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  #1  
Old 10-18-2009
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Cheap Idea

Ok, so I'm 'bout to buy a boat, and I'm tallying up the costs like a good little, practical sailor and it's clear to me that a fairly large chunk of change goes to mooring the darn boat; money spent for time I'm not on the boat. My question: does anyone just anchor their boat in a cove or estuary? Or what about placing your own cement block with a buoy attached? I live a few blocks from the Potomac on the VA side of DC and tying to a buoy costs over $300 a month!
I checked with the Coast Guard, and there are no federal laws prohibiting anchoring for extended periods as long as charts and good seamanship are obeyed. I'm sure the state has something to say about it. That's a little harder to research, but I'm checking.
Is anyone doing this? Has anyone heard of this, or know of laws prohibiting it?and finally, is it practical to leave your boat swinging on a reinforced hook or buoy and monitored only every other day between weekend sails? Thanks in advance.

John
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Old 10-19-2009
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Mooring the boat isn't that expensive. In many areas you can get a mooring for about $900 or so for the season.

The primary advantage of using a mooring is simple—it is far more reliable and safer than anchoring for an extended period of time for an unattended boat. Moorings are far more reliable and far less likely to drag. Also, if a mooring breaks, the company that you rented the mooring from is usually responsible for any damage to your boat. If you were living aboard, anchoring might make more sense...but you're not.

One user on this forum had his boat anchored out and it has since sunk and been abandoned.

Placing your own mooring can be an issue, especially on the Potomac, since IIRC, the Potomac is Maryland's, and placing a mooring requires dealing with Maryland...
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Old 10-19-2009
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You'll probably have some kind of trouble with your plan. You don't see other boats just anchored out in the river up in that area, right?

Have you tried Washington Sailing Marina at Daingerfield Island? Depending on what you're buying, you can pay to store the trailer there and use their davits to launch or you can rent a slip. I don't think either is terribly expensive.

Further south, there was once a marina called Belle Haven that had moorings for rent and a couple of surfer dudes that ran the launches. I don't know if the place exists anymore because of the Wilson Bridge project, but they'd be even cheaper.

I think Alexandria might even have slips and moorings.

In my opinion, unless you're sailing a dinghy, the upper Potomac sucks for sailing!! Too shallow, too narrow, fluky breeze, and you can't get under the bridges to see the sights. C'mon out to the Bay. It's worth the drive.
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Old 10-19-2009
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He's right except he doesn't mention that you'll have to deal with s/v Over the Moon and its captain PK...

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Originally Posted by painkiller View Post
In my opinion, unless you're sailing a dinghy, the upper Potomac sucks for sailing!! Too shallow, too narrow, fluky breeze, and you can't get under the bridges to see the sights. C'mon out to the Bay. It's worth the drive.
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Old 10-19-2009
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marylands laws on mooring are great. basicly stay out of kent county and annapolis and its free, now there are also places on the severn river where you cant put on either.

the rules beyond the above are simple, stay out of channels, oyster beds, cabble areas and a few others. no permit, no cost above the mooring it self, just mark it with your boat name or numbers.

but beware the county its in can charge you property tax on it.

state web site here
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Good points, all, shipmates. Just wanted to know if other people had thoughts on this. You've confirmed that I'll have to stick with plan A: I'll moor at Bellhaven ($300/month) and haul her in the winter down at Fort Belvoir. I'm looking at a Morgan 34 or an Allied Seabreeze 35. Both draw 3.5ft and can make Belvoir at high tide only (only the Army would have a marina with a 2 foot MLW entrance (Go Navy...!)) Old Town and WSM are quite a bit more expensive.

Now, about that Bay verses Potomac idea, Painkiller... I'm with you. I've done a good bit of sailing on the Bay and normally that is my preference, but I'm leaning toward having the boat close to home where I can work on it regularly (and sleep on it when I've spent too much) and take it on short evening sails during the week, then gunkhole on weekends and make summer weekly trips to he Bay. I'd rather spend time on the boat than on I-95. And Dog, location is my trade-off for expense. You're right, mooring further south would make the price closer to your $900 mark.

If all this proves wrong, after I've put her in Bay sailing shape, I'll shift to Maryland.

Thanks again for your input,

John
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Very interesting, ScottyT. Thanks for the link. This option may not be dead yet. I have to agree with Sailing Dog though... if it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. and while a small tributary in Annapolis might be very reasonable, out in the open Potomac is another story.

I need to find a rich friend with a house on the river... and take him sailing!

Thanks, again,
John
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
He's right except he doesn't mention that you'll have to deal with s/v Over the Moon and its captain PK...
Hah hah hah! "STARRRRRRRRBOARD!!!!" "But you're on port..."
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Old 10-19-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by captlit View Post
Very interesting, ScottyT. Thanks for the link. This option may not be dead yet. I have to agree with Sailing Dog though... if it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. and while a small tributary in Annapolis might be very reasonable, out in the open Potomac is another story.

I need to find a rich friend with a house on the river... and take him sailing!

Thanks, again,
John

Using an anchor to secure your boat long-term when you are not aboard, would be pretty risky. A true mooring would be a much better arrangement.
And cement blocks don't make the best mooring anchors -- they need to be quite large, larger than you could manage on your own.

I think there are multiple reasons you don't see it being done along the Potomac shoreline. First, there are very few protected anchorages or coves, so you'd be mooring in an exposed stretch of the river. Yes, it's only a river, but below the bridges it's plenty wide enough that big chop develops. Also, the river is shoal in many places, so your options for moorage are severely limited by depth.

Finally, even if you could locate a suitable location, you would still need to find public access to get to your boat. With only very few exceptions, the shoreline is private property. The areas with public access already have marinas or don't allow boat launches.
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