Mooring balls available for rental almost always have at least one rope
pennant attached, usually two. They may or may not have a pickup stick too. If no pickup stick you will need to retrieve the line with a boat hook.
Some municipal or state-run mooring fields are first-come first-served. In private fields the usual protocol is to contact the renting
organization by VHF
on their working channel (published in cruising guides
or Activecaptain.com) or channel 9 if you don't know their working channel. They will ask about your length and draft
and assign a mooring. It's appropriate for you to question the weight of the mooring and whether it has a pennant/stick (so you can prepare) and judge whether it's suitable for your boat given the expected forecast
If it only has a ring, anchoring
may be your best option, as it will be difficult to hook on if there's any significant wind
. There are snap hooks sold for hooking moorings if you do that frequently. I have a multihull
, and carry an extra rope bridle
with snap hooks to use in place of (or in addition to) the pennant they provide.
If you pick up a mooring, it's a good idea to inspect whatever portion you can pull out of the water
. If it looks like it hasn't been maintained you should trust your judgment and ask for a different one, stronger one, or simply say "no thanks" (considering your other options, such as anchoring).