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mkrautha 04-13-2008 05:21 PM

Mooring can I keep my boat on its own mooring
I have a question,
I sail on Lake Champlain, and am considering moving up to a 26' sailboat. Mooring/slip fee minimums are pretty expensive for my tastes and so I am wondering, Is there any reason why I can't just set anchor regularly in some bay or cove that I like? I was even thinking of making a mooring out of concrete and dropping somewhere (maybe right near the mooring field of an expensive yacht club)? Are there any laws or anything prohibiting this? Who if anyone would I have to notify if I were anchored there all season?
Thanks for your thoughts.
(Oh and if you have other mooring suggestions for Lake Champlain feel free to let me know).

billyruffn 04-13-2008 06:13 PM

You should check with the local authorities. My guess is there are probably rules -- governments everywhere tend to like to issue them for just about everything, including something as innocent as anchoring in cove on a beautiful lake.

Joesaila 04-13-2008 06:29 PM

Go for it!
I have several friends there who do just that. They purchase and put in moorings. The ice plays havock yearly and they have to snorkel out to find the chain. Sometimes it even drags the mooring around! I'd talk to a couple of locals. Often people with purported authority like to just say 'no'...that lake is over 110 miles long and while the marina coves and channel areas are regulated, much is not. In fact if you get and use a mooring you may circumvent 'future regulations' that will no doubt 'happen'. Go for it!

sailaway21 04-13-2008 06:30 PM

Setting up a mooring of a permanent, or semi-permanant, nature will be within the provenence of the local authorities. You can anchor as you please within the limits of navigational considerations as long as you remain upon the boat. Once you leave the boat is when your anchoring becomes problematic as a matter of law. At that point, the question can be rightly raised as to your operation under the applicable laws and rights to navigation upon the navigable waters of the US. Anotherwords, you can transit and anchor as part of that transit as you please but the point at which you cease to actively transit, or navigate as it's written in the law, your rights become rather tenuous. And leaving the boat for a significant period of time giving evidence that you are neither inhabiting the boat nor navigating the waters applicable in transit would bring you back into the local juridiction's provenence. billyruffin's speculations approach metaphysical certitude.

southerncross31 04-13-2008 06:58 PM

I would try contacting the Charlotte Sailing center. It is located by the ferry terminal in Charlotte. The owners name is Andy and he is a great guy. I had a Pearson 26 moored there and it is a great spot. It is well located to just sail on and off the mooring...i used 1/2 gallon of gas for a whole season! I think his rates are around 650 for the season which in my experience is very reasonable. I only wish i could find such a great place to keep my boat in southern Maine. I really do miss my time there.

labatt 04-15-2008 11:05 AM

I looked into it when we were looking to buy a Hallberg-Rassy 53. Several of the marinas had no interest in selling me a slip due to the size of the boat, and I was interested in staying in Willsboro Bay. We looked at dropping a mooring there, but we were told by several people (although we didn't follow it up) that you needed a permit to install a permanent mooring on Champlain. I was also told, unofficially, that when people used to set moorings at the south end of Willsboro Bay, the boats would mysteriously detach from them. Gotta love rumors...

sck5 04-15-2008 11:30 AM

I am not sure if my experience applies, but I live on Cayuga Lake so the same NY laws might apply to Lake Champlain as well, at least the NY side of it. The rules on my lake say that you can put structures up to 100 ft. from shore but more than that is considered a hazard to navigation and the authorities wont allow it. Having said that, I have never heard of any enforcement of this and my mooring is sometimes more than 100 ft. and sometimes less depending on how high the lake level is. However, it might matter that I own the shoreline where my mooring is - I dont know if there is any rule to prevent somebody else from mooring in front of my house but I do know it would make me very unhappy if they moored a big honking boat right in the middle of my view, and also interfering with my own ability to tell friends to come over and anchor out. Doing it in front of state owned land would almost certainly get you in trouble (the state park police are pretty strict) but there are stretches of undeveloped lake front where nobody would know the difference I am sure.

On the other hand, if Champlain is anything like Cayuga the lake bottom for the most part is pretty rocky. You would need to have a pretty good mooring system to have any confidence. The old fashioned method was to heave a couple of chained-together car engines in the lake but that wasnt very environmental so now people chain together garbage cans full of cement unless they are lucky enough to have a gravel or mud bottom.

sailaway21 04-15-2008 11:46 AM

I think that, as a non-resident of the lake shore, you're going to run into a problem with the riparian rights of those owners of lakeshore property, be they private or state, when you go to sinking a mooring. Riparian rights are commonly held to include the right to a view of the lake and your boat on it's mooring would obstruct that view. If you're anchoring, in transit, the navigation laws of the US as codified in the CFR would trump any riparian rights and allow you to anchor.

Your easiest option would be to find someone who likes the view of a nice sailboat moored off their shoreline and negotiate to sink a mooring there. With their permission, you'd be covered in being legal.

JimsCAL 04-15-2008 05:50 PM

I keep my boat on a mooring in Hempstead Harbor in Glen Cove, NY. There are three yacht clubs that use the mooring field. In addition there are a few "loners" that drop moorings and launch a dingy from the town ramp to get back and forth to their boat. Since the town does not regulate the mooring field (yet), it's perfectly legal.

labatt 04-15-2008 10:42 PM

I looked up Champlain and NYS in general... if you are a waterfront homeowner on a non-federal lake you generally have the right to put a mooring up to 100ft from your land. If you are on a federally controlled area (Champlain, Long Island Sound, etc.), you have to request permission from US Army Corps of Engineers. See section SL20 of this document on NYS Specific Boating Requirements (a rather interesting document overall) -

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