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