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Old 20-05-2010, 21:31   #1
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If You Keep Your Boat on a Mooring these Tips Might Keep it Off the Rocks

  1. In still air your bridle lines will sink, and they can wrap around the chain beneath the ball. They do not unwrap themselves and can chafe through the rope in a storm. You can prevent this with flotation along the entire length of the bridle lines. I use cheap closed-cell split-foam pipe insulation (about $2 for each 6ft section at Home Depot or Lowe's). You can cut the foam into small sections but I like to keep them intact and cover most of the line, because that covering also protects the bridle from UV and marine growth. I replace the foam annually due to marine growth, for a very low cost. I use 3M yellow electrical tape to wrap the foam every few feet. That tape stands up well to UV/water and makes the bridle very visible to other boats when we're off the mooring.
  2. There is a type of mooring ball sold with the steel rod that goes through the center. That rod rusts inside the ball and eventually becomes very thin, leading to failure, and there is no way to inspect it. I have seen two boats go on the rocks with the mooring bridle still attached to the eye on the corroded rod. I strongly recommend you replace it with the type of ball that allows the mooring chain to come up through a pipe in the center, and attach your mooring bridle shackles directly to the chain.
  3. Make sure the mooring and tackle is inspected at least every 2-3 years. If in doubt replace hardware. Beware of inferior imported chain and shackles. The tackle below put a friend's boat on the rocks.
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Old 22-05-2010, 10:45   #2
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How old is that chain? It looks pretty darn corroded... How often was it checked?
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Old 22-05-2010, 10:48   #3
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that chain is junk fit only for scrap yard!!!!!!!
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Old 22-05-2010, 10:59   #4
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The nylon ties seem to have held up well.
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Old 22-05-2010, 17:55   #5
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As a former harbor master, I will second the advice that you have your mooring inspected every 3 years at a minimum. That means completely lift the whole mooring system out of the water and replace the gear as indicated. The place of the greatest wear is a few feet above the the connection to the mooring stone or anchor--this is where the chain will chafe from contact with the bottom during tidal change. I am astounded at the lack of care most moorings receive. I am most reluctant to rely on a mooring for an overnight stay that I have not seen put down or been reassured of inspection routine. Yes it is expensive, but cheap insurance. I have no idea why insurance companies insist on surveys, but not mooring inspections.
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Old 22-05-2010, 18:23   #6
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In regards to item #2:

No one should tie off to the eyelet on top of the ball except for very temporary situations (like threading a line through it to pick up the mooring single handed), and then quickly switching out to the chain. The only reason I've used the eyelet otherwise is a place to secure the "grab line" that allows you to easily pull the bitter end of the mooring chain up to secure your line to it.

The mooring company in San Diego that maintains all the moorings hauls, cleans, and inspects every inch every year.
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Old 22-05-2010, 18:52   #7
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Great advice especially #2

Here in the Philippines at the Puerto Galera Yacht Club, we switched to that type for the same reason,

Because we are in a Typhoon area, the moorings are hauled up and inspected every year!

We have a purpose built barge to do this and all shackles/chain are hauled up, chipped, inspected and calibrated each year between May and the end of June.

Great member volunteers supervise this work with the club staff.
The Puerto Galera Yacht Club - The Best Sailing and Water Sports In The Philippines
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Old 22-05-2010, 22:16   #8
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Originally Posted by PyotrBee View Post
How old is that chain? It looks pretty darn corroded... How often was it checked?
Probably was never checked
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Old 16-06-2010, 04:38   #9
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Monday I put a 8' sand screw with 10" screw plate into the bottom of the bay that I anchor in. Purchased a buoy without the steel rod as was suggested at the beginning of this thread. This is supporting 50 foot of 3/8 galvanized chain. From the bottom, 25 feet, I run the chain to the buoy and attach with a SS fitting, thimble and rope. A length of 7 foot chain continues to a smaller buoy that I will attach a rope too and then pick up and attach to a cleat on my boat.
Any suggestions on the size of rope for the piece going from the chain to the cleat ? This is for everyday use.
Next, being in the Caribbean, I want to make a line that I store at my home and use when a big storm comes. Any suggestions on this construction. I am looking at attaching this to an eye on the bow of the boat to reduce chafe. I have thought of chain to the 3/8 chain already on the mooring with a couple of tires to act as shock absorbers, then nylon rope to the bow. Or should I use chain all the way with the tires acting absorbers?
Major hurricane, 3 & 4, I am out of here if I can.
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Old 26-06-2010, 07:15   #10
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A silly mistake, and one we shouldn't have made:

Last night a storm blew up whilst we were on a mooring. Not trusting the rope on the mooring, we used our own. On hindsight, I heard the rope snap. had a look around, but didn't think to check mooring line! Next time I awoke, we'd drifted half a mile or so! Luckily, we were moored in the lee of the island, so all we were likely to hit was Iran, but still, somewhat careless!
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Old 04-07-2010, 17:58   #11
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Inspect Yearly

I still do not understand why they even make those mooring balls with the rods anymore. They are great for dropping your chain in the mud when you go out for the weekend.

I used to inspect my mooring every 3 years. It is in 8 ft of water. The harbor master wants 15 ft of coast guard chain, a swivel and then 15 ft of 3/4 chain up to the ball.

Well last year I pulled up the 3/4 at low tide to inspect the swivel & chain. Looked OK at first and then the swivel broke (looked better than the one above) and the CG chain dropped to the bottom. (The swivel was not a cheap import either). New 3/4 chain, a swivel and a swim made it all better.

I check it every year now.
P.S. If you rent a mooring from a marina, take a swim and look at it yourself. Times are tough and chain is not cheap!!!
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Old 05-07-2010, 04:39   #12
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What's coast guard chain?
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 05-07-2010, 05:09   #13
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Sorry Gordy. Guess it is just an expression we use around here. It is the chain the Coast Guard uses for the buoys. It is about 1.5-2 inches with big elongated links. Heavy does not explain it well. I have 15 ft of it on my mooring, and it really has to blow to stretch it out. The stuff it tough and very durable, my CG chain is 10 years old and looks like the day I put it in.

For some reason it can be bought pretty reasonably around here.

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Old 05-07-2010, 17:01   #14
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We have tidal moorings over here, so inspection easier.

1) Hit the links with a hammer to knock the rust off. including frozen (rusted together) links. Rust ain't ever rated for it's strength. If it comes off with a hammer then it ain't serving any purpose. Need to have something solid to hit against - not trying to flatten the link!, but not tickling it either

2) peer closely at the links, including wiggling them around to check under the links.

3) be impressed how thin chain can get in places............

Yeah, annually works well

Life extended by top and tailing the chains and we also "patch" them by running an additional (shorter) length of chain alongside any badly worn chain - a couple of shackles at each end a few feet or so onto the good stuff.......downside is the weight it adds, especially on a big spring tide
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Old 05-07-2010, 17:24   #15
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Hurricane mooring experience

In 1991 while anchored in the anchorage at Block Island, Hurricane Bob went overhead with 135 mph winds. We got off the boat after setting 3 anchors.

During the Eye, we came back to the harbor and walked the beach, and examined the 50 -55 boats on the beach.

A number of mooring shackles were so rusted, the place that broke was the thickness of a pencil lead.

One boat, who's owner I met, before the storm, had just got a mooring, after being on a waiting list a long time. they were very happy to be on a mooring. Until the hurricane that is!

The person who had inspected the mooring, had taken the bottom chain off (to replace I assume) and tied it together with a piece of 3/8" line! It didn't hold.
The boat had a hole in the topsides, you could walk thru.

I asked where her Husband was. She said he was looking for the inspector.

Even if you have it "inspected" try to do it yourself, or verify it was done properly.

The best mooring rule, I have seen, is a requirement to have chain from the anchor, to the deck. It can be slack, but if the line to the cleat wears thru, the chain keep the other boats in the mooring field safe from your boat.

During the Eye, it was painfull to look out and see boats side by side, smashing into each other in a 4'+ chop, and not being able to go out and help.

The beach looked like a sailboat junk yard. Sad
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