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Need your help. I have no experience with moorings

Jun 14, 2010
1,396
Quorning Dragonfly 1200 home
Thanks @Kings Gambit - I posted without directly referring to the COLREGs so used an incorrect term. The point I wanted to make is that you will most likely have to have an all around white light (anchor light) if you are on a mooring, whether you set it up yourself or you are at a municipal or club mooring field. Being in a mooring field doesn not negate the requirement. A mooring is nothing more than a "fixed anchor point" as far as the COLREGs are concerned.

We got into this when the SC DNR came by and notified our club that they would start writing citations for not having all around white lights at night. We investigaged and sure enough he was correct. As a secondary issue, we are immediatly adjacent to the ICW and if there were a collision at night I"m not sure the moored boat would not be cited and deemed at least partially responsible for the collsion.
You're reporting something very unusual. Usually, the local officials (and local boaters) treat an established mooring field as if it's a Special Anchorage (whether or not it's designated officially on the charts). What I'm thinking is "Who pissed in the local DNR's cornflakes?" ;)

A 20-watt solar panel, cheap solar regulator, and LED anchor light can address that issue.

PS - I wonder if it's difficult to get the Corp of Engineers to establish the designated area officially?
 
Jul 26, 2009
216
. . .
Fellow sailors'
All of my sailing experience has been based on the boat beings docked in a marina. I am now moving to a mooring ball at the local yacht club. Any tips and/or suggestions of the pro/cons of mooring would be appreciated. Would rather learn from fellow sailors than by trail and error.

There is one question I have now. I have a 28ft ODay with a Universal 5411 inboard diesel. The boat has 2 batteries. At the dock I have had shore power which charges the battery. Now being based at a mooring, will the running of my engine be enough to recharge the batteries? Does the running of my engine recharge my batteries? I'm not a big "electrical" user. Will the two batteries be a adequate source for a casual power user? My power use will be weekend use of cabin lights for a hour or two. Starting the engine. Don't use electrical water pumps or ship-to-shore radio.
You're scenario sounds identical to ours. We've spent the last 2 seasons on a mooring but prior to that we were on a slip for almost 10 years with more water and power than we knew what to do with. We're 28 ft with 2 - 100AH batteries (1/2/both switch). Primarily day sailors outside of a few week long trips a year. Minor power needs - instruments/GPS/autohelm (AH rarely used while sailing). We typically motor ~15-20 minutes out and the same back. The info already provided is most of what you'll need to get started, but here are a few more comments:
  1. ToddS is spot on about the benefits of a mooring. Not sure we'd go back to a slip in our current sailing grounds for the way we use the boat.
  2. RoyS's comments about birds - unfortunately true. Our first season, seems like no one in the mooring field ever got hit - not a drop on our boat all year. This season the birds are destroying thousands of dollars of canvas. Literally, people will have to throw away their canvas at the end of the season. Locals don't know why, but it's the worst they've ever seen. You can't entirely stop it, but think about putting an obstruction above your spreaders. Either wire in an X pattern from the shrouds to the mast or use adhesive bird spikes on the spreaders themselves. Same goes for the top of the mast or they'll dance all over your windex/anemometer. We also hang flags between the mast and backstay to discourage them from perching on the boom. We bought this flag set from Taylor and it's decent quality Taylor Flag Set. Nothing is 100%, but if your boat is less attractive to land on than your neighbor's you might get spared.
  3. +1 on the pickup stick, also marketed as a Mast Mooring Buoy. Buy the longest stick you can afford to have shipped. We bought this one from Jamestown Pickup pendant. It's supposed to be sliver free - which so far it is. Wish we got the 6' version. 4' works fine but I have to get on my knees to grab it from the bow. A longer stick will make single handed mooring a little easier. Usually the wife's at the helm, so not a big deal.
  4. Reminder, we don't have a significant power draw, but to top off our batteries during the week I installed a 30W solar panel off our stern rail using a couple Sugatsune brackets SS Brackets. I'll eventually get around to doing a proper write-up on the project, but in large part I just followed Maine Sail's article Maine Sail Installing a Small Panel. I used an MPPT controller Genasun Controller and this panel 30W Panel. The setup is working really well so far. We have a Smart Gauge battery monitor and it's consistently at a 100% SOC when we get back to the boat.
  5. Remember to bring your boat keys BEFORE the launch drops you off...
 
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Oct 26, 2010
1,206
Hunter 40.5 Beaufort, SC
You're reporting something very unusual. Usually, the local officials (and local boaters) treat an established mooring field as if it's a Special Anchorage (whether or not it's designated officially on the charts). What I'm thinking is "Who pissed in the local DNR's cornflakes?" ;)

PS - I wonder if it's difficult to get the Corp of Engineers to establish the designated area officially?
Wish I knew. Although it doesn't really impact me as I have always displayed an all around white light when on the mooring even before i knew it was a requirement. With my location a hundred yards or so off the ICW I thought it a good idea anyway.

We explored and discussed the idea of getting the Coast Guard (now part of Homeland Security I believe) to designate us a Special Anchorage. The advice from an retired CG Admiral was a DON'T DO IT! Being along the ICW it will encourage ICW transient boaters to anchor near or even in you mooring field. "Look Honey, here's a good anchorage, it says its "Special." Also, it will encourage people to anchor there during storm conditions. "Look Honey, this place says Special Anchorage, it must be a good place for a storm anchorage."
 
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Jan 19, 2010
648
Catalina 34 Casco Bay
I've never kept a boat at a dock (other than temporary tie ups)... only moorings. The obvious obstacles are water and electric... and it seems like lots of folks have chimed in on that. I'll restrain myself from repeating the same things others have said, or debating those points that are personal-preference issues as to how you keep your batteries charged. Many good suggestions already though... start with the easy ones (replace all bulbs with modern LEDs) and build up only as necessary to the more elaborate/expensive ones (upgrading alternator, etc.).
What I can say, is that I LOVE being at a mooring. Some perks include:
  • Quiet and solitude. Sitting in the cockpit I don't have to worry nearly as much about loud, obnoxious neighbors, or nearby engine exhaust, or privacy related to people peering into my cabin, etc.
  • FACING INTO THE WIND. No matter how windy it is, I can sit under my dodger and read a book out of the wind. Additionally, I can leave the companionway OPEN under the dodger for fresh air, even in the hardest of rain. The hatches ALWAYS face into the wind to catch a breeze sucking fresh air in as needed. A dinghy tied to the stern always hangs back from my transom rather than fouling/rubbing elsewhere or obstructing someone's nearby slip.
  • Security. While this is FAR from foolproof, I am more confident (in my particular harbor at least) that nobody is going to swipe something out of my cockpit, or break in... At a dock, ANYONE can steal stuff, at a mooring it requires that someone has a boat, and a little more of a "plan" to break in, rather than just walking by and quickly swiping things.
  • FACING INTO THE WIND (Part 2). Assuming you have proper mooring tackle, and chafing gear, etc. etc... I'd RATHER be at a mooring for a big named storm, than tied to a dock. Wind is always coming predictably from the bow (minimum possible windage exposure)... the boat isn't rubbing against docks or pilings... other nearby boats are less likely to pile up against mine if they do break free.
  • Pulling up to a mooring (into the wind) is way easier than pulling into a tight slip once you're used to it. And if you overshoot by a few feet... just circle around and try again... rather than plowing into a dock or neighbor's boat.
  • Cheap(er): at least where I'm located I save a fortune at a mooring compared to paying for a slip.
Enjoy!
You can always tell a docked boat from a moored boat. Those nasty telltale fender rubs on the hull, docking lines on the fore deck, and in many cases a boot top beard on one side...Oh, and in a storm the moored boat is always riding into the wind. Docked boats.... well we've all seen the news clips of marina boats bashing against the floats....
 
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Likes: ToddS
Nov 30, 2009
69
Oday 28 Lake Michigan
WOW. I thought I was listing a boring subject matter. The amount of answers has been great, and the suggestions and tips will be put to use. I live in the big city and have friends who have moved to the country. I've always noticed the guys that have moved out of the country, don't come back to the city. From the sound of some of these posts it seems the feels here might be the same, there is a lot of positive benefits moving from a dock to a mooring. I was just thinking how is my wife going to like this? How are the grandkids going to do getting on the boat at a mooring? How am I going to lift the beer cooler into the boat (it's very heavy, don't know why, but not for captain consumption..........while underway!!!!!). I especially like the "remember the ignition keys".
I'm going to look into the small flexible solar panels as a way to keep the batteries topped off.
 
Jun 14, 2010
1,396
Quorning Dragonfly 1200 home
Wish I knew. Although it doesn't really impact me as I have always displayed an all around white light when on the mooring even before i knew it was a requirement. With my location a hundred yards or so off the ICW I thought it a good idea anyway.

We explored and discussed the idea of getting the Coast Guard (now part of Homeland Security I believe) to designate us a Special Anchorage. The advice from an retired CG Admiral was a DON'T DO IT! Being along the ICW it will encourage ICW transient boaters to anchor near or even in you mooring field. "Look Honey, here's a good anchorage, it says its "Special." Also, it will encourage people to anchor there during storm conditions. "Look Honey, this place says Special Anchorage, it must be a good place for a storm anchorage."
That sounds like a fear, not a real thing.
 
Oct 26, 2010
1,206
Hunter 40.5 Beaufort, SC
That sounds like a fear, not a real thing.
Absolutely @Captain Larry-DH . That "fear" that it will encourage people to anchor near our mooring field may be unfounded since it is so difficult to identify a Special Anchorage and many are not marked on the charts (see my other post on Sepcial Anchorage list). So it may very well be nearly impossible for someone to know it is a Special Anchorage. We already have a problem with people anchoring very near our mooring field not properly understanding that the area has a hard bottom (unlike just a mile or two away, which is mud). People already see our mooring field and think it must be a good place to anchor and we've had them drag right through, sometimes with and sometimes without damage.

The notice from the DNR is real though - we have been put on notice that they intend to enforce what they percieve to be the all around white light requirement.

Again, however, with our proximity to the ICW with many many transient snowbird boaters going without some sort of lighting seems ill advised, irrespective of any COLREGs exemption or not.
 
Jan 22, 2008
14
Hunter 30_88-94 Ipswich, Ma MA
Make sure you put chafe guards on your pennants. Along with a pickup buoy as someone previously mentioned, we put pool noodles on both our pennants. The pennants will float with much less chance on them getting wrapped or fouled when you’re out sailing.
We have a dinghy, which we tie off to the pennants if we’re out for a day sail, so that solves the problem of waiting for the launch.
Our 21st season on our mooring is winding down. Our mooring, a 300lb. mushroom, will get pulled for the winter and stored ashore by our mooring guy. He does an inspection in the Spring and replaces anything that needs to be changed out.
Battery management is key. We switch our batteries as needed between starting and house, switching to All, when motoring to charge both batteries. We also have a solar trickle charger.
We really enjoy being on a mooring. As other have mentioned, solitude and quiet at night, privacy, and social distancing at it’s best.