Berth shortage leaving boaties frantic for leases
Issue only likely to intensify as America’s Cup nears
A dire shortfall of available marina berths in Auckland is forcing boat owners to “crawl over broken glass” to purchase long-term leases costing upwards of $400,000.
The other option for many desperate Auckland boaties is to shuffle their vessels across the city’s different marinas for short monthly leases costing thousands of dollars.
And the problem is likely to get worse as Team New Zealand’s defence of the America’s Cup in 2011 nears.
Auckland marina broker Ken Davern said the cost of many berths had doubled in the last year, and there is a waiting list of three years to get a vessel into many berths for indemand city central marinas.
“The demand is outweighing the supply. Some of the prices in Bayswater have doubled in the last year,” Davern said, who works for MarinaBerths.com.
“I know there’s quite a few people who have been chucked out of the Viaduct or Hobson West who have had to find new homes for their boats. Rents have gone up so high they can’t stay there.
“Because there aren’t any marinas around the only choice for those guys who were renting is to buy. If they get chucked out of the viaduct there’s basically no where to go. They crawl over broken glass to pay the money to get the rights to a berth.
“There’s a waiting list at Westhaven. If they were to put another 150 berths in there I could sell those before they even start their development.”
Compounding berth supply has been Team New Zealand taking over the majority of Hobson West Marina as a base for the 2021 America’s Cup.
Auckland Council’s land management company Panuku Development owns around half the berths in the Viaduct Marina right next to Team NZ’s camp.
Panuku general manager of marinas Tom Warren said while there
are no “immediate plans” to increase the cost of berthing “the America’s Cup may impact market rates as we would expect to see across all types of accommodation”.
To berth a 30-metre yacht in Viaduct Marina in 2018 costs $65,520 a year.
NZ Marina Operators Association chairman Chris Galbraith said the America’s Cup is going to increase the number of visiting yachts to New Zealand by a “significant amount”.
“Without doubt there’s going to be an impact on the value of the berths,” he said.
“It’s simply a matter of scarcity of supply and the excess of demand, and the demand driven by the America’s Cup and those that event attracts.”
Galbraith said, for example, the number of
25-metre-plus superyachts will go from around 35 a year entering New Zealand to near
200 for the America’s Cup. “Those boats have to go somewhere,” he said.
“That takes out capacity in the other marinas around the country, but you’ve also got a percentage that will go into Auckland and further put pressure on that supply demand scenario.”
Westhaven Marina, located adjacent to Auckland Harbour Bridge, accounts for 30 per cent of the total boat berths in the region.
An Auckland Council report in April 2018 found Westhaven had “achieved effectively full occupancy” and has waiting lists of “high levels of unsatisfied demand”.
Specifically, as of March 2018 there was a demand for 237 marina berths sized from 12 metres upwards.
Aucklander Mel Homer — a DJ on the Mix radio station — leases a berth in Westhaven Marina for her 14-metre boat for over $1000 a month.
“We don’t actually have a full-time one at the moment, we’re jumping from berth to berth when they’re free, almost on a month to month basis,” Homer said.
“[We] certainly didn’t factor that in when we upgraded our boat this year. Plus the cheaper, pile moorings at Westhaven are no longer available.”
From 2009 to 2018 the average occupancy of Westhaven marina was 92 per cent, reaching 97 per cent in 2018 — with much of availability restricted to small boats under nine metres.
A redevelopment of Westhaven Marina is ongoing, after 66 new berths were added to the marina in
Westhaven Marina accounts for 30 per cent of Auckland boat berths and is running at effectively full occupancy, according to a 2018 council report, despite adding 66 new berths in 2015.
Mel Homer has to move her boat often.Photo / Norrie Montgomery