One of my favorite subject... who owns the bottom?
What seems to happen, at least in LIS and there abouts... is that some local government
decides to control the harbor use for anchoring
The purpose is ostensibly safety
and order, but what happens is that much of the bottom is given to commercial
interests who then turn the harbor real estate into a business.
Usually first dibs is given to local residents.. a perk for living in a town with a decent harbor. Yacht clubs and marinas
seem to got control of large sections of the harbor as well.
Moored vessels need facilities often and refuse disposal is often a contentious issue as boaters need somewhere to dispose of their rubbish. I have seen towns which offer public trash bins with holes large enough for a coffee cup and no facility for typical trash bags or a provision for recycling.
The jurisdiction may accept applications to either install a mooring (to their standards) or rent one on a time limited basis up to a season, usually for a fairly large sum which far exceeds the cost of the mooring and or its maintenance
. This becomes a revenue stream for the jurisdiction, no different that paid public parking.
Since boaters often live distant from places with harbors... there is an imbalance in supply and demand for mooring locations and this ends up being handled by a set of rules which determine who is eligible to even rent a mooring in the harbor.
Some jurisdictions will set aside some moorings for transient use at market rates.. always going up in cost, but these days in the $25 per night range. Use of a mooring with authorization results in a summons like illegal parking.. don't know the cost of the violation.
For those harbors which do make moorings available to out of towners (most of the moored boats have owners from out of town)... there is a waiting list set up and knowing someone always helps to move up the list. I don't know that the lists are ever published so you can see your self advancing up. It all appears rather mysterious.
Some harbors are so popular that there are only moorings and anchoring
on a hook is proscribed. Many harbors allow boats to anchor
outside their mooring grid for no fee. That will change too as these people lust for more cash.
While it may be a problem for a yachtsmen to set and maintain a permanent mooring, moorings have definitely become a real estate type business and not a service
for setting and maintaining the mooring.
If you paid for the cost of the gear
it will cost a lot less than the typical annual fee and last several years. It does typically have to be removed (at least the rode
- chain, float, pick up, etc.) inspected, stored, repaired, and reattached each year. The actual rode removal
and reattachment takes perhaps 1 hr per year.
And finally there is the issue of the dinghy
dock and parking because moored boats need to accessed from the shore. Towns often provide a dinghy
docks and clubs the same or a launch service
available at reasonable hours. But there is usually no security
at these docks and they often are too small to accommodate a dink from all the moorings they rent. Further these docks often serve small visiting boaters and anchored boats. They get real crowded real fast. Look at Block Island Salt
Pond to see what I mean.
Pond has way more dinks because it is a destination
said to and not many boaters moor there for the season... more transients. But other harbors need to accommodate the vehicles of the boaters who rent moorings and if the don't have a convenient parking lot boaters then must use street parking which has no over night parking restriction or a specific time each day with no parking for things like street cleaning
. Parking is not an issue for locals, but not for out of towners who typically drive to their boat
and carry provisions and gear
The New England
area is home to 40 million people and lots of boat owners. There is limited dock space, and mooring and anchoring real estate. The market has turned this into yet another "opportunity" for making a buck. Regions such a Florida
are probably even worse.
And many jurisdictions prohibit live aboards on their moorings so the idea of using your boat as a summer residence is fast becoming impossible.
Many locals who have rights to a mooring or two put one in and hire some local to run it as a business. You can find this practice in Newport
Harbor, for example.
While anchoring may be free. or so it seems it should be, moorings come at a price
because of the "security" of the moor. Most people would not leave an anchored boat unattended for more than a few hours and certainly not for days and weeks. If their anchor
held, their boat may be visited by mischief makers who target it as an easy "hit".