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  #1  
Old 03-07-2006
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Mooring and Anchoring Etiquette

Still fairly new to sailing my own boat,and last season in Maine,we often dropped the hook for the night alongside an island cove,or "borrowed" an unoccupied mooring for a night. Now I am expanding my sailing distance to other areas,and I'm not sure about mooring or anchoring in other areas. Where to drop the hook? Do I call a harbormaster first? What constitutes an acceptable anchorage area?
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Old 03-07-2006
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You are allowed to anchor anywhere except in channels or restricted areas on charts. Some localities have longer term anchoring restrictions especially in Florida but essentialy you can drop thhe hook anywhere you're not gonna get run over. Some areas also have designated anchorages which are protected spots where you don't have to keep an anchor light on all night...see local charts for guidance on this. Wouldn't go borrowing moorings anywhere else or you may find yourself having to move in the dark or unpleasant weather when the owner returns for the night. I find if you call the local TowboatUS or Seatow operator they can often be helpful in recommending a spot with good shelter and holding.
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Old 03-10-2006
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It is bad practice to pick up an empty mooring without permission. Not only might you have a bad experience with a returning owner, you never know what the holding power of the mooring is or when it was last inspected. Many cruising guides and websites will suggest safe anchorages and mooring policies which vary from harbor to harbor.
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Old 03-15-2006
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I would not take a mooring with out the owners permission. In allot of places the mooring is paid for every year a local harbor tax kind of thing. Some are permitted and only applied for one time for as long as the owner has the spot. Some are owned by the city. In all cases they are someones property empty or not ,so best to ask,they may want you to use it so you don't harm the sea bed. Here in Florida they belong to the citys and in some places they have so many its just a joke to say they are helping the enviroment YA RIGHT! they want money to hell with marine life. When you have 250 moorings side by side and boats blocking out the sun from the bottom guess what the bottom dies. This is the case in Florida and they say that it does not harm any marine life. I guess the Scripts people and Woods Hole are not that smart at least not as smart as the city planers and developers.
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Old 03-16-2006
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Please do not "borrow" empty moorings. Once you have done this on a regular basis, you will understand why this is inappropriate mooring etiquette.

We have always kept our boats in a marina slip, but were recently granted a mooring certificate after being on the waiting list for 6 years. The mooring is located in a very sheltered cove within a local island nature preserve. This cove is beautiful and has become very popular with overnighters and daytrippers, filling up quickly every summer weekend. Our purpose is to use it as a local retreat, since it's not far from our marina.

Some boaters don't realize that these are all private moorings, which cost the owners good money to install and maintain. They also think that since it may be empty late in the day, it's OK to pick one up and spend the night. Nothing is more annoying than for us to leave work on a weekday or Friday afternoon and sail to our island retreat, only to find another boat on it.

It is also an embarrassment to the "borrowers" to be asked to leave - especially while grilling their dinner over cocktails. We once had to wake people, arriving late after returning from a long cruise. Since no other moorings were available, they had to drop anchor in darkness.
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Old 03-16-2006
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KayakDan

I too am from Maine and I do not use OPM's (other peoples moorings) for many reasons. One is that most boaters are very lax about keeping moorings in prime working condition. I've seen people at the Goslings pick up a mooring and fifteen minutes later they are on the rocks wondering why? In many places like Sebasco you can rent one but if you're going to the Goslings or anywhere that does not rent them I would anchor.

Buy yourself a good anchor, not a danforth style because you'll need one that will re-set on a wind tide shift in Maine, and drop the hook. It's also rude to grab a mooring no matter what time it is. We often get back to our mooring at 11:00 p.m.. We have come home to find our mooring occupied and no one on board and that's frustrating! Hamilton Marine just started stocking the new Manson Supreme anchors and I bought one last week! The price seems better than a Spade or a Rocna at $249.00. Below is a picture of both my Spade and my Manson. The Manson has the roll bar so it always winds up in a perfect position for setting. The Bruce anchor also works very well on the Maine coast but has limited holding power when compared to a Delta, CQR, Spade, Manson, Rocna etc.. I stopped using my CQR due to poor setting and I dragged it twice in blows of only 35 knots. I hate having to drop my anchor three times to make it set.

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Old 03-17-2006
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I should add that the only time we "borrowed" moorings was off of Little Whaleboat Is.halekai36,I'm sure you know where I mean. The island is unoccupied(Island Institute?) and the moorings are often used by "transients" for a night. Never seen the actual owners,and if the island was recently aquired,they may be unoccupied.
I would never use a mooring in another area without permission,and I understand it could be a nuisance,as I had a mooring at Dolphin last year.
Halekai 36,maybe we'll meet at the Goslings!
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Old 03-17-2006
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The Moorings At Little Whale Boat

Rarely get maintained. I used to live in Harpswell just North of Whaleboat Island looking between the Goslings and Little Whale boat. I used to kayak there in the winter and the mooring balls were still up. Most moorings in Maine get "winter sticked" meaning the chain is droped to the bottom and a cedar log is tied to the chain via pot warp. The idea is the chain links don't wear out if they are not chafing on each other and the mud bottom prevents corrosion due to less oxygen. Those moorings were left in year round! With your boat your probably safe but I still prefer to know the condition of what I'm hooking to..
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Old 03-18-2006
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I too sail Maine all summer and agree that it is both generally unwise and in most cases impolite to use moorings without permission. However, there are more and more spots in Maine where the anchorages are filled with moorings that are used by their owners only on weekends or even less frequently. The Goslings is one of those, Perry Creek is even worse. The limited room that is still available for anchoring fills early. So, do the owners of these "get away" moorings have a right to exclude others from some of the best anchorages simply by paying for a permit? I'm not talking about places like Stonington or Criehaven that are filled with moorings of fishermen and used regularly. It's the practice of placing moorings in prime remote anchorages that are intended for limited use, and expecting that they should not be used by others.
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Old 03-28-2006
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I borrowed moorings a few times. Didn't really mean too, but it happens. I was tired as heck, was on a new boat, and had to deliver it to a yard I didn't know, in a harbor I didn't know, in the dark. Did I mention I didn't know the boat very well either?

So rather than make a big mistake, I zipped by the mooring ball field and looked for some empty balls (it was 11:00pm). Now the one thing I have on my side here is that I lived in that anchorage for a year or so, so I know which ones are chronically empty, which ones are private, and which ones are temporary ones which normally don't get filled.

If you're exhausted / tired to the point that you're an accident waiting to happen, tie up to anything you can. Maybe don't spend the whole night and get your beauty rest, just get some shut eye and keep moving when you're awake.
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