A marina is a facility which caters to small boats and recreational boaters. Marinas consist of basins or sheltered harbors which are fitted with equipment suitable for the use of small watercraft. They can include a variety of amenities. Marinas may be administered by municipalities, private organizations, or even individuals. Use of the marina usually comes with a fee which can vary depending on the types of services someone wants to use. Some marinas may have special hardship rates or may donate a few berths to charitable organizations such as groups which take disadvantaged children on sailing trips.
One of the key services at a marina is mooring. People can lease a space along a dock or buoy for the purpose of mooring a boat when it is not in use. Some marinas offer related services such as dry storage for times when people will not be using their boats for a while, slipways or cranes for getting boats into the water, and so forth.
A marina also commonly has services like a refueling station, stores which stock basic marine supplies, repair facilities, and related businesses. Marinas can also have restaurants and recreational facilities for the use of members and visitors, and some even have features like car rental agencies which can connect visiting sailors with rental cars, concierge desks which offer services like hotel and restaurant reservations, dry cleaning, and so forth, along with medical clinics for basic medical needs.
People who wish to dock at a marina usually need to pay a fee for docking which is based on the duration of docking. In some cases, marinas may have arrangements with facilities in neighboring areas; a member in good standing of Yacht Club A, for example, could dock at Yacht Club D for free for a day. Services like dry storage usually cost extra, reflecting more work on the part of the marina staff.
Marinas also usually offer security services. The facility may be guarded, and usually has cameras and other security features which are designed for the protection of marina members. This can be a welcome benefit for people who are concerned about theft or vandalism, and people who sleep on their boats at night may also appreciate the presence of a guard who can act quickly if a security threat presents itself. At a minimum, a marina is usually secured with gates to which only members have keys, to keep unauthorized access to a minimum.