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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.

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Old 10-05-2013
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sailboats tied to Buoys

I'm new to sailing - I mean very new. I've seen sailboats tied to floating buoys in harbors and was wondering if the owners rent those buoys, do they own them, what? Also, those sailboats that are not tied up to a dock, just being anchored off shore, does it cost anything to do that? Do people or some sort of business own the rights in these harbors or is it anchor at your own risk? I saw a couple tie off a large looking propane tank painted red with a number on it, with a large weight on a chain to hold it in place on the bottom of the harbor, then they tied their sailboat to it and used a smaller inflatable row boat to get back to shore. It all looked rather home made. Any restrictions to doing this kind of thing?
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Old 10-05-2013
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Re: sailboats tied to Buoys

I'm pretty new too, but I'll try to help. The buoys you're seeing are called moorings. Some are private, some are public. Some are free, some require a reservation, some require a fee on a monthly or seasonal basis. Some moorings are public and are owned by the town. Others are owned by individuals or marinas. Just like plenty of things in life, the answer is, "it depends." I don't know anything about the homemade variety and restrictions relating thereto.

Anchoring offshore does not cost anything (except good ground tackle [anchor, chain, rode]). There are some areas that are designated as no anchorage zones. Those should be noted on your chart. It sometimes has to do with undersea cables, fragile reefs, or things of that nature that could be damaged by anchors.
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Old 10-05-2013
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Re: sailboats tied to Buoys

justflie pretty much summed it up. Your local HarborMaster or Marine patrol would be able to give you the specific answer for your area. Each municipality makes there own.

Generally, you can assume the moorings are owned by a marina or town and available to rent for the season or for a short period (transient). Often, the rentals will have the name and/or phone number/channel to contact the marina. However, unless you know it is first come, first serve, you should call in advance. There are also many cruising guides that give details on which are which.

As far as setting your own mooring, that can be variable too, but typically restricted in some form. You may need to be a resident, you may need to pay a fee. You may not. You have to research.

If you set your own, it would be foolish not to use good tackle and inspect it annually. However, not all do. Keep that in mind when renting one as well.

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Re: sailboats tied to Buoys

Thank you justfile. While watching the couple dump their mooring overboard and then lower a weight to keep it there, another couple came into the harbor and just dropped an anchor, coved up their boat, dropped an inflatable raft in the water and went to shore. The harbor looked like a first come first served kind a place. I guess the place had to be somewhat trustworthy or perhaps all those people live near by. All in all, I think it will be a while before the Mrs. and I get to that point. Thanks again for the reply.
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