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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As many of us know, there have been significant issues involving anchoring in Florida and Georgia. A new group has been created, Cruisers Rights Network of North America, to deal with many of these issues. A full explanation can be found on the website, www.crnna.com, and here is the press release outlining who they are and what they are doing.
If you're concerned about your right to enjoy your boat without being hassled or harassed by officials from local or state governments, this is the group you want to belong to. Here's the facebook link - https://www.facebook.com/groups/savefloridasanchorages and here is the link for the website- https://www.crnna.com/
Seems the press release did not upload, so here it is here:
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April 14, 2020

Over the past several years, and despite the laudable efforts of the various US boating organizations, it has become obvious that there were certain challenges that were beyond their mandate. Those challenges included dealing with a variety of government entities at the local and state levels while these entities were attacking the rights of boaters to enjoy their pastime and lifestyle. 
In their defence, these organizations were never intended to deal with these issues in a confrontational manner. In some cases, their memberships have expressed disagreement with such endeavours, demanding that their organization not get involved.
Too often, despite some degree of success by these groups with lobbying against boating restrictions, cities and states have simply ignored the laws and trampled on the rights of boaters. As I have observed this pattern over the past dozen years since becoming involved in the Florida anchoring issues, it became more and more clear that a new approach was needed, one that was considerably more ‘hands on’ in dealing with the issues.
It is therefore with great pride and pleasure that I am announcing the formation of the Cruisers’ Rights Network of North America.
The Cruisers’ Rights Network of North America is deliberately mandated to take on the challenges that other organizations were not set up for. This will include negotiating with government entities at the state and local levels who are engaged in anti-boating practices, or who are actually violating the law with their behaviour.
Should negotiations fail, CRNNA will be prepared to take whatever next steps are deemed necessary, from petitions to social media pressure programs and all the way up to legal action if required to secure the rights of boaters and cruisers. In other words, we are an ‘enforcement arm’ on boating issues, something that has not existed previously.
CRNNA will also engage in outreach to community leaders to educate them on boaters, the boating and cruising lifestyle, the law, and best practices for dealing with problem situations. We are not denying that there are problems within our communities, but unlike other groups, we intend to directly address those issues and find solutions.
CRNNA will also be working to end the problems associated with derelict vessels, and laws and practices that simply don’t work in preventing the problems associated with them.
CRNNA has been designed to be an organization in which its members actively participate at all levels, rather than one that operates with a top down structure and minimal member input. Our policy is to be completely transparent in all of our work, so that membership is both aware of and involved in all of our activities to the greatest extent possible.
Cruisers’ Rights Network of North America is a not for profit corporation, and is awaiting its 501(c)(3) approval. The organization’s leadership is as follows:
President - Wally Moran; Vice President - Deanna Phillips; Treasurer - Chris Silverstein. 
More information is available at the CRNNA’s website, www.CRNNA.com. 
Should your readers wish to join the organization, or if they wish to discuss issues of concern in their area waters, they are invited to contact us at [email protected].

Sincerely,

Wally Moran
President
 

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As many of us know, there have been significant issues involving anchoring in Florida and Georgia. A new group has been created, Cruisers Rights Network of North America, to deal with many of these issues. A full explanation can be found on the website, www.crnna.com, and here is the press release outlining who they are and what they are doing.
If you're concerned about your right to enjoy your boat without being hassled or harassed by officials from local or state governments, this is the group you want to belong to. Here's the facebook link - https://www.facebook.com/groups/savefloridasanchorages and here is the link for the website- https://www.crnna.com/
Seems the press release did not upload, so here it is here:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
April 14, 2020

Over the past several years, and despite the laudable efforts of the various US boating organizations, it has become obvious that there were certain challenges that were beyond their mandate. Those challenges included dealing with a variety of government entities at the local and state levels while these entities were attacking the rights of boaters to enjoy their pastime and lifestyle. 
In their defence, these organizations were never intended to deal with these issues in a confrontational manner. In some cases, their memberships have expressed disagreement with such endeavours, demanding that their organization not get involved.
Too often, despite some degree of success by these groups with lobbying against boating restrictions, cities and states have simply ignored the laws and trampled on the rights of boaters. As I have observed this pattern over the past dozen years since becoming involved in the Florida anchoring issues, it became more and more clear that a new approach was needed, one that was considerably more ‘hands on’ in dealing with the issues.
It is therefore with great pride and pleasure that I am announcing the formation of the Cruisers’ Rights Network of North America.
The Cruisers’ Rights Network of North America is deliberately mandated to take on the challenges that other organizations were not set up for. This will include negotiating with government entities at the state and local levels who are engaged in anti-boating practices, or who are actually violating the law with their behaviour.
Should negotiations fail, CRNNA will be prepared to take whatever next steps are deemed necessary, from petitions to social media pressure programs and all the way up to legal action if required to secure the rights of boaters and cruisers. In other words, we are an ‘enforcement arm’ on boating issues, something that has not existed previously.
CRNNA will also engage in outreach to community leaders to educate them on boaters, the boating and cruising lifestyle, the law, and best practices for dealing with problem situations. We are not denying that there are problems within our communities, but unlike other groups, we intend to directly address those issues and find solutions.
CRNNA will also be working to end the problems associated with derelict vessels, and laws and practices that simply don’t work in preventing the problems associated with them.
CRNNA has been designed to be an organization in which its members actively participate at all levels, rather than one that operates with a top down structure and minimal member input. Our policy is to be completely transparent in all of our work, so that membership is both aware of and involved in all of our activities to the greatest extent possible.
Cruisers’ Rights Network of North America is a not for profit corporation, and is awaiting its 501(c)(3) approval. The organization’s leadership is as follows:
President - Wally Moran; Vice President - Deanna Phillips; Treasurer - Chris Silverstein. 
More information is available at the CRNNA’s website, www.CRNNA.com. 
Should your readers wish to join the organization, or if they wish to discuss issues of concern in their area waters, they are invited to contact us at [email protected].

Sincerely,

Wally Moran
President
Wally... 35 years ago I became concerned about the "use" of harbors in Long Island Sound. What I found was that the local jurisdiction... take Huntington, NY promulgated a set or rules, regulations and laws concerning the use of waters in harbors and bays adjacent to the water/land boundaries to the Town of Huntington.

On the face this the concept seems good if it is about life safety issues such as building codes and even perhaps zoning regulations. And some of these rules, regulations and laws (RRL) did just that..... such as limiting the speed of boats in the harbor and especially designated channels and construction standards for docks.

But what seems irrational and "unfair" is that use of the "land" under the waters was controlled by the town. So they decided who could have a seasonal mooring... who could use a town doc to store a boat over night. These became privileges granted to town residents. And of course for moorings many towns design the mooring grid, and collect fees for each seasonal mooring spot they "rent". They do not provide the actual tackle but DO have specifications for it. So there is wisdom is controlling the grid and the tackle. But what is the wisdom to prevent non residents from getting a mooring spot? What many towns seem to do is not preclude outsiders... but give local residents first shot and then open the grid to non residents. What this does it effective block those who don't live in the area from getting a mooring spot. These RRL grant commercial interests multiple spots on the grid. So you will have marinas and yacht clubs having large numbers of moorings only because they are "residents" of the town. And of course these commercial interests get the optimal locations. This is exactly what happens in Huntington, Northport (part of Huntington), Oyster Bay, Dering Harbor, Shelter Island, Stirling Harbor, Greenport, Sag Harbor and virtually every harbor/anchorage area in Long Island Sound. Then of course they designate the anchorage, if there is one, to a small area, always the most exposed, furthest from docks etc, with the worst bottoms. Some forbid anchoring and are only for moorings (e.g. Stirling Harbor)

The result is.... local residents who live in a town adjacent to the bay or harbor gain access to its use, while those who don't live adjacent are effectively blocked from use of these harbors and bays to keep their boats. Considering the number of people who live in the LIS area and NOT in a town adjacent to the few harbors... you have a system which is discriminatory.

Why not make these spots blind lotteries open to anyone who is a qualified boater and limited the number of "commercial" spots given? I don't know the way this can be done fairly. So in a lottery a local resident may get saw 2 lottery tickets increasing their chance of getting a space. Location choice is in the order drawn, but people can trade locations. Marinas and clubs get extra tickets but no guaranty that they will get any spots. They can they offer to by locations from the winner. Surely something better than what exists now can be developed which allows everyone equal access.

But I do know that the system that has been in place for 4 decades of more is unfair and discriminatory.
 

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There’s a more fundamental issue. When the constitution was written there was virtually no recreational boating. Still access to the rivers and seas meant a living for many. Harbors allowed national and international commerce. Holding rights that limited this source of income to others ensure great wealth. To that end our original documents placed limits on restricting access. Things like stating you owned land between high and low water marks. Or that you had rights to to charge fees if other transversed a body of water or made use of it.
This can be approached looking at a wider audience. For instance the legality of states charging a fee for salt water fishing. A town charging for the right to place a mooring, restrictions on access to the water on public lands.
Believe many of the restrictions current placed can be appealed on constitutional grounds. I’m not sufficiently versed in constitutional law to be able to quote chapter and verse. Would look forward to comments from someone grounded in maritime and constitutional law if this is worth pursuing.
 

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Would look forward to comments from someone grounded in maritime and constitutional law if this is worth pursuing.
When I ran afoul of the town of Essex Connecticut over my right to anchor in the Connecticut River within the town limits, my research led me to the fact that, as a river that ran through three states, the rules were much different than they would have been otherwise. Long story short, their 'city' regulated moorings were illegal and I could anchor wherever I damn well pleased, as long as I didn't interfere with traffic on the river.
From that, and a few other encounters I've had with local municipalities, is that their rules or laws regarding anchoring within their boundaries are mostly bluff and indeed, unconstitutional.
 
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When I ran afoul of the town of Essex Connecticut over my right to anchor in the Connecticut River within the town limits, my research led me to the fact that, as a river that ran through three states, the rules were much different than they would have been otherwise. Long story short, their 'city' regulated moorings were illegal and I could anchor wherever I damn well pleased, as long as I didn't interfere with traffic on the river.
From that, and a few other encounters I've had with local municipalities, is that their rules or laws regarding anchoring within their boundaries are mostly bluff and indeed, unconstitutional.
Well yea... but the town marine cops gives you a summons... drags you into court and some local judge tells you that you're guilty of violating RRL... go appeal it to the State Court or the US Supreme court.

A large organization like BoatUS needs to take this to the next level and not only fight the stupid hodgepodge of RRL but propose a sensible set of RRL that apply... should apply in all navigable waters in the USA. Until this happens the insanity and rip offs will continue.
 

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Well yea... but the town marine cops gives you a summons... drags you into court and some local judge tells you that you're guilty of violating RRL... go appeal it to the State Court or the US Supreme court.

A large organization like BoatUS needs to take this to the next level and not only fight the stupid hodgepodge of RRL but propose a sensible set of RRL that apply... should apply in all navigable waters in the USA. Until this happens the insanity and rip offs will continue.
Actually, the NAACP (edit, ACLU duh) got involved in the research, which gave me the power to go into a town hall meeting and basically request that they leave me alone or I would out their illegal moorings. We had an uneasy truce for the rest of the summer, and I wasn't hassled again.
Sad thing was that the town invited me there to operate a classic sailing boat (1906) for the Connecticut River Museum. When they found out my boat was 53', 3' longer than their rules allowed, I couldn't have the promised mooring, so I had to anchor out. Just another snobby NE village that thinks its special, which it was, before the outsiders moved in and ruined it.
 
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Actually, the NAACP got involved in the research, which gave me the power to go into a town hall meeting and basically request that they leave me alone or I would out their illegal moorings. We had an uneasy truce for the rest of the summer, and I wasn't hassled again.
Sad thing was that the town invited me there to operate a classic sailing boat (1906) for the Connecticut River Museum. When they found out my boat was 53', 3' longer than their rules allowed, I couldn't have the promised mooring, so I had to anchor out. Just another snobby NE village that thinks its special, which it was, before the outsiders moved in and ruined it.
why the NAACP?
 

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Not being a constitutional lawyer, the following is offered with all of the assurances that belong to advice found on the internet;

Under the Federal Trust doctrine, the Feds deferred to the states to hold under trust the land under water that ebbs and flows. Here in CT the state authorizes towns to manage harbors if they have a proper harbor plan. The harbor plan is vetted by the state (presumably to reign in overly aggressive rules—among other considerations) before it is then presented for approval by the town’s legislative body.

So, here in CT, we have a legislative foundation for harbor regulation, ostensibly to prevent anarchy in the harbors and provide for more equitable access to the water space. Prior to harbor management by the Town, we had a number folks dropping moorings where ever they felt like it and using junk for tackle. In my immediate area, it was predictable that in high winds somebody’s boat would drag through the mooring field. It was also a problem that some folks would put multiple moorings down and rent them out. Under harbor regulation, the Harbormaster determines where moorings can go in defined (read: in the ordinance) mooring areas, and can require certification of the suitability and integrity of mooring tackle. The Harbormaster also has to respect the waiting list for moorings that is posted by the Town. BTW, residency is not a requirement to get on the waiting list, nor is it the basis for priority.

Regarding mooring permit fees, this is how our harbor commission funds its work. That work includes marking fairways to facilitate passage through otherwise chaotic (prior to harbor management) mooring fields and anchorages. The harbor commission has also facilitated the process of removing derelict boats, which can involve court proceedings. As elsewhere, it is the bad apples that spur some of the regulations that are intended to protect the public interest.

So, when all is said and done, there are problems finding room to anchor in New England waters because of the conversion of open water to mooring fields (I.e., “parking lots”). A lot of that is due to the problem being created before there was local regulation.

So, there is a legitimate public service being provided by harbor regulation—as long as it is not overdone. Unfortunately, all of us can probable identify areas where the balance between moorings and anchoring access by the general public is out of whack. Nonetheless, I doubt the claim that regulation of harbors under state authority is unconstituional.
 

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Nonetheless, I doubt the claim that regulation of harbors under state authority is unconstituional.
Things change when that waterway crosses state lines. Would you want to deal with rules enacted by each municipality along the Mississippi, or would it be easier for traffic to have them all adhere to a single national regulatory system? That is where the "inland rules", which are federal, come in.
 

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... The Harbormaster also has to respect the waiting list for moorings that is posted by the Town. BTW, residency is not a requirement to get on the waiting list, nor is it the basis for priority.

...
But the sort of discrimination which I noted.... giving preference to, and in some cases prohibiting not residents from setting a mooring.... IS.

What about turning the "commons" into a "revenue property" for private commercial interests... such as Seymours have 200 moorings in NPT? Or the yacht clubs have 50 each? (numbers are guesses)
 

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Things change when that waterway crosses state lines. Would you want to deal with rules enacted by each municipality along the Mississippi, or would it be easier for traffic to have them all adhere to a single national regulatory system? That is where the "inland rules", which are federal, come in.
IMHO the Army Corps of Engineers has a say on any issue regarding navigability. For instance, a Town harbor commission is not able to dictate the boundaries of a federal channel, but it is possible to negotiate some matters of local interest with the ACE. My impression is that Essex could define an enforceable mooring field in consultation with the ACE, with the mooring field being a matter for State oversight in the formulation of the Essex harbor plan.

In any case, I couldn’t find this matter in the Constitution.
 

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But the sort of discrimination which I noted.... giving preference to, and in some cases prohibiting not residents from setting a mooring.... IS.

What about turning the "commons" into a "revenue property" for private commercial interests... such as Seymours have 200 moorings in NPT? Or the yacht clubs have 50 each? (numbers are guesses)
I’m sure there are differences across jurisdictions, but we don’t have the kind of discrimination in our harbor that you described.

Regarding “revenue property”, in our jurisdiction the precedent of commercial moorings operated by a marina, say, existed long before we had a harbor commission and an approved plan. Our plan allowed for some “grandfathering”—not only for commercial moorings, but also for private moorings that were not interfering with public waterway access. In one instance, where it was necessary to improve public waterway movement, our commission picked up the bill for moving moorings to new, acceptable mooring locations.
 

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I’m sure there are differences across jurisdictions, but we don’t have the kind of discrimination in our harbor that you described.

Regarding “revenue property”, in our jurisdiction the precedent of commercial moorings operated by a marina, say, existed long before we had a harbor commission and an approved plan. Our plan allowed for some “grandfathering”—not only for commercial moorings, but also for private moorings that were not interfering with public waterway access. In one instance, where it was necessary to improve public waterway movement, our commission picked up the bill for moving moorings to new, acceptable mooring locations.
OK goodie goodie. I notice you refer to YOUR harbor / OUR harbor. I've rented seasonal moorings over the years in Dering Harbor, Stirling Harbor, Sag Harbor, Northport Cow Harbor and I never referred to those as our harbor. I wasn't a resident of the local jurisdiction.

The US needs a uniform - federal not a local - town, city or state approach.

You failed to address why Joe's Marina can set 100 or more moorings and then set the rates to rent them... or the Happy Yacht club which sets 50 moorings for use by their members.... both of these use the commons for commercial and usually for profit purposes. This creates "exclusivity" and a class which excludes non members to that class or forces them to "pay the price" where there is no competition.

Can you explain the economics of a seasonal rental mooring at $1,800?
 

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OK goodie goodie. I notice you refer to YOUR harbor / OUR harbor. I've rented seasonal moorings over the years in Dering Harbor, Stirling Harbor, Sag Harbor, Northport Cow Harbor and I never referred to those as our harbor. I wasn't a resident of the local jurisdiction.

The US needs a uniform - federal not a local - town, city or state approach.

You failed to address why Joe's Marina can set 100 or more moorings and then set the rates to rent them... or the Happy Yacht club which sets 50 moorings for use by their members.... both of these use the commons for commercial and usually for profit purposes. This creates "exclusivity" and a class which excludes non members to that class or forces them to "pay the price" where there is no competition.

Can you explain the economics of a seasonal rental mooring at $1,800?
Having had a boat in OUR harbor since 1971 and observing the evolution of local harbor management as it replaced direct State control, I thought I might provide a perspective on at least one harbor where equitable access was “engineered” into the local ordinance, which only went into effect in 1995.

The policy of CT is that local control is better than that provided previously by the State. The notion of a uniform approach at the federal level defies logic, since the feds granted control to the states and, in our case, the State of CT, in turn, granted control to the locals who survived a State vetting process on the way to a formal Harbor Management ordinance.

The “commons” include dock space as well as moorings and anchorages. Virtually all of the boats on moorings are private, as are most of the boats in slips. Marinas provide slip space and some of the moorings in our harbor for a fee, as part of their business plan. They may also provide shore facilities as part of the package. In any case, the slips are approved by the State and the commercial moorings are subject to the same Town mooring fee as private moorings. I can’t justify the cost of either commercial slips or commercial moorings, but I do know that docks, moorings, and associated shore facilities, as well as mooring tackle and maintenance are not even close to free. I also know that many of the boats on commercial moorings and at commercial slips are often not locals, who would otherwise have no boating access.

FWIW, the commercial and yacht club moorings in our harbor were there before the harbor ordinance, when moorings were on a first come, first served basis. It’s hard to throw them out without throwing out all the “grandfathered” private moorings.
 

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Having had a boat in OUR harbor since 1971 and observing the evolution of local harbor management as it replaced direct State control, I thought I might provide a perspective on at least one harbor where equitable access was “engineered” into the local ordinance, which only went into effect in 1995.

The policy of CT is that local control is better than that provided previously by the State. The notion of a uniform approach at the federal level defies logic, since the feds granted control to the states and, in our case, the State of CT, in turn, granted control to the locals who survived a State vetting process on the way to a formal Harbor Management ordinance.

The “commons” include dock space as well as moorings and anchorages. Virtually all of the boats on moorings are private, as are most of the boats in slips. Marinas provide slip space and some of the moorings in our harbor for a fee, as part of their business plan. They may also provide shore facilities as part of the package. In any case, the slips are approved by the State and the commercial moorings are subject to the same Town mooring fee as private moorings. I can’t justify the cost of either commercial slips or commercial moorings, but I do know that docks, moorings, and associated shore facilities, as well as mooring tackle and maintenance are not even close to free. I also know that many of the boats on commercial moorings and at commercial slips are often not locals, who would otherwise have no boating access.

FWIW, the commercial and yacht club moorings in our harbor were there before the harbor ordinance, when moorings were on a first come, first served basis. It’s hard to throw them out without throwing out all the “grandfathered” private moorings.
I am aware of how the hodge podge of current RRLs and practices are justified by some for "states" rights and riparian rights which goes back centuries in English law.

Bottom line is that these practices are "discriminatory" and give preferences to "locals" or as you note... grandfathering possession on first come first serve basis.

What I have tried to point out is that regardless of how things are they can and should change to a more equitable system... Just because all the privileged are "fine" with the system and claim it's been working well (for them) is not a valid reason to change it. As an analogy, I refer you to that slavery was cool with the plantation owners in the deep south and took a civil war to change that. You'll notice that the case law is a recent as the late 50's.

"It is perhaps ironic that the law that determines the public right to the water depends on commercial possibilities but that pleasure use is then treated as equivalent in rights to use.

A state may not restrict or charge for the use of the waters of navigable streams or lakes and an attempt on its part to do so is a deprivation of the citizen of his property. Williams v. McSwain, 248 N.C. 13 (N.C. 1958)

All persons have a right to use the navigable waters of a state so long as they do not interfere with other citizens’ use. However, the right to use navigable waters is subject to regulation by a state under its police power. Witke v. State Conservation Com., 244 Iowa 261 (Iowa 1953).

But note that the general public has no rights to the recreational use of a private lake, such rights being exclusive in the owner of the bed. Baker v. Normanoch Asso., 25 N.J. 407 (N.J. 1957)"

The "rules of the road" are federal law not state law and they, and the matter of anchoring should be no different and be federal law rather than state law.
 

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I'm a bit confused. Not surprising but it seems as though the terms anchoring and mooring are being used interchangeably in this thread. It seems obvious to me that you could be prohibited from anchoring in a dedicated mooring field. What am I missing? Are the various municipalities taking all of the available anchorages and making them dedicated mooring fields? That for me is what differentiates the Georgia law. It is aimed at anchoring rights not the rights of the state or municipalities to have dedicated mooring fields.
 

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So you bop around state to state, harbor to harbor. You also anchor frequently along the coast where ever it’s shallow enough and protected enough even when it’s outside a designated harbor. You’re a US citizen but rarely a local resident. The above suggests the waters under discussion are “owned” by the federal government and that means all of us. Yes the feds allowed the states to control those waters but ownership is still by all US citizens. Often you come into a harbor and some moorings are owned by private individuals, some by the town, some by private entities (yacht clubs, marinas, sailing clubs etc.) but the water is still owned by all of us.
In many places in the Caribbean you can drop an anchor in the middle of a mooring field. As long as you don’t use a mooring you don’t pay anything. Other places regardless if you use a mooring or anchor you pay a fee. Seems to me anyone (town, private entity) who drops a mooring should pay a fee to all of us i.e. federal government. They are taking a place to anchor or moor out of circulation to all of us. Fees for maintenance of that mooring should go to whoever does the work. At a federal level specifications for mooring should be applied. Ideally screws not blocks or whatever disturbs the bottom and ecosystem to the least degree. Upon leaving each mooring user should inform the local harbormaster of their plans. Upon arrival any open mooring that will be open for a sufficient allotted time be open to all comers. Fee paid to harbormaster to support that activity. No moorings be allowed that would impede traffic, harm the ecosystem or decrease the common good. Just like current anchoring rules.
It’s frustrating to come into a new harbor and have no place to anchor nor pennant to pick up even when not occupied. Often it’s unsafe as you came into land because weather is coming or your exhausted. Similarly when planning a cruise you can’t predict what you’re going to run into. Many of us either due to economics or aesthetics want to avoid marinas and slips at all times. So we head off without fixed reservations.
There’s plenty of space. It’s just used so poorly. The moorings are there but all too often not occupied. It such a mishmash that even with Internet cruising apps the highest stress part of cruising is berthing the boat not the actual sailing.
Just like the entrance to parking lots would like to see an app that told you when there’s no more room in an anchorage/harbor. Would like harbormasters enforcing rules about amount of swing. Sure that will vary on what the bottom is and conditions. Every time I’ve gone into Block with it’s chewed up loose mud bottom I’ve watched boats drag and play bumper cars. We use 5:1 given it’s crowded but want to be safe. We try to watch what people are laying out. Often surround the front and sides of our boat with fenders before going to sleep. Don’t want the aggro involved in interacting with ignorant arrogant people. You could fit in way more boats if a grid system and anchoring rules where applied. In the Caribbean this is done informally. Just about every time someone comes in the cruisers watch. If insufficient swing or rode is laid down it’s real common for folks to suggest another plan. It’s seems to be done with curtesy and concern even though it’s often charters anchoring and cruisers being concerned. You end up with boats in neatly defined rows and columns seemingly spontaneously. Even in huge harbors like le Marin/ St.Annes or St Bart’s where there’s hundreds and hundreds of boats. Here in the states unfortunately that’s not the case. Would suggest the harbormasters be required to take that roll and be scored on how well they actually do it.
Rant over
 

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Out,
This last post was excellent. Thank you!

There are so many variables to deal with yet what is desired is a location to secure your vessel over night.

in Southern NE there are 10s of thousands of boats on seasonal moorings. The cost to rent them for season from my own experience ranges from about $800 to $2,000. But the cost to set and maintain is really a fraction of that. Moorings can be re used year after year with minimal maintenance.

Moorings are a profit making business.

Sag Harbor awards a location but the boater rents from a for profit commercial provider. Or you can set your own mooring... This option is hardly possible for 99.9% of boaters.

Then you have the issue of getting to and from land to a moored (or anchored) boat.

If you have a dink you need a spot to land the dink ashore. Some towns have provided a town dock... occasionally you find a public beach which will usually have a law preventing landing or keeping a dink there. However the case in all Southern NE harbors is that there is woefully inadequate places for a moored boats dink. So a person who has a seasonal mooring has effectively no way to get to his boat... unless he brings an inflatable or some version of dink which he stores are home. Some towns provide dinghy racks... which is a inadequate solution for those who need an OB as their moored boat is often a mile or more away. No motor storage is provided so that must be taken to and from the shore in a car. This makes larger than a few HP motors impractical.

The solution offered is to used a commercial water taxi or launch. The seasonal cost of this service in Northport is $1,500. The down side is that its hours of operation are limited and it's like a jiitney and stops at half a dozen or more boats.... AND you have to wait for it like a bus. A trip to shore could end up taking a hour instead of 5 minutes.

Why does this exist? Because there is high demand and people have decided to extract profit from the demand and there are few to no options... and all involve paying such as a yacht club membership.

Newport has a number of dinghy landings for transient use in their harbor, a pay as you go water taxi / launch. But they are charging for dinghy tie ups at some it seems. Newport has both commercial moorings and an anchorage.

Huntington and Stirling Harbor, Greenport has no anchoring because the harbor is entirely full of private moorings.

Anchoring, when permitted, is always the furthest from the landing and in the deepest water such as Dering Harbor, Shelter Island.

I am well aware that mooring tackle costs money. Most of the tackle is usable for multiple years. I am aware the building a mooring takes some time as does loading on a barge and setting it. Clearly there are costs in setting moorings. But those costs are spread out over a number of years and I suspect it's profitable or no one would be doing it.

The cost of moorings is only one of the things "wrong" with recreational boating... or something that could be priced more reasonably. You can bet no yacht club is paying someone $2,000 per mooring each year. There are ways to deal with this... if there is a will.

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Not every town has or can afford to have a harbor master and especially one on duty all the time. (Newport has them.. multiple harbor masters). Northport has a "water cop" who does little but occasional enforcement of speeding... and assistants handle lines on the town pier.

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All of these matters are supply-demand related. There are perhaps too many boats and too few "facilities" and places to anchor, moor and so on. The solutions are market driven and with those solutions comes inequity in all forms.
 

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So you bop around state to state, harbor to harbor. You also anchor frequently along the coast where ever it’s shallow enough and protected enough even when it’s outside a designated harbor. You’re a US citizen but rarely a local resident. The above suggests the waters under discussion are “owned” by the federal government and that means all of us. Yes the feds allowed the states to control those waters but ownership is still by all US citizens. Often you come into a harbor and some moorings are owned by private individuals, some by the town, some by private entities (yacht clubs, marinas, sailing clubs etc.) but the water is still owned by all of us.
In many places in the Caribbean you can drop an anchor in the middle of a mooring field. As long as you don’t use a mooring you don’t pay anything. Other places regardless if you use a mooring or anchor you pay a fee. Seems to me anyone (town, private entity) who drops a mooring should pay a fee to all of us i.e. federal government. They are taking a place to anchor or moor out of circulation to all of us. Fees for maintenance of that mooring should go to whoever does the work. At a federal level specifications for mooring should be applied. Ideally screws not blocks or whatever disturbs the bottom and ecosystem to the least degree. Upon leaving each mooring user should inform the local harbormaster of their plans. Upon arrival any open mooring that will be open for a sufficient allotted time be open to all comers. Fee paid to harbormaster to support that activity. No moorings be allowed that would impede traffic, harm the ecosystem or decrease the common good. Just like current anchoring rules.
It’s frustrating to come into a new harbor and have no place to anchor nor pennant to pick up even when not occupied. Often it’s unsafe as you came into land because weather is coming or your exhausted. Similarly when planning a cruise you can’t predict what you’re going to run into. Many of us either due to economics or aesthetics want to avoid marinas and slips at all times. So we head off without fixed reservations.
There’s plenty of space. It’s just used so poorly. The moorings are there but all too often not occupied. It such a mishmash that even with Internet cruising apps the highest stress part of cruising is berthing the boat not the actual sailing.
Just like the entrance to parking lots would like to see an app that told you when there’s no more room in an anchorage/harbor. Would like harbormasters enforcing rules about amount of swing. Sure that will vary on what the bottom is and conditions. Every time I’ve gone into Block with it’s chewed up loose mud bottom I’ve watched boats drag and play bumper cars. We use 5:1 given it’s crowded but want to be safe. We try to watch what people are laying out. Often surround the front and sides of our boat with fenders before going to sleep. Don’t want the aggro involved in interacting with ignorant arrogant people. You could fit in way more boats if a grid system and anchoring rules where applied. In the Caribbean this is done informally. Just about every time someone comes in the cruisers watch. If insufficient swing or rode is laid down it’s real common for folks to suggest another plan. It’s seems to be done with curtesy and concern even though it’s often charters anchoring and cruisers being concerned. You end up with boats in neatly defined rows and columns seemingly spontaneously. Even in huge harbors like le Marin/ St.Annes or St Bart’s where there’s hundreds and hundreds of boats. Here in the states unfortunately that’s not the case. Would suggest the harbormasters be required to take that roll and be scored on how well they actually do it.
Rant over

It’s one of the reasons I love our normal cruising grounds. There are virtually no moorings anywhere. Because of that harbor anchorages ( except Annapolis) are generally wide open to first come first served. When you travel there are so many places protected to anchor on creeks and bays that no one gets to have the advantage protected spots.

We noticed when we traveled to the LI Sound or NEngland that all the best anchorage areas are taken up by mooring fields. You can still anchor outside most of them, but you are exposed usually. Northport one of my favorite towns has thousands it seems of moorings. Quite a number commercially owned by Seymours, many private ones someone is charging money for.
2 miles away you can possibly anchor. Stonington....same deal...if you don’t take a Dotson mooring You are in the outer harbor subject to weather and surge. Many towns are set up like this. For a travel or like Outbound said looking for refuge which wasn’t well planned, it can suck. Plenty of open moorings not being used which you can not Anchor around. Mystic / Noank is similar.

So is the harbor owned by the city, the state, or are they under federal control. I thought the waters are all under federal jurisdiction. The state cannot make executive orders to prevent others from using is was schooled on here to believe is the policy. Yes city’s and municipalities can “reserve” and limit usage by only accepting moorings they control and can prevent you from anchoring.

Here where I live and do the majority sailing, you find a spot, not in a channel or thoroughfare that traffic uses and all you have to worry is that you have proper swing room. No one can out and say you can’t anchor there.

I wrote of an issue which some of us had where a wealthy landowner got pissed that people were anchoring off the banks in a creek in front of his “manor”. He had a dock with 5 slips. So whT he did is he installed 2 mooring balls in front of his property and shooed everyone away who either used them or anchored close by. He NEVER kept a boat on them. A bunch of us noticed this behavior and decided we would anchor for lunch at different times next to the mooring balls. He’d come out yelling from the bank or in his skiff telling us to leave. We started taking pictures. Finally one of my friends refused to leave to which he called the marine police (DNR). The 3xplainec to my friend that he had to respect the moorings. My friend then presented a picture file on his phone showing the house and mooring ball owner never used the mooring balls. That he put them in place to lay claim to the public waters. The DNR changed its mind. The landowner sued. A number of us testified and the judge order the moorings removed. In Maryland there are no rules in who can screw a mooring into the bottom.
 
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