Keeping a boat in the water for free - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 49 Old 12-06-2010 Thread Starter
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Keeping a boat in the water for free

If I had a cheap 35' boat that I wanted to leave somewhere for about two months for free how hard or risky would that be to do?

If I had solar panels and a reliable anchor light and a really good anchor could I just leave it out in the ocean somewhere a little distance off shore?

Could I just find an anchorage and leave it there for an extended period?

What about moorings? I really know nothing about them. Do you usually have to rent one? Are there restrictions on the length of time if I found a free one? Can I make my own mooring?

I've heard various cities have time limits on anchoring. Would this be a problem?

Is a $10,000 boat likely to get stolen? I don't want to pay $200 a month for a slip or dry storage. If the probability of the boat getting stolen is less than 24% per year than it is cheaper to risk having it stolen than paying for storage!
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post #2 of 49 Old 12-06-2010
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Just what everybody loves- someone who can't afford their boat, leaving it unattended for several months in an anchorage, right in the middle of winter.
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post #3 of 49 Old 12-06-2010
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While not as harsh as Fstbttms...I have to agree. Can you really afford this hobby right now?

Please try and find a friend or good samaritan with dockspace behind their house that you can securely tie up to. Leaving your vessel on the hook or on a mooring unattended or maginally attended is a recipe for losing your boat.

Just look at what happened to this Sailnet member's vessel when he left it unattended at anchor:

Well my day really sucked.

Also witness the wrath of the community that admonished his irresponsibility about leaving a wreck to pollute the local waters. What a shame...great boat that was lost..easily avoidable.

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post #4 of 49 Old 12-07-2010
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Night0wl-

Thanks for making your excellent response to this. That link is the poster child for why you shouldn't do this.

The phrase "hazard to navigation" comes to mind...

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post #5 of 49 Old 12-07-2010
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Generally, this is a bad idea. It may depend on where you are. Are boats in the water year round? If there is a very well protected cove, that won't be affected by high winds or surf, and you are permitted to place your own mooring, that might be okay. It would be wise to have someone check on the bilge periodically.

Either way, if you leave a boat that is an eye sore or may potentially sink, you are just asking for trouble.
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post #6 of 49 Old 12-07-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steel View Post
If I had a cheap 35' boat that I wanted to leave somewhere for about two months for free how hard or risky would that be to do?
Pretty hard to do safely and very risky to do.

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If I had solar panels and a reliable anchor light and a really good anchor could I just leave it out in the ocean somewhere a little distance off shore?
Yes, but it is a really, really, really stupid idea to do so....

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Could I just find an anchorage and leave it there for an extended period?
Sure, but it isn't a good idea. If your boat breaks free, you're liable for any damage it causes, since you'd probably be considered negligent at the very least. Also, if your boat sinks, you could be found liable for any environmental damage it causes and the cost of cleaning up such damage. The USCG limits the fees for environmental remediation to $800,000, but that is a pretty big chunk of change.

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What about moorings? I really know nothing about them. Do you usually have to rent one? Are there restrictions on the length of time if I found a free one? Can I make my own mooring?
Moorings are a far better idea than anchoring. Moorings are designed for long-term unattended boats. Most places charge for the use of moorings and if you found a free one, you would be seriously abusing the privilege of using it by tying it up for a long period of time.

Yes, you can make your own mooring, but you usually need to get permits and such for them. Any mooring you can make for less than the cost of renting one for three months is likely to not be safe or able to pass inspection.

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I've heard various cities have time limits on anchoring. Would this be a problem?
Yes, it could be. Also, they could declare an unattended anchored boat abandoned or a hazard to navigation and remove it. If they do so, you'd be responsible for any associated fines or storage fees, and those are easily going to be more than renting a mooring would be in cost.

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Is a $10,000 boat likely to get stolen? I don't want to pay $200 a month for a slip or dry storage. If the probability of the boat getting stolen is less than 24% per year than it is cheaper to risk having it stolen than paying for storage!
It depends... just remember, even if the boat is only $10,000, the parts are far more valuable. Someone could strip the winches, mast, boom, anchor, etc., off the boat and replacing them would cost NEW MARINE HARDWARE prices for a 35' boat. That isn't going to be cheap. I'd also point out that most insurance companies won't pay out if you're leaving the boat anchored out unattended for long periods of time rather than on a mooring or in a slip, since that qualifies in most cases as negligent behavior on your part.

I'd have to agree with some of the other posters and ask you to seriously consider if you can truly afford to own a boat.

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Last edited by sailingdog; 12-07-2010 at 08:06 AM.
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post #7 of 49 Old 12-07-2010
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A proper storage/mooring/slip is simply what the boat requires in order to keep it. I'm all for cutting costs where you can, but not at the price of properly maintaining a boat and more importantly, keeping other boats safe from mine. Your anchor could slip at any moment and then a 35' boat is drifting around causing a problem for others. Your freebee storage could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages to others. I very well could become homicidal if I knew something like saving a few bucks is why my boat has a 35 footer up her ass.

At the minimum you should keep it on a mooring ball. That is probably the least expensive way to keep it for long term storage. Anchoring out requires more attention to the boat than it's worth considering the savings you think you'd get.

If you can't afford her, consider a boat you can haul out yourself, move, and keep in a RV storage facility, or at your house if you need.

It's not just you out there.
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post #8 of 49 Old 12-07-2010
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Here in UK you can lay a mooring wherever its safe and sensible-or even in the open sea if you are not sensible.You have to pay a nominal charge to the crown(government) and register the position of the mooring.
I used to keep my boat on its mooring all year until without warning I dropped a shackle pin luckily without damage;and a second then a third!. learned a hard lesson though as I say luckily without damage as where the boat was moored whilst usually sheltered occasionally could get the odd storm with a rocky shore and rock wall embankment.
And $50,000 of boat!

You never know whats going on under the water and my boats now out every winter despite the cost.
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post #9 of 49 Old 12-07-2010
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where are you located?

I have had my boat for 2 plus years and i have not paid for a slip except when i went some where. I did keep my boat on anchor for a year but checked on it daily and it was very sheltered. I am now in a slip of a friend whos boat is on the hard for the winter, so maybe ask a friend. now its not ideal to try for free storage, but i had a city owned dock that is unregulated so i was lucky.

so even thou i did it dont think you can with out having a perfect situation.
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post #10 of 49 Old 12-07-2010
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I don't want to pay $200 a month for a slip or dry storage
Then, sell the boat and get a kayak or rubber raft to float around in.

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