I completely agree with the OP about people using moorings they haven't paid for, it's sleazy and basically stealing IMHO.
I prefer to anchor
out rather than use a strange mooring
here in Maine
, but don't share that same concern in the Bahamas
where the water
is warm enough to swim, very clear, and usually (much) less than 20' deep. It's pretty easy to ascertain the condition of a mooring and chain if you have any doubts, unless of course you arrive after nightfall.
I've spent the night at fuel
docks countless times and while it's nice to save a little time not having to up-anchor and drive into the dock
first thing in the morning, it's not because I'm trying to be a cheapskate. Usually it's during a delivery
when I know I'll be late arriving at a harbor so I call ahead to tell them I might not make it by closing time and they almost always tell me to just tie up to the fuel dock
and they'll get me first thing in the mooring. Another circumstance where I occasionally stay overnight at the dock is in my local harbor (where I pay to keep my dinghy
and park my car and use the fuel/water/pumpout dock) because I know they are busy during the day with tran$ient$ so I wait until after closing so I can take my time and fill up with water
and wash off the salt
without occupying the space when a paying customer might use it. Then, when the dock boy arrives in the morning, he can top off my fuel tanks
and I'm off the dock without delaying anyone else who might want to use it. I do this as a courtesy to other boaters and to the marina owners and they have told me they appreciate me waiting until after normal business hours to use the dock. If people are really using the fuel dock to avoid paying for a slip, then I do agree that is wrong, but sometimes things are not quite as they appear....