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bell ringer
4,817 Posts
Maybe the problem is that what boaters like to refer to as their “rights” aren't at all. There are rules and laws that either do or don't allow them to do things.

5,104 Posts
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.
The demand is lower and the space greater and it's a different marine environment I suppose.

You can't have NO RRL but you need a federal system which is sensible and fare.

What might some of the features be?

All anchorages including mooring fields are shown on published charts. The areas should have buoys marking their boundaries.

Seasonal moorings are installed on a grid produced by the Harbor master or USCG for example. Rental of a grid location is done by lottery drawing at a published date

Approved mooring tackle may be used. This is based on the size of the boat and prescribed in the mooring rental agreement.

All moorings are set by an approved sub contractor and costs are set by the town. All moorings are removed at date set by the local authority.

Approved to spec mooring tackle may be supplied by the owner or rented from the installer.

Harbors must designate not less than 1/3 of the anchorage area for anchoring and no more and 2/3 of the area for seasonal moorings.

20% of the mooring grid must be set aside for transient use. Fees for transient use shall be uniform in the US. Transient moorings are paid for in 12 hr periods... 6am - 6pm and 6am to 6am. Transient Mooring Reservations and fees are made thru the harbormaster or a designated representative.

Yacht and boating clubs use the lottery based on the number of members.

Unoccupied moorings can be used by anyone. If the seasonal renter returns, the have the right to demand the use of the mooring and the squatter must leave.

Information of the grid and mooring availability will be posted to a wiki map for each harbor. Boats which have a seasonal rental shall display a sticker showing the grid number, and location.

Something like the above would perhaps make things simpler and more equitable... lottery is blind to race, location of the ticket holder, boat size and type... and set uniform pricing and remove the predatory profit from use of the harbor.

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