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post #21 of 37 Old 08-25-2012
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Re: picking up a vacant mooring

In BC, the government told me they dont give water leases for private morings, so anyone is free to use any mooring they please, legally. I certainly do, after giving it a good shot of reverse to check it out. If no one hassles me, I feel obliged to clean the growth off it, and put a coupler of peel and stick reflectors on it, so it can be easily found after dark. The growth is an indicator of how little use it has had.

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post #22 of 37 Old 08-25-2012
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Re: picking up a vacant mooring

Not sure of any local laws, but it seems that anywhere outside shipping channels should be available for anchoring, right?
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post #23 of 37 Old 08-25-2012
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Re: picking up a vacant mooring

I wanna park my RV on the lawn of the White House!
I wanna anchor my boat near the U.N. in Manhattan!
I wanna pitch a tent on the sidewalk in NYC and not pay for a very expensive hotel!
I wanna anchor by and explore the Aberdeen Proving Grounds on the Chessy!
I wanna go to the beach behind these rich peoples house so I'll just park in front and walk across their lawn!

The mooring situation is just the tip of the iceberg. Most of the above not so well thought out ideas will get some form of Lawn Enforcement on you in a hurry.

You don't park your car in a Handicapped spot without the proper decals just because it is closer to where you want to go, do you?

I am saddened by all the layers of bureaucracy that beach access, anchoring and moorings are governed by. Florida may be a flash point for these kinds of restrictions but it seems to go on nearly everywhere in the US and may vary from harbor to harbor in the north east.

I think you need to apply the 'reasonability smell test' to most situations regarding picking up a seemingly unused mooring. The first smell test is to check the local regulations as laid out in the Coastal Pilot. The second is if the mooring you choose has very clean pennants then it is likely the owners will return soon. The third is if it is an emergency situation or not. The fourth is how 'lucky' you feel at that moment since you have no idea of what kind of ground tackle is holding the mooring marker. There may be other sniff test criteria but that's all I've got for now.

The most 'reasonable' thing to do is to contact some local authority to inquire where a transient may anchor or pay for a mooring. If there is a lack of local authority (could be a local fisherman or other boater) then you are on your own. If you have a real (or perceived) emergency on your hands you should have a lot more leverage for just grabbing any unused mooring. By grabbing any unused mooring you find you should also be prepared to move quickly and/or paying for the consequences of your actions.

That said, I have grabbed a mooring in Lloyd Harbor (mentioned previously) for an hour or two to watch a Weds. night race. I noticed the local harbor master patrolling the area and was uncomfortable with the idea of spending the night there without an 'invite'. I found a transient mooring for the night inside Huntington Harbor for $35/night that let me sleep more soundly had I stayed where I was not 'allowed' to stay.

Situational awareness has a lot to do with what is safe, what you can get away with and what is the most prudent way to go.

Paying your own way feels a lot better then pulling the "dock, dine, doze and dash before 6 AM" routine. Anchoring where acceptable is even better as it usually costs a lot less.

Interesting thread in any case.

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post #24 of 37 Old 11-20-2012
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Re: picking up a vacant mooring

I have a private mooring buoy adequate for my 22' boat. Once marina fees rose to 50% of the value of the boat annually, it just made sense.

I would be really freaked out if a vacant boat was on my mooring when I came back from wherever. Where would I leave MY boat???

Having said that, many of the nice little sheltered bays in the Gulf Islands are so infested with rarely-used mooring buoys that you can't put a hook down anywhere inside.

I think that as long as you're prepared to leave with good graces on short notice it shouldn't be a problem.
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post #25 of 37 Old 11-21-2012
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Re: picking up a vacant mooring

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Originally Posted by cmbrossa View Post

Having said that, many of the nice little sheltered bays in the Gulf Islands are so infested with rarely-used mooring buoys that you can't put a hook down anywhere inside.

I think that as long as you're prepared to leave with good graces on short notice it shouldn't be a problem.
This seems like an adult rational approuch. People in general are way to territoral...IMHO
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post #26 of 37 Old 11-21-2012
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Re: picking up a vacant mooring

I've never grabbed a private mooring - but really see no reason not to other than not knowing what's under it.
The creeks around my house are filled with balls - some of them are 'fake' and the purpose is to keep people from anchoring, so it really is a buyer beware situation.

Within sight of my pier there are 23 mooring balls, only 5 of which are used on a regular basis, the rest are intended to keep others from either dropping their own ball there - or to keep people from anchoring there (none and mine).

IF I had a ball and returned from a day sail to find a boat on it I'd just raft off it (if no one was there) and then transfer the pennant to my boat. No big deal. Leave a note saying "enjoy, return my lines when you unhook", and leave a phone number.

If the owner was there I'd honestly see it as a wonderful opportunity to meet someone.

Lessons learned are opportunities earned.
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post #27 of 37 Old 11-21-2012
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Re: picking up a vacant mooring

I have two moorings in my sailing area. One of them is in an isolated cove with a beach. It's where I sleep on the weekends if I don't sail too far. I've lost count of the times I've arrived to find a boat on my mooring. I politely ask them to leave so I can use it, but tell them they are welcome to use it when I'm not there. I also take the opportunity to explain how to use it properly. One day I arrived to find 3 big (50ft ish) power boats rafted up on my mooring. I asked them to leave (a bit peeved at this point because of the weight on the mooring) and they had the nerve to complain that I wanted my mooring! They refused to leave, suggesting I grab a free mooring nearby! Powerboaters ....

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post #28 of 37 Old 11-21-2012
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Re: picking up a vacant mooring

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Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
Within sight of my pier there are 23 mooring balls, only 5 of which are used on a regular basis, the rest are intended to keep others from either dropping their own ball there - or to keep people from anchoring there (none and mine).
See, that's just not right, fake balls....lol....
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post #29 of 37 Old 11-21-2012
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Re: picking up a vacant mooring

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See, that's just not right, fake balls....lol....
Seriously, I've watched a guy in a 8 foot pram pull them up and move them around.

Lessons learned are opportunities earned.
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post #30 of 37 Old 11-21-2012
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Re: picking up a vacant mooring

"IF I had a ball and returned from a day sail to find a boat on it I'd just raft off it...No big deal. Leave a note saying "

Chuckles, you must really be slumming it. A true yachstmen always has his mooring steward remain on watch, with a chilled bottle of champagne and the offer of fresh hors d'oeuvres from the galley to entertain you, while you are waiting for them to cast off and return your mooring to you in a prompt manner.

The note of thanks is of course delivered by post, or messenger, along with a dinner invitation, not more than 48 hours afterwards.

Really, you've just got to stop associating with those riffraff in boats, and take up yachting.
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