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Old 29-11-2022, 07:01   #1
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COLREGS - moorings have special rights over anchored vessels?

I’m anchored in Lake Worth lagoon and have been for several days. I will be here a week.

This area is not an official mooring field according to the charts, however the place is filled with “private” moorings. By private I mean that (my understanding from asking around) there is no state or federal permitting and the mooring “owners” are not paying a subsurface lease of any kind akin to that paid by dock owners. In other words these are unofficial, unsanctioned, rogue, effectively illegal moorings although there are 100’s of them to which officialdom appears to turn a blind eye.

Last night a vessel took up a mooring (which I did not even notice for 2 days I suspect because it was largely submerged) VERY close to me. We did not contact while swinging with the tide overnight but it was calm. In a blow lifting my chain we might.

Does his mooring give him any special rights or has he created a foul berth for me and his is the obligation to move?
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Old 29-11-2022, 07:27   #2
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pirate Re: COLREGS - moorings have special rights over anchored vessels?

I would imagine his insurance company would take the view that he is on a fixed mooring, while you are on a mobile mooring (anchor) and he cannot be held liable for your lack of vigilance resulting in you anchoring to close to his mooring.
I would move personally, it's a small thing on the grand scale.
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Old 29-11-2022, 07:32   #3
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Re: COLREGS - moorings have special rights over anchored vessels?

I would like to hear if there is any case law on this. I have not seen any.


If both boats were anchored, the first has the right to a clear, not foul berth. There is case law, but in practice it is hard to prove you did not drag. If it were a licensed municipal or private mooring field, I think there is a strong implication that the area surrounding the mooring must be left clear, as though there was a boat on the mooring. If the mooring is illegal or simply not permitted, I'm not sure there is any such implication, and the mooring is no different from being anchored; if you place a legal but non-permitted mooring (legal in Maryland) and a boat is anchor too near or over it, you simply can't use it until the anchored boat leaves.This has come up on my local waters.



But the real rule is that if there things go bump in the night it is a pain to sort out and moving is better if practical. At least hang fenders.
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Old 29-11-2022, 07:48   #4
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Re: COLREGS - moorings have special rights over anchored vessels?

I'd consider the mooring to have rights over the anchored boat just from a practical perspective. Even if there's no boat on the mooring you still have to worry about swinging over it and getting tangled.
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Old 29-11-2022, 08:35   #5
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Re: COLREGS - moorings have special rights over anchored vessels?

Local practice trumps someone from "away" every time.

Around here, there are laws, and then there are what people actually do. Like, municipalities have specific requirements for approving moorings. These usually include things like you need to identify which boat will be using it, only that boat can use it, and that boat must use it for at least some number of weeks or the the mooring is forfeited.

In practice, however, harbormasters hand out mooring permits to yacht clubs, to their buddies, to anyone who shows up at the office with the cash. There is no-one to appeal these decisions to. You want to use that anchorage? Too bad. It's all filled up with unused "destination" moorings.
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Old 29-11-2022, 09:41   #6
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Re: COLREGS - moorings have special rights over anchored vessels?

In Canada I believe moored boats are not treated any differently than anchored boats, although I'm not sure if that includes designated mooring fields. Certainly a private mooring is legally no different than an anchored boat.

That said, there is a practicality that dictates how an anchoring boat must behave around these accursed things. The fact is, they are there and can foul an anchored boat, even when the mooring is unoccupied. An anchored boat needs more swing room, and a mooring simply isn't going to move, so if you find yourself too close, the only thing to do is move.

BTW, I understand the desire, and sometimes the need, for private moorings. I just wish that those laying them down would do so in a way that doesn't make anchoring hard to impossible. By their nature, a mooring can usually be placed much closer to shore, or much further out. But instead, most private moorers seem to place them as if they are anchors. IOW, they drop them right in the middle of the anchorage, blocking others from using the space.
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Old 29-11-2022, 09:49   #7
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Re: COLREGS - moorings have special rights over anchored vessels?

To be clear, I’m well clear of the mooring itself. At least 50’. which is fine until there’s a 50’ boat on it :0
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Old 29-11-2022, 09:55   #8
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Re: COLREGS - moorings have special rights over anchored vessels?

Everyone has brought up interesting points.


Is a "destination" mooring a good or bad thing?



In coral areas in some parks moorings reduce wear and are NOT assigned to an owner. This is a good thing. Anchoring is not permitted in these areas.


Boats swing less on a mooring, so more boats can fit in smaller area if they have destination moorings. But that would require good judgment in placement, for example near shore, and the understanding that if people have anchored nearby you may not be able to use it. Overall, unless organized into a mooring field, I think these are a net negative.


I'm sure I would feel more warmly about private moorings if my home was near enough to the water for one to make sense for me.


The greater hazard and nuisance on the Chesapeake are crab pots, not just on open water, but in back creeks where you would anchor. But they are placed by working men for a pubic that wants crabs, so I try to stay clear.


---


Does ANYONE know of case law or regulation on private moorings re. crowding and clear berth? I found nothing relating to an unoccupied mooring.
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Old 29-11-2022, 09:57   #9
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Re: COLREGS - moorings have special rights over anchored vessels?

Is that inland waters or international waters? Find that out, it affects who has jurisdiction and which rules really apply.
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Old 29-11-2022, 10:04   #10
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Re: COLREGS - moorings have special rights over anchored vessels?

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Originally Posted by Adelie View Post
Is that inland waters or international waters? Find that out, it affects who has jurisdiction and which rules really apply.

Correct. In this case it would be Florida state law or local ordnance. Not likely to be international waters, for the purpose of this thread. Not COLREGS.


For example, in the immediate vicinity of a municipal mooring field anchoring is normally prohibited, removing the conflict.
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Old 29-11-2022, 10:22   #11
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Re: COLREGS - moorings have special rights over anchored vessels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
I just wish that those laying them down would do so in a way that doesn't make anchoring hard to impossible. By their nature, a mooring can usually be placed much closer to shore, or much further out. But instead, most private moorers seem to place them as if they are anchors. IOW, they drop them right in the middle of the anchorage, blocking others from using the space.

Sometimes, blocking others from using the space, is the goal.
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Old 29-11-2022, 10:32   #12
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Re: COLREGS - moorings have special rights over anchored vessels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
Sometimes, blocking others from using the space, is the goal.

That's how it often seems .
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Old 29-11-2022, 10:35   #13
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Re: COLREGS - moorings have special rights over anchored vessels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by flightlead404 View Post
I’m anchored in Lake Worth lagoon and have been for several days. I will be here a week.

This area is not an official mooring field according to the charts, however the place is filled with “private” moorings. By private I mean that (my understanding from asking around) there is no state or federal permitting and the mooring “owners” are not paying a subsurface lease of any kind akin to that paid by dock owners. In other words these are unofficial, unsanctioned, rogue, effectively illegal moorings although there are 100’s of them to which officialdom appears to turn a blind eye.

Last night a vessel took up a mooring (which I did not even notice for 2 days I suspect because it was largely submerged) VERY close to me. We did not contact while swinging with the tide overnight but it was calm. In a blow lifting my chain we might.

Does his mooring give him any special rights or has he created a foul berth for me and his is the obligation to move?
This entire post is based on the theory that because the chart doesn't show a mooring field, the moorings are illegal and municipality is either corrupt or incompetent.

https://floridadep.gov/sites/default...chure-2016.pdf

The Palm Beach County mooring buoy program is a partnership
between Palm Beach County Department of Environmental
Resources Management and the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission.


You are assuming that the municipality or county notified the NOAA or that NOAA is quick to update their charts. municipal and private (marina) mooring fields rarely show up on charts in my area.

Any anchored boat is responsible to NOT be anchored in such a way as to interfere with a mooring in my area.
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Old 29-11-2022, 10:40   #14
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Re: COLREGS - moorings have special rights over anchored vessels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
Sometimes, blocking others from using the space, is the goal.

Which is related to this thread. If the mooring is unoccupied, is there any obligation to stay clear? Personally, since placing the mooring is a free privilege in MD, I would tend not to worry about it if I had a reason to anchor there. I'd stay clear if there was no reason not to. If the owner comes in late he can anchor, like everyone else, or squeeze in and roll the dice, knowing he was the late arrival. If it were my mooring, I could accept that.
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Old 29-11-2022, 10:55   #15
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Re: COLREGS - moorings have special rights over anchored vessels?

As a thought exercise, I wonder whether there are any boats that use moorings that are not equipped with ground tackle suitable for overnight use.

For example, they may have an emergency anchor that will hold the boat in most conditions with a rope rode and no windlass. After all, things like this are still being sold today: (https://www.cabelas.com/shop/en/rolo...-marine-anchor).

There are people who have never used their anchor.


Trying to see it from the mooring owner's point of view.



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