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Old 02-03-2007, 07:30   #16
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Trouble is none of us know if the mooring is registered or not. Suspect in most civilised places they will be - and in some less civilised spots they will not.

Must agree its a bummer to find a complete bay once know as a good anchorage set aside only for moorings - but practically one can fit more boats in on heavy moorings than one could if they were all at anchor. Ideally I'd love to see both options available everywhere.

I'd suspect if the mooring buoys referred to were so close they don't suit your vessel size - then they are not of sufficient strenght to hold you safely.

As a past mooring owner watching with horror as a 50 foot power boat use his engines in full reverse to 'rest' my ground tackle (which was quite adequate for our then 34 foot yacht), I am also a tad reserved about using someone elses privat emooring. But practically I still do this if nothing else is available, and if the owner returns, simply thank them for the time and go find another place. Its never ever led to an argument either......

Maybe all local authorities should ensure a portion of any bay is kept back for anchoring.

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Old 02-03-2007, 08:03   #17
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Some great replys here, but we seem to be discussing two questions. The first concerning the "rights" to anchoring adjacent to established moorings, and the second the "rights" to individuals/yacht clubs/resorts/towns to place moorings where ever they do.

The consensus is that you do not place your boat in a position to interfere with an established mooring, anymore than you would place your boat to interfere with another anchored boat. This is not a question of legal rights, but of proper seamanship.

I do not want to get into a pissing contest with another boat over anchoring - over who was where first - who has to move - whose mooring it is. When I anchor for the night I like to sleep. Good gear, set well, and far away from everyone else.

defjef wrote:
What law(s) gives a local jurisdiction control of the harbor such that they can sell/rent moorings to people based on some "created" criteria? Can they enforce quality/maintenance standards? How DO they enforce practically enforce them?

Well, within the US of A that's our for the people by the people governments at work! The state legislatures generally give the city/town boards give the harbor commisiions the rights to place and manage moorings. Hence, some town boards see it as good stewardship to cover their harbors with moorings that can create revenue - somewhat on the pattern that sv_makai suggests in the BVIs. They have the potential to do a good job by ensuring better quality moorings, proper placement of mooring radii, and less mishaps in the harbor. Granted, it doesn't always work out that way. And granted, it results in cruising boats to either pay for a rented mooring in a perceived close, safe location, or anchor further out.
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Old 02-03-2007, 10:05   #18
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The problem with a local jurisdiction taking contgrol of a harbor, is that they establish criteria giving first dib rights to locals and often charge MORE to out of towners if they even rent one to them.

If moorings were truly like public parking and the juridiction set aside some for transients and some for local, some for out of towners, it would allow visitors, locals and those who want to spend the summer on a mooring access to that harbor.

What actually seems to happen is local business interests, along with greedy town fathers (and mothers) and local residents who don't even HAVE a boat get to control too much of the harbor. John Doe's moorings opens up a business and gets 100 moorings and then sells/rents them to others... on what is essentially public use "land"... or in this case, waterways. He sets the rate he wants.

Look at harbors like West Harbor, FI, Huntington, LI, Newport RI, Stonnington CT, or Dering Harbor NY, Edgartown, MA, Great Salt Pond, RI, for example where moorings have essentially overtaken the anchorage... some worse than others obviously.

And the rates charged for transients is rather expensive when you consider the cost of placing a mooring.

It's capitalism at work!
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Old 02-03-2007, 13:44   #19
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defjef, et. al...

I'd like to refine my earlier rant just a bit (can you 'refine a rant'?).

I've recently been in Huntington, LI and Newport, RI harbours, and seen what you're talking about.

In a way, this is reminiscent of Garrett Harding's 'Tragedy of the Commons' in which he posits the thought that left to our own devices humankind is very likely to spoil what belongs to us all.

Harding was talking about population pressure. He suggested that in the situation of a common grazing ground ('The Commons') it really IS to each sheep owner's interest to graze as many sheep as possible....up to a point. In the end, the grazing area is likely to be so heavily grazed that EVERYONE loses, since the ground can't sustain the heavy use.

That's sorta what's happening now. Municipalities are taking what belongs to us all and divvying it up to individuals (mostly locals or businesses) who are then permitted to stake out a claim. That claim, in effect, consists of a mooring of some sort, and the surrounding water/bottom out about 60-80 feet from the mooring.

I do think it's a fair question as to what limits should be placed on this practice, since it infringes heavily on "rights" supposedly belonging to us all. This is an excellent area to be taken up by the Federal government, were it willing to do so. Unfortunately, I don't think it's likely at the present time that one could get their attention. Boaters groups, the industry, elected representatives, etc. should be concerned enough to explore this and suggest feasible courses of action.

Meanwhile, I'm not holding my breath for legislative or judicial relief. So, I believe the only reasonable course of action for cruising sailors is to recognize the existing situation for what it is, try to be as neighborly and considerate as possible, and carry on.

This means anchoring where you don't interfere with existing moorings or boats using them. Where this isn't possible, it might mean tying up to an unused mooring, prepared to move if necessary (even if the "owner" shows up at an inopportune time).

I sure don't like the idea of tying up to an unknown mooring, though. You don't know what's on the bottom, and you can't know the condition of the penant or chain. Much better to avoid them if you possibly can.

Later, when you are ashore, by all means see if you can poke a stick at someone or some organization able to make sense of an increasingly chaotic and inhospitable-to-cruisers situation.


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Old 13-03-2007, 18:13   #20
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I believe all of the discussion thus far has related to areas within a town. I have found places, s.a. the Misery Islands off of Manchester Mass., where 3 miles distant towns have placed moorings, and the rest of the space is closely spaced private moorings. If you happen to know the system, you know the town moorings are free, if they aren't taken. If you don't know (there are no signs), or they are all taken, and all that remain are private moorings taking up all the space -- what is one to do?
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Old 13-03-2007, 18:25   #21
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The other side of the coin. About 2 weeks ago, I went from being at anchor, to "on the ball" here in Boot Key Harbor. This costs me $170 a month more ... however, it turns out that this harbor is noticeable for 2 things, a bottom with poor holding, and high wind speeds. Every time a cold front goes through, there are "drag races" in the harbor .... something I no longer have to worry about. For what it's worth, they added 61 new mooring balls, and as of the 2nd day they were available, every single one was GLADLY taken!
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Old 13-03-2007, 18:44   #22
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I've hung out on a few mooring balls before that belong to others without asking permission. But it's typically something like the dead of winter, no one is anywhere near the mooring field, and I'm there for a night or two, tops.

In a place that has any kind of activity, I treat a mooring field like an empty slip; you'd be a fool to park in it without prior consent.

My reasoning for this is that plenty of people have already tied up to one of those and caused enough headache, that when you're tying up there's probably someone watching with binocs saying "some idiot is tying up on a ball again...", and they're going to come pay you a visit soon.

Again, in the middle of off season with zilch activity, it's usually a moot point.
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Old 16-03-2007, 11:51   #23
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Sand Dollar,
I am new here but I have some experience in the Virgins so I will chime in. I have to agree that common courtesy would prevail and you don't want to anchor in a place that precludes someon using a mooring even if its not occupied at the time of anchorage. There are lots of moorings all over the islands. Alot as said above belong to resorts like BEYC. There are also a lot that belong the the Park Services in both the BVI and the USVI. If you prefer to stay on the hook just make sure you are not in one of the Marine Protected Areas (National Parks) were any kind of anchoring is prohibited. There are many places you may want to stop even if not for the night that this applies and you will have to use a national park mooring for these. As for local customs I was on Jost Vandyke a couple of weeks ago at the Soggy Dollar Bar at Whites Bay and a powerboat that runs daytrips from St Thomas came in a made a boat that was anchored next to his permanent mooring, a front row seat to Soggy Dollar, move so that he could tie up and let his passangers go ashore. It seemed to be a polite exchange between two charter captains but the anchored boat quickly moved. As to distrusting unknown moorings, there is a Virgin Traders Rental Trawler on the rocks near Cane Garden Bay as I write this that snaped the mooring at the screw and drifted to shore.
Hope this helps.
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