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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I plan to keep my new 30' sailboat on a mooring on the West River of the Chesapeake Bay.
Somewhat of a three pronged question:
I have a quote of $1500-2000 to have a mushroom mooring professionally installed.
I would ideally like to save some $ and have the mooring installed myself. I have access to a floating dock and a whaler to assist.
The depths I am looking at will be around 6-8ft with a mud bottom.
Is it recommended that I go with a mushroom anchor of 250-300lbs (about $400 for mushroom anchor, plus another $400ish for chain, ball, line etc.) or construct my own concrete block with a I Bolt?
Any good recommendations for do it yourselfers or those that have had horrible experience trying to get hundreds of pounds of deadweight down to the bottom of the bay?
Thanks!!!
 

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I just wrote three paragraphs about my experience of setting a mooring in Galesville, but Sailnet lost all of it. Instead of typing it all again, why not just PM me with your phone number. I'll tell you how I did it myself for far less than $800 and, if the weather is fair, will assist you with the task.
 

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Most people around here will use a lock-block. It's a concrete retaining wall block that cost's about $100 and weighs about 4500 lbs. They come in full and half blocks.
You will have to have a hole cored through it for a chain or cable to pass through. Placing it can be an issue but if you hire a small tug he can drag it into the water and place it for you.
You will never have to worry about it dragging on you.
 

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our club uses nothing but morings, have for 50 years now. We use half a 45 gallon drum filled with concrete and a steel hoop embeded into the crete works well in a fairly protected area. Once it settles in the mud they don't drag, and very difficult to pull up for inspection, we use a small deck with drums under for flotation, a steel a frame with block and tackle 3/4 drum would give more weight. Very cost efective
 

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Before mixing up or getting concrete, check with your harbormaster (or other authority) to make sure it is OK to use. Our harbormaster would not permit such a setup. It creates rock-hard shallow spots for people to hit, and the impromptu or inappropriate for the job shapes often tend to drag.
 

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Before mixing up or getting concrete, check with your harbormaster (or other authority) to make sure it is OK to use. Our harbormaster would not permit such a setup. It creates rock-hard shallow spots for people to hit, and the impromptu or inappropriate for the job shapes often tend to drag.
Yes, absolutely, check with your harbour master before putting anything in the water.
As far as dragging a 4500lb concrete block with a 30 foot boat, I don't think that will be a concern. There are 40-50 foot boats that use this set up with no problems at all.
 

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Yes, absolutely, check with your harbour master before putting anything in the water.
As far as dragging a 4500lb concrete block with a 30 foot boat, I don't think that will be a concern. There are 40-50 foot boats that use this set up with no problems at all.
Except it won't weight anywhere close to 4500 pounds under water and this is why many municipalities have made them non-approved... If you were using concrete for a 30' boat in Rockport, MA, a town with well thought out guidelines, the dry weight of the mooring would need to be almost 5500 pounds for a 30' boat.... In a protected anchorage a 4500 pound dry weight mooring should do fine but this needs to be weighed against many factors such as exposure, propensity to Nor' Easters or Hurricanes etc...

Any dead weight mooring is best to be long, low and flat so it can "work in" to the bottom and create "suction" to the bottom to add to the performance of its "dead weight".. Ideally after a few years it would be flush with the surface of the bottom.

This is what a typical dead-weight Maine granite mooring looks like, low and flat..


A mushroom should only be used on a soft mud bottom as they are designed to "screw into" the substrate as the vessel works around it. Once set the bell will be 3-4' below the bottom standing nearly vertical.. In the Chess they usually work very well.

Below are some suggested weights for deadweight moorings. The guidelines below are from Rockport, MA, one town that has studied this stuff rather extensively. They have come up with their own mooring standards after losing boats in storms..

Rockport said:
Deadweight Anchors:
Deadweight anchors are commonly used in New England. They are usually blocks of granite which hold vessels in place because they are too heavy to be dragged or lifted by the vessel.

The holding power of the deadweight anchor is derived solely from it's weight and not by its design. When a deadweight is pulled out of its current resting place, it may settle somewhere else, because its weight provides constant resistance.

Blocks become embedded in the harbor bottoms over the years, providing a degree of suction resistance in bottom material which has strong cohesive properties. Thus, a deadweight anchor is not likely to break free from its set. (An anchor is "set" when it becomes buried in the harbor bottom over time.)

It is recommended that the weights indicated be submerged weight of the deadweight anchor. Use the following table to calculate required weight of material submerged. Consult with the Harbormaster before purchasing gear.

Minimum deadweight mooring weight:

Vessel length:
10 - 17 1000 lbs.
18 - 26 1500 lbs.
27 - 35 3000 lbs.
36 - 45 4000 lbs.
45 - 55 5000 lbs.

Submerged Weight Calculations

Concrete = required weight /.55 (example 1000 lbs./.55 = 1818 lbs.)
Granite = required weight /.64
Example 20' Boat:

For a 20 footer using cement you need roughly a 2730 pound dry weight mooring to attain a 1500 pound submerged weight.

Deadweight moorings are easily dragged if not the proper shape or weight and thus require significantly more weight than would a mooring that "sets".

Moorings that set, should be "set" in a settable bottom. The proper orientation for a mushroom is totally buried standing vertically. The entire bell must be able to sink into the bottom and disappear other wise it is basically a deadweight mooring, and dead weight mooring weights should be used not mushroom mooring weights. This is where many municipalities who don't study storm damage, and asses what happened, can get into trouble.

Any mooring should be set for the bottom conditions in your area.

Here is one of the most common and accepted mooring diagrams out there. Image courtesy of Hamilton Marine.


We know what the town or Rockport, MA recommends for deadweight moorings and that is about 3000 pounds (submerged) for a 30 footer..

Scituate, MA requires even more min weight than Rockport at 2000 pounds for a 20 footer and for this harbor the only approved mooring is a granite block, because the bottom is not suitable for setting type moorings. No cement or "home made" moorings allowed unless specifically approved by the harbor master.

The quote below comes directly from Inamar Insurance, one of the largest insurers of pleasure vessels. They know the claims and the failures and why..

INAMAR Insurance Co. said:
In water, concrete loses almost one-half its weight; granite loses almost one-third, and iron loses only an eighth. This is significant. If a mooring is designed to withstand a 4,000-lb. pull, one needs 8,000 lbs. of concrete, 6,000 lbs. of granite, or 4,500 lbs. of iron. At a minimum, over one ton is needed for even a small, 25' yacht.

To handle weights of this magnitude, a barge crane is needed. As long as this equipment is used to place the anchor, one might as well err on the side of excessive weight when placing it.
Ultimately a helix style mooring would be best but you would need a professional installer, and this gets expensive.

Here in Falmouth, ME where there are more than 1200 boats in the anchorage we have very, very strict rules as to how moorings will be installed, serviced etc... Start with the town first and if they don't have any advice go with the advice of a town like Scituate, MA, Rockport, MA etc.

This is but a sampling of our towns rules:

Falmouth said:
"All new or replaced permanent moorings shall comply with the following minimum specifications:

*Each permanent mooring shall consist of a mushroom, granite block or helix, a minimum one-half-inch heavy steel bottom chain attached to a minimum one-half-inch top chain (a single chain is acceptable), mooring buoy and a pennant: polypropelene use is not acceptable. Each mooring must have one (1) top and swivel; all swivels and shackles must be to the appropriate size diameter.

*All mooring blocks shall be constructed of solid granite with steel staples or eyebolt extending completely through the block. Cement blocks, old engines and other miscellaneous weighted objects are unacceptable as mooring anchors in the harbor.

Recommended mooring guidelines:
TABLE INSET:

Under 15' power/sail 150 lb mushroom
15'--19' power/sail 200 lb mushroom
20'--27' power/sail 250 lb mushroom
28'--30' power/sail 300 lb mushroom
31'--33' power/sail 400 lb mushroom
34'--38' power/sail 500 lb mushroom
39'--45' power/sail 600 lb mushroom
46'--50' power/sail 1000 lb mushroom
51'--56' power/sail 1200 lb mushroom
56'--65' power/sail 1600 lb mushroom

*Winter spars must be used to mark moorings and such spars shall be connected to their moorings with non-floating rope (no wire cable permitted). Winter spars may not be set before September 1 and must be installed by December 31 and removed by June 1 each year. By January 1 all moorings shall have mooring balls exchanged for a winter spar. Winter spars remaining in the water after June 1 shall have their mooring removed by the harbormaster at the expense of the owner and be subject to a fine as specified in the town harbor fee schedule as adopted by the town council and in accordance with subsection 9-105(c) of this article.

*Moorings must be inspected every two (2) years by a qualified mooring inspector. A list of qualified mooring inspectors may be obtained by contacting the harbormaster. The harbormaster has the authority to require any necessary maintenance or replacement of parts or the whole mooring, tackle and/or gear. Inspection forms shall be complete and legible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks all for the replies! Anyone have any experience or reviews regarding the DOR MOR Pyramid Anchors? I figure the 200lb would be sufficient. Looks like West Marine is not selling the Mushroom anchors, and ordering online from another distributer would cost $$$ for shipping.
 

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Boat US just published a whole study of moorings, quite critical of concrete and not so keen on mushrooms either. It is based on their insurance claims. Unfortunately, I don't have the cite.
 

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Except it won't weight anywhere close to 4500 pounds under water and this is why many municipalities have made them non-approved... If you were using concrete for a 30' boat in Rockport, MA, a town with well thought out guidelines, the dry weight of the mooring would need to be almost 5500 pounds for a 30' boat.... In a protected anchorage a 4500 pound dry weight mooring should do fine but this needs to be weighed against many factors such as exposure, propensity to Nor' Easters or Hurricanes etc...
No, it won't weight 4500lbs submerged it would weigh about 2800lbs.
More than enough for our conditions here as we don't get hurricanes and the harbour I had in mind is well protected against any weather. That is why I recommended that he consult his local harbour authority with regards to his mooring and the placement of it as well.
Personally, I would never trust any mooring as you have no idea what's going on down below. We have lots of local boats that wash ashore around Vancouver Island after we have had a good blow, and we can experience 20 foot tides at the worst time of year as far as the weather goes.
If you are not around to monitor your mooring and your pride and joy, then I feel mooring your boat is really quite negligent, as most boats on moorings probably don't have insurance either.
I would also like to add that that is some very good info on moorings, thank you for Maine Sail. I wish more people would pay attention to this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Boat US just published a whole study of moorings, quite critical of concrete and not so keen on mushrooms either. It is based on their insurance claims. Unfortunately, I don't have the cite.
It's a nice article. If you google it, the article will come up. Thanks!
 

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I have set 3 moorings on the James R., lower Chesapeake, in shallow water --actually the same equipment in 3 separate locations-- that consisted of three 40 lb Danforths roughly 120* apart and joined at the center with 1/2" chain. Swivel at that point and then chain up to buoy at the surface. This was for a 35' catamaran.

This made it relatively easy to raise for inspection. Muddy water made inspection under water difficult. I could set the mooring by myself, but a helper made it easier.

The anchors were not that expensive, and they don't need to be left in place when the mooring is no longer useful.
 

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s/v Tiger Lily
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The most appropriate for this area is a mushroom. It digs deep into the local muddy bottom...250-300 lbs mushroom should be sufficient on the West River.
 

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First: NO to concrete-cement ideas unless you use a LOT of weight, in the several thousand pound range. I thought this was a good idea. I made a 600 pound or so anchor and set it in a protected cove in the Severn. I dove on it a week later and all I could find was a chain going into the mud. I figured it would never move. It didn't until hurricane Fran and the boat dragged the mooring 90% of the way to the beach :eek: About one more yard and I would have been aground. I was quite surprised how easy it was to drag it back too. We added a 100 pound danforth chained to the cement and it never moved again. This worked because of the terrain wind could only come from one direction and that is the direction we set the danforth for :cool:

My current mooring is a 250 pound mushroom in 10 feet of water with 30 feet of 5/8" (or 3/4", can't recall right now) chain. This has been working quite well and has not dragged one inch. Bacon's in Annapolis has mushrooms, chain, swivels, mooring balls, mooring penants, and any other thing you would need to make a mooring. Not sure what facilities you have to handle the anchor, but we used our club crain to load it into my dinghy and then used the boom to lift it out of the dinghy. I used light nylon line from the mushroom to the boom. We lifted it about a foot, moved the dinghy out from under, and cut the nylon.

WARNING Make sure the chain and bouy are attached :rolleyes: and make double sure the chain isn't wrapped around your leg :eek: before you let her rip!

EDIT
Nothing wrong with the DorMoor anchors except you have to drive a long way to get one and mushrooms are local in Annapolis. Also buy a bigger mooring bouy than you think you need. Mine is "just right" according to the rating and it floats lower than I would like. I tried to buy an anchor for a ship from the repair yard in Baltimore, but they said the sizes I would use sell fast to tug operators and they had none.
 

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Personally, I would never trust any mooring as you have no idea what's going on down below. We have lots of local boats that wash ashore around Vancouver Island after we have had a good blow, and we can experience 20 foot tides at the worst time of year as far as the weather goes.
If you are not around to monitor your mooring and your pride and joy, then I feel mooring your boat is really quite negligent, as most boats on moorings probably don't have insurance either.
Wow, that's a little harsh. I guess it depends upon the area. Around here, the towns control most of the mooring fields and there are strict rules for mooring gear. In order to place my mooring I have to first apply for and then receive a permit from the town. Next the mooring gear must be appropriately sized for the boat, inspected by an approved installer, placed in a certain area, and then must be hauled out at the end of the season.

Each harbor has a harbormaster who is responsible for making sure the right boat is on the right mooring, the boat is properly tied to the mooring, etc. The first year I had a boat (and knew very little about boating) I went to my boat on the mooring and found a note from the harbormaster informing me that I needed chafe protection on the mooring pendants.

There are literally thousands of moorings around here and I KNOW that most of the boats have insurance. There are way more boats than there are slips, so moorings are only way to accommodate that many vessels in a relatively small area.

Lastly, I like having my boat on a mooring because I frequently sail single handed and it's very easy to get off (and back on) the mooring.

Barry
 

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s/v Tiger Lily
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Bacon's in Annapolis has mushrooms, chain, swivels, mooring balls, mooring penants, and any other thing you would need to make a mooring.
In the Annapolis/Severn River area, Bacons Sails will also arrange to deliver and drop your tackle in place for about $200 (does not include hardware). Ask for Steve.
 

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Wow, that's a little harsh. I guess it depends upon the area. Around here, the towns control most of the mooring fields and there are strict rules for mooring gear. In order to place my mooring I have to first apply for and then receive a permit from the town. Next the mooring gear must be appropriately sized for the boat, inspected by an approved installer, placed in a certain area, and then must be hauled out at the end of the season.

Each harbor has a harbormaster who is responsible for making sure the right boat is on the right mooring, the boat is properly tied to the mooring, etc. The first year I had a boat (and knew very little about boating) I went to my boat on the mooring and found a note from the harbormaster informing me that I needed chafe protection on the mooring pendants.

There are literally thousands of moorings around here and I KNOW that most of the boats have insurance. There are way more boats than there are slips, so moorings are only way to accommodate that many vessels in a relatively small area.

Lastly, I like having my boat on a mooring because I frequently sail single handed and it's very easy to get off (and back on) the mooring.

Barry
Ditto..

I know EXACTLY what is going on with my moorings as they are inspected yearly and re-chained (top chain) ever 4-5 years. My bottom chain is HUGE USCG/Navy chain. You could not pay me to be on a dock or on the hard in a hurricane. My storm mooring is specifically sized for hurricanes and would rip the bow of my boat apart before it moved......

Our harbor master has a specifications sheet for every mooring in the anchorage including type, weight, chain length, chain size and when any or all of this was last replaced. In the NE we are perhaps 80% moorings and in Maine that number likely pushes 90%.....
 

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s/v Tiger Lily
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In this area (Annapolis/MD shore of the Chesapeake) there is a certain, disconcerting lack of regulations, standards, or order to the placement or upkeep of moorings. Provided you are not blocking a channel or someone's access, you can pretty much drop them anywhere you want. They aren't registered. There are no regulations on upkeep. So, unless the mooring is yours or one of the municipal moorings for the city, you have no idea how old it is or what is below the surface. It really surprised me when I moved here - particularly with the level of seamanship found in this region.
 

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OTOH in the Chesapeake in most places anyone can put a mooring down made out of anything. This is not a problem 95% of the time, but there are a few well known "floating junkyards" where dubious boats are on dubious moorings and sometimes get loose or sink on their moorings.

We have a project at my club to get rid of a few old moorings that no one can recall who owns them or what they are made of. No one trusts them and they take up space. I actually wish we did have a mooring registry. When someone abandons a mooring, or at least it looks like it, now no one can use it because it isn't yours to start with AND you have no idea what condition it is in and you may have no idea - actually 99% chance you have no idea - how to find the owner to find out. My mooring buoy has my phone number on it. So far no one has called, but I would let anyone borrow it if I wasn't headed that way.
 
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