Several popular anchorages here are wrestling with this distinction now - if you've anchored in a spot for a season or several years - even if you keep your boat clean and pump out regularly, etc - haven't you just taken public property and converted it to your own private benefit.?
Here, on the Med, that was never a problem till the huge increase in sailboats. Then it started to be noticed that for some folks the idea of cruising in a sailboat was to lay on anchor on a nice place and be there all summer, some even let the anchor line attached to the dinghy and went with the sailboat to have a bit of sail, returning to the previous spot.
This situation lead that the nicer anchorages and the best spots were "taken" for the entire season by some cruisers, if we can call them that.
Face to this situation and responding to many complaints from the "real cruisers" the local authorities acted (to my knowledge and in different countries) in different ways :
They authorized individuals to lay on the place buoy camps, forbidden anchorage on the place. This way they not only increase the number of boats that can share the place but also and because those buoys are expensive, discouraged the ones that use to stay there all summer long. One of the reasons they were doing that was because it was inexpensive.
In other cases and places they forbid anchorage for more than a day or two. On others they charge for the anchorage. On Ibiza bay (some years back) they allow you to anchor, but only at evening for the night. In the morning they clear the place this way allowing that cruising boats (that are cruising) find a safe place to anchor for the night.
When there are too many boats somebody has to rule and you cannot expect cruisers and mostly charters to solve the problem by themselves. It would be nice and in less crowded waters I saw sometimes respect and good seamanship, I mean guys that come to the anchorage turn around see that there are no safe place there (without putting in risk other boats) and go away looking for another anchorage.
Unfortunately in the Islands of Central Croacia when the anchorage is full they keep coming and dropping the anchor on top of the boats that are already there. I mean it, I passed two or three nights sleeping on the cockpit because some guys just put their anchors on top of mine. The situation is so bad that these guys come already to the spot with all fenders out
That happens not only because there are many boats but also because there are guys that stay many days on a nice spot.
Well, I will not sail there anymore while they will find a solution for that, I mean they have the solution of paid buoys but I don't like that one
, Ok it is alright for one that charters a boat for one or two weeks (the 27 euros for buoy, the 250 or 300 euros, are acceptable regarding the price of the charter) but for one that cruises longer it is just too expensive.
I prefer the restriction of time in a given anchorage. In public waters a nice spot should not be monopolized by one person as if it was his property.