Poll needs more options -- what's "free"?
Do I pay someone for the priviledge of using a mooring I do not "own"? No. Is it "free"? Well, I guess it is if you don't count:
1/ The $2K worth of gear I bought to put on the bottom
2/ The annual "fee" I pay to the town that claims to own the bottom on which my $2K worth of gear sets
3/ The annual exise tax levied on my boat because it is attached to a mooring located within the legal jurisdiction of the town during the summer months (no kidding -- the boat's on the mooring maybe 60 days a year. The rest of the time it's out of the state completely, but the town levies a tax on the boat because the 60 days occur during the summer months).
4/ Relatively minor costs associated with the annual upkeep of the gear
Sadly, very few things in life are "free", but fortunately for sailors the wind still blows free.
Post script: I hate to think what might happen if anyone in government decided to tax the wind. If we ever arrive at the point where there are millions of dollars sunk in wind power generation, I'm sure politicians will decide that they should tax the "wind fall" profits earned by they people who invested in the windmill. Afterall, the wind is owned by the public and the guy with the windmill is using it for "free". Once they tax the windmill, can the sailboat be far behind?