenance. I would have never guessed how much fun and affordable sailing is, as I grew up without it in my life.
This is just one more thing that you can do to enjoy Buffalo's waterfront. We are so lucky to have easy access to Lake Erie. With the Buffalo Place harbor concerts, sailing, kayaks, boat tours, the grain elevators... I mean, there is so much to do it's truly unbelievable.
So, get out there and enjoy our waterfront before the rest of summer sails by!