If you own a boat slip in a boating facility with other boat slip owners, you are probably part of a marina association. This type of association is commonly referred to as a marina association but it can also be called a yacht club, boat owners association, or boating facility association.
The articles of incorporation may identify the association as a nonprofit and may have created the association as a condominium, which would mean it is governed by N.C. General Statute 47-C. If the articles of incorporation or declaration do not place the association under 47-C, then it is an owners association. If your marina association is not under 47-C, then it is not subject to the Condominium Act or the Planned Community Act. (If the articles of incorporation identify the association as nonprofit, it is under the jurisdiction of 55-A, the N.C. Nonprofit Corporation Act.)
It is extremely important to know if your boat slip ownership is defined as a condominium. This is key, as the laws affecting your association will differ tremendously based on this classification.
When you belong to a marina association, your membership is held through either a membership certificate or a deed to a boat slip.
A marina association that is not classified a condominium association owns the amenities, land, dock facilities and other common areas used by members. Association members also have an exclusive right to use a certain assigned boat slip in perpetuity.
In a marina association that is classified as a condominium association, members are given a deed to their “condominium” (which is, in this case, their boat slip). The amenities, land, dock facilities and other common areas are owned by the condominium owners in undivided interest.
While community and condominium residential associations typically do not pay property taxes, a marina association that is not a condominium association is required to pay property taxes on the amenities, land, dock facilities and common areas as well as on the boat slips. The property taxes should be included in the marina association’s annual operating budget, collected through association assessments and paid to the relevant municipalities on an annual basis.
If your boat slip is within a marina association, there are governing documents that all owners must adhere to. These include property rights, covenants, rules and regulations. A marina association is operated and managed through its board of directors, who is elected by the membership, much like community and condominium associations.
The size of your marina or the services that it offers (such as forklift service for dry slips, fuel or a ship’s store) will determine the number and size of staff required to operate it. At a minimum, most stand-alone marinas have a full-time or part-time dock master to oversee the facilities, assist owners and guests with docking and mooring their vessels, and to provide repair and maintenance oversight to the docking facilities and other amenities or services the marina provides.
Marina associations typically provide insurance coverage on the docking facilities and other structures owned by the association, as well as various liability coverages. As with any other association, marina associations should have long-term replacement reserve studies performed to properly plan for and fund future capital projects and large replacements.
Marina associations benefit from management by a professional association management company. When considering whether to engage professional association management, consider the company’s experience managing the different types of marina associations. Then find the one with the expertise to help you successfully navigate the waters of marina association governance.
Mike Stonestreet is a 26-year veteran of the professional HOA management industry who has achieved one of the highest education-based designations in the field, that of Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM). Community Association Management Services (CAMS) has been a leading association management company since its inception in 1991. CAMS is a trusted provider of management services for more than 265 associations throughout North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. To find out how CAMS can benefit your community, call (910) 256-2021, email [email protected], or visit www.CAMSmgt.com.
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