General Information

What is offered at the marina?

The Harbor Park adjacent to the Marina offers outdoor live music on Saturday evenings throughout the summer. Port Sanilac also has the following notable annual events:

  • Fourth of July Fireworks in the Harbor
  • Fourth of July Parade
  • Blues Festival in mid August
  • Antique Boat Show in late August
  • Excellent early spring fishing
  • BSSC Sailboat races and social activities

Do you sell boats at your marina?

Yes, we sell new and used boats. Call for current availability or check our website regularly.

How do I know what slips are available?

Availability changes day to day due to most of our docks being filled seasonally. Although those slips are not always in use and some slips do not get filled seasonally. Always call ahead and reserve your spot.

How do I reserve a slip?

You can request a slip on our Dockage page, call (810) 622-9651, or email for availability.

What is the cancellation policy?

Transient dockage is non-refundable and must be paid prior to the stay. Deposits and payment for dockage and storage vary. Contact us for information.

What is offered around the marina?

The marina is located next door to a playground, picnic gazebo, and public beach access. We are also located close to the Lighthouse, restaurants, and local small business stores. You can view landmarks on our interactive map.

Are there any restrictions around the marina?

Yes. We are currently certified as a Clean Marina of Michigan! This has implemented a few rules/restrictions to what can be done around the marina. If you’d like a copy of the Addendum, email Jill at and she will be happy to send you a copy. This will state what is restricted and what the restrictions are along with some rules of what is no longer acceptable. This addendum is part of our dockage and storage contracts.

Are we allowed to have guests?

Yes – the more the merrier! All guests staying overnight must check into the front office.

New Boat Sales

Can we order boats from you?

Yes! Port Sanilac Marina is a dealer for Catalina Yachts and J-Boats.

Do you have new boats at your marina?

We do keep a few new boats in stock that are available for showing upon appointment.

When is the best time of the year to purchase a new boat?

New boats must be ordered, built, shipped, final assembly and commissioned so it is wise to plan ahead. Fall and winter is boat show season and the manufacturers usually have incentives like additional discounts or bundles on electronics. There are many decisions to make such as hull color, interior trim, electronics, and other options. All these steps take time so if you want to get full use of your new boat next season the time to place your order is fall/winter.

What decisions need to be made before and after ordering a new boat?

The first question prior to purchase is budget, not only the down payment and monthly payment but dockage, storage, haul out, launch, insurance, title/registration/documentation, maintenance, and fuel all add up to the total annual cost of ownership. Start with accurate numbers so you will not have any surprises. The next decision is brand preference. Your budget and use will dictate the size. Bigger is better. Next is the layout, rigging (sail), hull color and interior options. The closer you get to your production date the more difficult changes become. Sometimes it is preferable to have electronics installed at the factory, however, brand preference or placement or other factors such as price may make dealer installation the better way to go. Many times the dealer can add electronics and other options such as air conditioning or a bow thruster at better prices and with equal or better quality.

How long does it take for my new boat to arrive?

The production time depends on several factors. Most boats are built and shipped in 3 to 6 months. More popular boats have backlogs for production and can take longer to arrive. The boats are packed up at the factory and secured for shipping. Final assembly is completed at the dealership. Boats arrive filled with boxes which contain the wheel, cushions, rigging (sailboats), batteries, anodes, turnbuckles, lines, fenders, safety equipment etc. etc. They must be installed, checked and sea tested. This process is called commissioning and includes bottom preparation and paint. Since the entire process takes from 4 to 6 months (or more), fall/winter is the best time to buy a new boat so you can ensure she will be in the water and ready for you to enjoy at the very beginning of the next boating season.

Should I have my boat titled or documented?

Title and registration is the quickest, easiest, least expensive and most common method of regulatory compliance. The vessel is titled and registered with the state. Documentation is advantageous if the vessel is over 5 “net” tons (typically a boat 25’ or larger qualifies). Documentation is required if the boat is being used in the coastwise trade and many lending institutions may require it because the local law enforcement must stay within their jurisdiction, however, documentation is with the federal government and the U.S. Coast Guard will chase it to the ends of the earth. It also gives the financial institution the ability to obtain a preferred ship’s mortgage and to perfect a maritime lien which gives the bank priority. Documentation is also more prestigious, does not require MC numbers on the bow (you must still purchase and display a state registration sticker, however) and allows easier movement between states and/or countries.

Where should I purchase and register my boat?

The manufacturers consider the dealer territory to be wherever the primary use of the vessel will be at the time of purchase. It would also make sense to have the boat titled/registered in that state. For documented vessels, the manufacturer requirement is the same but where it is documented does not matter. You could have your hailing port be almost anywhere, even Death Valley, CA if you so choose. Keep in mind you will be subject to their jurisdiction.

Boat Brokerage

How do you market your listings?

Our listings are posted on YachtWorld, social media, and a handful of other online boat selling pages. They are also in our weekly newsletter that goes out to a couple thousand boat owners/boat buyers. Lastly, each one is posted on our website.

How do I know what to list my boat for?

Our brokers can help establish a fair asking price through access to previously sold yacht data that is not available to the public. With the make, model, and size of your boat, they can pinpoint a great range to list your boat in. A fair asking price could be what makes the boat sell fastest!

When do boats sell?

Smaller boats sell best in the Spring because people are “impulse buying” before the warm weather comes. Larger boats actually sell best in the fall when things are winding down.

How long will it take my boat to sell?

When considering the price it’s also important to appreciate how long it takes, on average, to sell a boat. Currently, this varies from around eight months for boats 26′ to 35′ to almost 12 months for a boat 46′ to 55′. For every boat that sells in a couple of months, there’s another that takes two or three years.

How do I make sure my boat is prepared to sell?

Make sure the boat is nice and clean – potential buyers want to see it in its best condition. Cleaning the inside and outside and having it smell nice and fresh is the first step to making a buyer fall in love. Second, take out any personal belongings that you can – photographs, toothbrushes, etc – because a potential buyer wants to picture the boat as their own! Additionally, make sure she is priced right. There are many different factors that go into pricing a boat, but our broker can lead you in the right direction. Lastly, we suggest getting a survey done. It is required for insurance and financing and will eventually be done with the potential buyer anyways. A survey in advance will allow you to pinpoint areas that may need to be fixed or upgraded.

When is the best time of the year to buy a previously owned boat?

Boats are a major purchase. Think of it as a process. Everything with boats is a give and take. There may not be a perfect boat, but there is a perfect boat for you, and finding her involves getting out there and looking. Pictures can be deceiving. You must go and look at the boat up close and in person. While most of the buying activity occurs during the summer when people are excited about getting out on the water, in terms of timing fall/winter/spring is great because boats are out of the water and you can see what the bottom looks like. Although snowy days can be a challenge for showings, keep in mind that winter storage has already been paid (and in many cases next season’s dockage too), plus, since boat sales slow down during the cold months the sellers are much more motivated to sell. Once you purchase a previously owned boat you may want to take care of the priority items on the marine survey, upgrade some or all of the electronics, clean up and personalize your new boat. Those are good winter and spring projects whether you do them yourself or have a service department take care of them during the slow season. Once the ice melts and the weather warms up you can be on the water enjoying yourself, not sitting at the dock working on your boat.

Once I find the right boat, what is the process?

Work with a reputable yacht broker that can walk you through the many details. The seller pays the brokerage fee so take advantage of the broker’s knowledge of both the boat and the buying process.
Have a marine survey done by an accredited surveyor. You certainly don’t want to survey every boat you look at, but once you have found the boat of your dreams, absolutely get her surveyed. Like buying a used car, there are going to be issues. Little things like a blown light bulb or current regulatory compliance (ie. CO2 detectors) should be expected. You are looking for major problems that will be costly to repair. Anything can be fixed, it is a matter of how much it will cost and if it is worth repairing. Sellers are required to disclose all known major damage or if the vessel has been in a collision. There are two ways to deal with major issues, the seller can have them repaired or you can re-negotiate the cost of repair into the purchase price.

What are the hidden costs and pitfalls?

Trust your gut feeling. If you approach a boat and she looks rough on the outside (dirty deck, worn dock lines, frayed lifelines), you can be fairly confident the rest of the boat has been neglected too. That said, you might be handy and looking for a bargain on a project boat. A pristine, well-maintained boat will get top dollar as it should. A neglected project boat? Everything is negotiable. Your broker can help with the valuation and provide you with comparable prices for similar boats that have recently sold (like a real estate “comp”) to put things into perspective. Almost all modern fiberglass boats are constructed with a balsa core. End grain balsa is strong, light and rigid when sandwiched between layers of fiberglass, however, the balsa degrades over time with water intrusion and normal wear and tear. Look down the sides of the hull for signs of delamination or past repairs. The lines should be smooth and unwavering. Walk the deck and cabin top in appropriate shoes or bare feet. If there are soft spots or obvious delamination you will feel it. Do not start banging on somebody else’s boat with a hammer or other objects. This is not your boat (yet). Moisture meters are notoriously inaccurate. Professional marine surveyors have many years of experience using moisture meters and sounding hammers. There are many things that can throw off a moisture meter such as mounting plates and even bottom paint. All older boats will have some moisture. Period. What is the point at which repair/replacement is needed? The marine surveyor will tell you. Know that marine surveyors inspect for structural and mechanical/electrical issues. Most are not mechanics and will not go beyond starting the engine, observing for smoke or oil leaks and looking for dried out hoses and worn belts. If you see oil or fuel in the bilge or have concerns about engine hours, hire a mechanic and have an oil analysis done.

Is buying a previously owned boat more like buying a used car or buying a house?

Both. You are buying the boat “as is, without any warranties expressed or implied.” Again, get a marine survey just as you would have a home inspection or safety inspection on a used car. You finance a car for 3 to 5 years. A mortgage is typically 30 years. A boat loan can be 10 – 15 years for previously owned or 20 years for a new boat. A boat loan on a larger yacht may require a preferred ship’s mortgage meaning the vessel must be documented rather than titled. Your broker can provide guidance with the language on the offer agreement, with processing the paperwork with the bank and help to get your boat titled or documented. Experience also counts when it comes to marine insurance. An insurance company that specializes in the marine industry can make sure you have adequate coverage at the most reasonable price.

What is a fiduciary?

Brokers have a contractual obligation to represent the best interest of the seller, however, most brokerage boats are sold as a “dual agent” which means the broker represents both the buyer and the seller. This is where finding a reputable broker is key. The Yacht Brokers Association of America (YBAA) is the largest association for brokers in North America. They provide members not only with solid, proven legal forms but just as important membership demands stringent ethical guidelines. The highest certification is the Certified Professional Yacht Broker (CPYB). Becoming a CPYB requires a minimum 3 years of experience and the broker must pass a 3 hour written exam to earn their CPYB credentials, setting them apart as knowledgeable professionals dedicated to the highest ethical standards and to continued professional education and training.