Originally Posted by Sparx
South of Portland it seems there are few places to anchor. Active Captain
suggests mooring balls have filled up most of what used to be anchorages
. What process do you use to secure a mooring?
I am traveling in May to early June. Is it practical to just show up, find a suitable mooring? Or is calling ahead more the norm?
As a southern sailor there are few places requiring advance reservations in my normal range.
Yes, "destination" moorings have filled up many of the best anchorages. Mooring rights are assigned by the local municipality. All someone has to do is show up at the Town Hall with $100 or $150 and they can reserve a spot at some remote
anchorage where no locals have a boat
that needs a "real" mooring. This gives them the right to put out a block, with chain up to a mooring ball, effectively reserving that plot of water
for them forever, even if they only use it one or two weekends per year.
Totally against the spirit of the law, but that's what's done in many places.
As a transient boater, you show up and find the anchorage filled with mostly unused (or sometimes, ALL unused) mooring balls. No place to anchor, and you're not legally allowed to use a private mooring.
In many places (such as The Goslings in Casco Bay) this ownership
is not enforced by anyone but the owner themself. It's understood that you can "borrow" the mooring if the owner isn't around, as long as you leave if they arrive. As I mentioned, this informal understanding mostly applies to the yacht club moorings in Gosport Harbor (but NOT the local fishermen's moorings.) The obscene screaming lady from one of the yacht clubs, who used to try to "enforce" that club's rights to even unused moorings, hasn't been seen (heard?) much the last couple of years.
Borrowing a mooring, however, puts you at some risk. I've personally seen boats go on the rocks in a squall because the mooring was not adequately maintained, or someone put a large boat on a mooring that was rigged for a smaller vessel. It happens almost every year at Gosport.
Mooring chains and other tackle need to be checked, and usually some component replaced, every year. If that hasn't been done on the mooring you choose, or if you choose a mooring with a block too small to hold your boat, you could end up on the rocks.
May and early June are pretty quiet along the Maine coast. You shouldn't have much company, or much competition for moorings, anchorages or marinas.
In towns with Municipal moorings you can call or hail (on 16) the town "harbormaster." Early season it's best to have the phone
number; the harbormasters may not be out on the boats or at the docks mid-week.