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Old 04-12-2017, 17:57   #1
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Impromptu mooring buoy creation

Okidokie,

So summer is a long ways away and sitting on the wait list for a slip is like watching molasses run uphill around here. I've been doing the 14 day move around thing from public dock to public dock, even found some gems where I don't have to but have to put up with some rather interesting liveaboards who are away from society for reasons apparent soon after getting to know them.

I want to drop a mooring buoy. During summer it's not very stormy here and there are protected coves, I know of a few that are good anchoring. I just got a new hardbottom dinghy after my last one blew off in a storm force wind which makes a PRIV mooring buoy a lot more accessible.

I know I have read about colossal mushroom anchors and concrete blocks and oodles of 4" chain but quite honestly I don't have the budget for that, I'll save that for the marina that finally says "We have a spot".

I have to deploy this sh*t from my 27 foot sailboat so lets just rule concrete blocks right out of it. I can hoist some pretty heavy stuff off my mast but a concrete block or concrete filled barrel isn't going to be one of them.

I do have a ton of line and a smaller Danforth I use as a stern anchor. No, I'm not completely crazy I know that won't do by itself at all but I do have a lemon of a motor that is taking up space in my cockpit that I've been using as ballast; hasn't been used in years, 2 stroke 8HP and it's way heavier than my 11HP two stroke that is even older, takes two of us just to lift it. I could try and garner some other gidgets.

Depth would be about 35-40ft at zero chart datum and maybe near 100ft at top end in a king tide.

Navel gazing, I'm thinking I might be able to drop the motor and the danforth off a winch nice and slow, keep the motor off the sea floor until the danforth grabs (its great holding here), then test it's holding and then let the motor down to the sea floor with the prop going into the muck first, let out the line and tie off the buoy marked PRIV with a warning that this is not a rig that should be used for heavy loads.

The thought process is that even with a 2kn current either direction, the motor would have to drag first, and this would eventually reset the anchor not far from where it was originally dropped because it would keep it's rode and weights flat against the sea bed. It would have to really be blowing and choppy to lift this 150 lb motor off the sea bed, and given the protection of this place it wouldn't really get much worse than maybe a bit of bouncy waves that would likely get abosorbed by the rode. Land on one side, reef on two other side, and a bluff on the other side. It's not a lake but I think it might work.

In a major blow or storm I could go and move the boat to a full on dock for the duration instead of trusting my contraption.

Thoughts and ideas? I could maybe look for a Bruce used instead of the small danforth, or maybe go and source some more weights like, as has been suggested before, railcar wheels or something.

I'm growing old waiting for a slip here. And I'm tired of the shenanniagans that go along with the moving the boat around all the time saga; I had my boat stolen twice, I've heard stories about people lines getting cut, dealt with dudes who have been in social isolation for so long they may as well have been raised by a pack of bipolar monkeys. I just want to go to my boat, know it is there, take it for a sail and a weekender or a vacation, and go home.

I've written my MLA about water lease problems, most notably how with our population growing we need more spots for boaters to legitimately park their boats at a reasonable price (hot water and electricity are nice things to have access to) but 5-15 y wait lists at premium rates for everything within 6 hours drive is kinda stupid. But thats another debate please dont hijack the thread over it.
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Old 05-12-2017, 12:51   #2
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Re: Impromptu mooring buoy creation

I know one YC that has been very successful (decades) in buying worn out railroad wheels. That's two wheels joined by the solid steel axle. They cut the axle in the middle, weld a loop onto the top, and drop the whole thing as a mushroom anchor. (The wheel being the mushroom cap.) In their mud bottom, they take a while to sink in but then work very well. And whatever the steel is, it also holds up well.

They get them from a local commuter RR repair yard, which otherwise sells them as scrap metal by the pound.

Take a concrete block, bake at 350F for a day, let cool. Smack it with a hammer and it turns to dust. That's because concrete IS MAINLY WATER and as a result, it makes a truly lousy anchor. It is way more porous than igneous or metamorphic stone. It has very little "weight" compared to the amount of water it displaces. Forget about that.

Surprising that there's anyplace left where you are allowed to just drop your own mooring...that's getting hard to do here in the US.
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Old 05-12-2017, 19:07   #3
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Re: Impromptu mooring buoy creation

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Surprising that there's anyplace left where you are allowed to just drop your own mooring...that's getting hard to do here in the US.
I was actually surprised too. I looked up the regulations and you have to gain permission from the Coast Guard if it would affect shipping lanes.

There are a bunch of regulations as to the buoy itself, it has to be at least 16" above the waterline, it has to be clearly marked and the correct color (In my case international orange with "PRIV" and the owners name) and any other markings relevant to a mariner who might tie up to it (In my case, a warning not to use it over a certain displacement or in storm conditions).

In a somewhat comical warning, they advise that you regularly maintain the buoy and properly mark it as you may be liable for damages should someone tie up to your private buoy (its clearly marked as private, yet you could be liable if their 60ft motoryacht causes it to drift and hit the rocks? Maritime law is weird sometimes)

The place I'm looking at dropping it wouldn't effect any shipping lanes, that's for certain, so as long as I can ensure it will hold my 27' boat and not let the water depth go below 6' at zero chart datum I should be golden.

I am a bit worried about the maximum tide height though. Last spring I was at anchor and there were some king tides, and at the low the boat was dangerously close to the rocks because of the scope. Under normal tidal conditions the swing isnt that much, maybe 6'-12' but we get two king tides this year and it will go from about 1' to 16' - at 1' that's a lot of scope letting the boat swing around. I guess I could just tighten and untighten the line going to bottom periodically from above the waterline, but that line, being under water is going to get ugly pretty fast with sea growth.

I'm not sure if there's a railyard anywhere near here (but there are certainly a lot of trains). Lead is expensive and I might get in sh*t because if it corrodes it might be toxic to marine life. I did meet a guy who says its pretty easy to get ahold of those balancing weights they put on your car tires from tire repair shops - he had a whole bucket of them and man was that bucket heavy.. if I could seal the bucket really well it might make for a good addition to the motor and the anchor.

Anyone know what kind of weights were talking for my boat so it wont move the thing? My boat displaces about 4000 lbs. I'm guessing the motor is about 125+. The small danforth is of negligible weight, I'd only throw it on the bitter end at the bottom so it could set if the whole rig drags a bit.

Bare in mind I am going to be deploying this sucker from my sailboat, not a big tug or a barge with a crane. While I can use winches and halyards, if the thing is too heavy it's either going to put a ton of stress on the rigging or if I just go with winches over the side if it's too heavy I'm going to be heeling like a broach and wont be able to drop it properly.

I'm thinking that this is a sailboat, it's going to turn itself bow to wind on a buoy, and the most stress on this contraption is going to be the constant tugging as the waves bounce the bow up and down in a blow. We don't get swells here, only wind effects the waves but the area does get a bit bouncy sometimes but the worst are very deep waves max about 3 ft high. Chop may become an issue under unfavorable conditions of current vs. wind but the cove is pretty protected.
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Old 05-12-2017, 20:01   #4
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Re: Impromptu mooring buoy creation

My opinion? Your proposed mooring is woefully inadequate. If you value your boat, follow normal mooring practices.

If you can't manage large weights, you will need to use a normal anchor of considerable size... something that will bury well to compensate for lack of mass.

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Old 05-12-2017, 21:05   #5
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Re: Impromptu mooring buoy creation

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Originally Posted by mr-canada View Post
I was actually surprised too. I looked up the regulations and you have to gain permission from the Coast Guard if it would affect shipping lanes.
You may wish to read this ...
Private Moorage Buoys & Anchorages: How is the Coast to be Regulated?

Given the popularity of the area you are talking about, and the general dislike of private mooring buoys, I predict that someone is going to give you grief about it pretty soon after you install it. You're setting yourself up for a repeat of your past problems.

Personally I'd keep phoning around marinas looking for a slip ... Have you tried over on the island?
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Old 05-12-2017, 21:38   #6
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Re: Impromptu mooring buoy creation

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Given the popularity of the area you are talking about, and the general dislike of private mooring buoys, I predict that someone is going to give you grief about it pretty soon after you install it. You're setting yourself up for a repeat of your past problems.

Personally I'd keep phoning around marinas looking for a slip ... Have you tried over on the island?
Interesting article. It dovetails very well over the CCG regulations on private mooring buoys that I read, although differentiating from the article you posted, the CCG does anticipate that private mooring buoys are rather permanent, it makes more note about ensuring they are properly maintained and not adrift over the years and never mentions anything about removal.

You are correct in your warning that I may encounter problems again if I drop the thing and moor to a private buoy.

When my boat was stolen and moved a mile away to a private float, I realized just how little retribution for any kind of enforcement that you have for stolen marine with all the jurisdictions. I don't want to hijack my own thread, but... in my case:

a) The police all but refused to investigate due to the fact that they can't obtain prints from a dock or the outside of a vessel or rope; given that I found the boat and it was not vandalized they had little interest in doing much anything other than filing a report for insurance purposes

b) The public dock owner/operator, seeing as they were not present had little in leverage to remove the offender from the dock (especially given it's 'Use at your own risk' warning and public access status). Even I only have a hunch who the perpetrator of my boats' removal is without conducting a sting operation armed which, in this insane world, means that the perpetrator is free to steal, trespass, move, or encumber my vessel but should I try to stop him I would be the one in trouble with the law for catching him/her doing so in the act.

c) A and B also apply to boats at anchor or on a private mooring buoy, or at any dock or marina whatsoever, making your floating investment at risk in a wild west type atmosphere any time you leave it unattended, anywhere. Obviously you are safer in a professional marina (where I want to be) because there are staff, but if someone managed to steal or set your boat adrift, even from a private professional marina the law is so unclear as mud you'd probably have to not only have verifiable video of the perp doing it AND have your boat strike someone else's property and cause damage for anything to happen.

Given A, B & C, and the lack of an ability to get a slip, this is the attraction of a PRIV mooring buoy for me. Nobody can kick me off the dock, due to whatever policies that dock may have in effect. Nobody can cite any rules or regulations as it is perfectly legal provided I am not impeding other boaters' rights to navigation. And most importantly, nobody can access my boat without actually having a seaworthy boat - and as my mooring buoy is new and will be placed far enough away from any other established moorings I am not "taking away" viable mooring space from others.

It's certainly not the most desireable option but it's a lot better than homeless-boat hopping around in 14 day intervals waiting forever for a slip to come available.

I'd check Vancouver Island if it weren't for the distance. Coming from Vancouver the Howe Sound islands are far enough. Far enough that it takes a reasonable but committed amount of time to get there, and far enough that bumboats and thieves from the city are unlikely to take the time and effort to go there just to poke around, at least with any frequency (the number of outboards stolen from Ladner and Horseshoe Bay is astounding). Not sure if there's something on Salt Spring, that might be a nice place if there's space available, but a direct ferry connection to at least the immediate area is very important to me. Where I'm at there's two ferries to catch, one 530 ton and one passenger only/water taxi.

What I *wish* I could find is a community of those people who own all those damned vacation homes smattered all across Howe Sound. It's sickening seeing hundreds and hundreds of docks bone empty 10 months of the year if not year round (which it is in many cases) while I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel looking for moorage at a marina. Hell, I'd even pay them to look after their dock and I'd look after their vacation property at the same time. Makes me frickin' sick. There's a major housing crisis across the whole Lower Mainland and here are these 4-6 bedroom homes unoccupied almost year round on prime waterfront property. Ugh. Dont get me started on that tangent.
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Old 05-12-2017, 21:48   #7
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Re: Impromptu mooring buoy creation

I wouldn't use tire weights. The tire shops used to pay to have them taken away (toxic trash) but these days they SELL the scrap metal, which is only part lead, part metal clips. You can melt that down and get just the lead, but then you're putting lead into the environment and might be in trouble if you couldn't haul it out again after it had embedded, etc. There's just no need for lead, no one uses it for moorings.

Personally I'm in favor of dropping a bouy for an "exclusion zone" (also white with orange up there, I think?) and for the label on it, just mark "DANGER! MINE!"

Well, it is yours, and you're likely to get angry if anyone monkeys with it, so that's not entirely a lie.(G) Some nimrod will still try to pull it up and see what the mine looks like though. (Sigh)
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Old 05-12-2017, 21:57   #8
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Re: Impromptu mooring buoy creation

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
My opinion? Your proposed mooring is woefully inadequate. If you value your boat, follow normal mooring practices.

If you can't manage large weights, you will need to use a normal anchor of considerable size... something that will bury well to compensate for lack of mass.

Jim
Of course it is not close to adequate. But if he had a proper mooring that stayed in place he wouldn't be able to blame the mysterious people who are always messing with his boat!
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Old 05-12-2017, 22:34   #9
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Re: Impromptu mooring buoy creation

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I wouldn't use tire weights. The tire shops used to pay to have them taken away (toxic trash) but these days they SELL the scrap metal, which is only part lead, part metal clips. You can melt that down and get just the lead, but then you're putting lead into the environment and might be in trouble if you couldn't haul it out again after it had embedded, etc. There's just no need for lead, no one uses it for moorings.

Personally I'm in favor of dropping a bouy for an "exclusion zone" (also white with orange up there, I think?) and for the label on it, just mark "DANGER! MINE!"

Well, it is yours, and you're likely to get angry if anyone monkeys with it, so that's not entirely a lie.(G) Some nimrod will still try to pull it up and see what the mine looks like though. (Sigh)
Lol. I doubt anyone would beleive an exclusion zone with mine warnings in this area, they'd see right through that ruse especially with a boat moored to it but it gave me a good chuckle.

I would like to avoid using lead. While lots of fishermen lose lead weights on their lines, if the CG pulled up a bucket filled with lead that wasnt watertight god only knows what they could hit me with. I dont think it's specifically restricted as a toxin, but those things can change in an instant with one study and then how the F do I get a half sunken 400 lb bucket filled with lead out of the muck? The CG could find a way, but I dont have the means. Something more intert would be better.
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Old 05-12-2017, 22:34   #10
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Re: Impromptu mooring buoy creation

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Of course it is not close to adequate. But if he had a proper mooring that stayed in place he wouldn't be able to blame the mysterious people who are always messing with his boat!
Lay off the rum. It doesn't go well with internet.
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Old 05-12-2017, 22:43   #11
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Re: Impromptu mooring buoy creation

Buy a good heavy used anchor, much bigger than is necessary for your boat. Attach a few metres of of heavy chain, then some lighter chain, and then some rope.

Regards,
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Old 05-12-2017, 22:57   #12
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Re: Impromptu mooring buoy creation

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Buy a good heavy used anchor, much bigger than is necessary for your boat. Attach a few metres of of heavy chain, then some lighter chain, and then some rope.

Regards,
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Sage advice. I have been searching for used old huge anchors. Found an old Sailors Anchor about 3ft with the crossbar. Not liking the price but between the motor, chain, and that thing it might just do the trick.
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Old 05-12-2017, 23:40   #13
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Re: Impromptu mooring buoy creation

I wouldn't get an anchor that has a fluke that could stick up, as the chain may wrap around it.

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Old 05-12-2017, 23:52   #14
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Re: Impromptu mooring buoy creation

Since everyone local is out to get you, the motor idea is likely to pull the authorities in if there is the slightest trace of oil in the engine block.

If I remember correctly, you are in Florida so expect there to be regulations you need to check before doing anything permanent.

3 anchors laid out in a triangle is a really good temporary mooring that takes a little while to deploy but is very reliable and unlikely to trigger mooring ball regulations. You may have to start the engine and unwind it every week or so if you tend to spin in one direction with tide changes. Only big issue is if you want to leave the mooring in place while you go for a sail. At that point, those out to get you can easily take off with your mooring.
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Old 06-12-2017, 04:37   #15
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Re: Impromptu mooring buoy creation

Improptu/temporary anchor for a small boat...just get a big ass used anchor.

I used to use an old 65 lb CQR as a seasonal "mooring" for my Hobie 33.
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