Other that rowing out to the mooring (which is kind-of fun), are there any downsides to keeping a boat on a mooring? Is the boat at any more risk on a mooring from storms? Is there any concern with leaving a boat on a mooring for up to weeks at a time without a visit?
I have done the mooring and slip on my J24 which has NO automatic bilge pump in several locations on Long Island and prefer the mooring as even after a monsoon its rare for more than 5 gallons of water to be in the boat .
The big down side to the mooring here is its a PITA to clean the boat BUT on the bright side it rained a LOT this year and i was able to scrub and let nature rinse the crap out of it several times a week
When i had the boat in the slip i always had to be real carefull about how the boat was tied up and protected from dock rash
But if the mooring is well sheltered, the boat is probably safest from damage there. While it's good to check-up on it as often as possible, there should be no worries about leaving it for weeks at a time, either.
It is a hassle at times to have to row out and back to the boat (assuming no launch service). Not so much when you're heading out or coming back from a sail, but especially when you are visiting to work on the boat. If you only have a few hours to get a job done, it's much easier to be able to step on and off the boat at the dock.
But one nice advantage is that sometimes the mooring is a destination unto itself. If the wind is blowing stink or you just feel like staying put -- you're already there.
Well, if you are confident in the mooring setup then go for the mooring. You will need a place to park & legally launch your tender from also. But if money is not the issue I'd prefer the slip. Water, electricity, security & ease of getting to her.
Besides, marina life can be fun ;D because there are always characters around.
Plus you get to know other boaters & learn from them.
edit: I say this as I'm on a mooring ball waiting to get into a marina, lol
What are the restrictions on making your own mooring? I'm fortunate enough to live on the oceanfront and there are a few (rarely used) boats moored in the bay. It would certainly reduce my sailing budget, well OK, allow me to buy more toys, if I could moor up for free and just get a dingy to get out to her.
I agree with a lot of the comments already made.
I will tell you that, just last week our area experienced Storm conditions for two days straight with sustained winds in the 40's and gusts as high as 50+ knots. (This storm has been well documented in these threads by various posters). When it was all said and done I had a Homer Simpson moment and went Doh! I could have put the boat on one of the empty moorings. I checked with the principals at the marina and they said it would have been fine to move to an empty can. As long as the mooring can is properly set and rated to the correct displacement of your vessel and if you have proper swing room along with a properly sized swivel and pendant, I always feel the boat is safer on a mooring can in extreme conditions.
And... It’s always easier to get on and off a mooring when the wind is blowing like stink, especially short handed.
Mooring may have an advantage as relates to reduced damage compared to a dock, and I do like the idea of catching a can in bad weather when short handed. The biggest problem seems to be other boaters. If your neighbors are not good with the chaffing gear, or do a bad job anchoring, they can float or drag into you. This happens with some frequency durring storms when one boat may get loose and damage several others. Last time I was at a very secure park mooring a power boat anchored way to close, used almost no scope, and left his craft to camp on shore for the night. I had a pretty restless night, although in the end he did not drag.