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Old 01-08-2020, 23:14   #1
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Using private mooring buoys in BC Canada

Having trouble finding out about private mooring buoys. I've been sailing BC waters for over 10 years but over this time it's now increasingly difficult and in many cases impossible to even safely anchor in places I used to be able to due to all the private mooring buoys. What frustrates me is that many of the private mooring buoys are unoccupied.

What I would like to do is tie up to a private mooring buoy and call the number that legally should be there and check if it's ok?. Is that a reasonable assumption or am I just asking for trouble? How protective are people of their mooring buoys? Looking at comments on other threads it would seem people would like to either sink my boat or set it adrift!

My particular situation at the moment is I want to visit a friend on Mayne island but looking at Google maps the areas suitable for anchoring are full of private mooring buoys - half of which are unoccupied (the one small public dock is full of double rafted boats).

I'm also confused by the legality of it all. A person can have ownership of the physical buoy but the buoy is on crown land which is public? To me it's like putting traffic cones on a public road to reserve a parking spot for whenever they want but no one else can park.
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Old 02-08-2020, 05:39   #2
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Re: Using private mooring buoys in BC Canada

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Originally Posted by RichardGSW View Post
Having trouble finding out about private mooring buoys. I've been sailing BC waters for over 10 years but over this time it's now increasingly difficult and in many cases impossible to even safely anchor in places I used to be able to due to all the private mooring buoys. What frustrates me is that many of the private mooring buoys are unoccupied.

What I would like to do is tie up to a private mooring buoy and call the number that legally should be there and check if it's ok?. Is that a reasonable assumption or am I just asking for trouble? How protective are people of their mooring buoys? Looking at comments on other threads it would seem people would like to either sink my boat or set it adrift!

My particular situation at the moment is I want to visit a friend on Mayne island but looking at Google maps the areas suitable for anchoring are full of private mooring buoys - half of which are unoccupied (the one small public dock is full of double rafted boats).

I'm also confused by the legality of it all. A person can have ownership of the physical buoy but the buoy is on crown land which is public? To me it's like putting traffic cones on a public road to reserve a parking spot for whenever they want but no one else can park.
My boat was damaged by someone who tied up to a mooring buoy that subsequently broke after they'd left the boat, allowing their boat to blow into mine (mine was tied securely to my pier). It's the highly irresponsible, in my opinion, to use a mooring buoy if you don't know the condition or size of the anchor and chain. Forget about problems from the owner and think for a minute about the damage your 10,000 lb boat will do when it breaks free of a mooring designed for a 2,000 lb boat or one that hasn't been used in years with a chain nearly rusted through where it attaches to the anchor or any number of other issues that make it patently unsafe for you boat to use.
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:23   #3
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Re: Using private mooring buoys in BC Canada

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardGSW View Post
Having trouble finding out about private mooring buoys. I've been sailing BC waters for over 10 years but over this time it's now increasingly difficult and in many cases impossible to even safely anchor in places I used to be able to due to all the private mooring buoys. What frustrates me is that many of the private mooring buoys are unoccupied.

What I would like to do is tie up to a private mooring buoy and call the number that legally should be there and check if it's ok?. Is that a reasonable assumption or am I just asking for trouble? How protective are people of their mooring buoys? Looking at comments on other threads it would seem people would like to either sink my boat or set it adrift!

My particular situation at the moment is I want to visit a friend on Mayne island but looking at Google maps the areas suitable for anchoring are full of private mooring buoys - half of which are unoccupied (the one small public dock is full of double rafted boats).

I'm also confused by the legality of it all. A person can have ownership of the physical buoy but the buoy is on crown land which is public? To me it's like putting traffic cones on a public road to reserve a parking spot for whenever they want but no one else can park.
I think it's going to be all over the map. Some people will be fine with it if they aren't using it, others will will be protective as h#ll. The issue of how good the mooring is and what boat they put it in for is a big unknown to me.

But I feel your pain. Last time we were in Garden Bay we snugged in between two "illegal" moorings only to have to move when one of the owners came back at night and his boat started to drift into us because his tether was too long at low tide. And bitching that he didn't have the proper phone etc. was pointless.
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:58   #4
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Re: Using private mooring buoys in BC Canada

I dont have any problem tying up to an unused buoy if there is no available anchorage. If the owner comes along and complains, then move to the next buoy. I try to find one without a name or phone number (unfortunately these seem to be in the majority) and then if the ďownerĒ gets shirty I can point out the buoy is illegal/deemed to have been abandoned and Iím not moving unless he can prove ownership. As to the condition of the ground tackle, I donít think itís much of an issue provided you are staying on the boat and the weather is fair.

What particularly bugs me is that many of the owners of the mooring buoys are charter companies or yacht clubs etc. who have no connection to the upland and basically go around permanently reserving moorage that is only occasionally used.
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Old 02-08-2020, 09:12   #5
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Re: Using private mooring buoys in BC Canada

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Originally Posted by RichardGSW View Post
...I'm also confused by the legality of it all. A person can have ownership of the physical buoy but the buoy is on crown land which is public? To me it's like putting traffic cones on a public road to reserve a parking spot for whenever they want but no one else can park.
Exactly. Drives me nuts to see these things, especially when they take up good anchoring space. How is this even allowed .

I get why locals want a mooring. But for g-d sake, if you're going to drop one, put it in a way that doesn't obstruct the main achorage. A mooring can be much closer to shore, or much further out. Leave the anchorage free!

Personally, I have never tied up to an unknown mooring. The few I've ever used have been "official" in the sense of some authority placing them. IOW, I had some confidence about the quality and the size of the mooring.

Grabbing an unknown mooring would be a last resort for me, given my boat's specs.
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Old 03-08-2020, 08:21   #6
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Re: Using private mooring buoys in BC Canada

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To me it's like putting traffic cones on a public road to reserve a parking spot for whenever they want but no one else can park.
Exactly. I have also been in the same situation with an anchorage full of mostly unnocuppied private moorings. Can someone educate me on the exact legality of this?
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Old 03-08-2020, 13:03   #7
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Re: Using private mooring buoys in BC Canada

We just had this same discussion last week with friends. Cruising up the west shore of Saltspring Isl, (Vesuvius, etc), mooring balls instead of being kept to the side are placed dead centre in the different small bays making swing room an issue. It is beyond rare to see a ball with owner's name and phone#.

We have been in a situation in Montague where it was a full anchorage, and the boat ahead of us kept dragging anchor towards us. Not looking forward to a good nights sleep and having little confidence in our newly/poorly anchored neighbours we started looking for an alternate place to drop the hook before the sun set in 30 minutes. My wife spotted an empty mooring ball with binoculars with a phone number on it so we phoned the owner. He was beyond kind and offered it to us for the night without issues, and confirmed the ball could hold up to a 50' sailboat without issues.

If the balls are located in anchorages in such a way that they don't screw up the swing room for those that anchor, and they are marked clearly I have no issue. That doesn't seem to be the norm lately however.
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