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Old 08-21-2011, 08:23 AM   #1
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Safe & secure on a state parks mooring bouy?

We were anchored in Reid Harbor (Stuart Island) last week - no mooring bouys available, but no big winds forecast, so why spend the $12 a night?* Dropped the Fulford and settled in for a couple of days R&R.

A sailboat was next to us for the night on*a state bouy and left early the next morning.* We took the dink out to set crab pots, and when we returned, we were surprised to see how close that bouy was to the next one down the line.** And a couple of hours later, they were practically touching!

Hailed the state parks boat when they came that afternoon, and they went over and pulled the bouy right out.**It had drifted too far by then to see how much chain came up, but it surely wasn't connected to anything any more.

So much for feeling safe & secure and not having to worry about dragging in the middle of the night!

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Old 08-21-2011, 08:59 AM   #2
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RE: Safe & secure on a state parks mooring bouy?

Chris it's good to see you! Been wondering about you. Re the post *.....yup ....frequently one just needs to do the job himself to get it done right. Just this summer we watched the CG picking up one of the 57 nav-aids in Wrangle Narrows a mile or two from where it was supposed to be. We noticed it's absence as we passed where it was supposed to be. They were using heavy equipment aboard a buoy tender to snatch the big can up. Good to hear you've been cruising.*

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Old 08-21-2011, 04:14 PM   #3
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RE: Safe & secure on a state parks mooring bouy?

Welcome back, Chris! Did you get all your projects done this summer? Got most of mine done...just need more boating time. Our fishing season is almost upon us. The salmon are starting to show and the stripers should become more active as the waters cool.

Let me know when you make it through the Sacramento area and we'll hit the delta.
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Old 08-21-2011, 09:26 PM   #4
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RE: Safe & secure on a state parks mooring bouy?

This isn't the first time I've heard of a Washington State Parks bouy failure. The other one involved damage. A friend of the family shared his philosophy with me concerning the fact that you have no idea what is under the water, unless you put it there. That's why he would never use a bouy, but instead relied on HIS gear.
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Old 08-21-2011, 09:54 PM   #5
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RE: Safe & secure on a state parks mooring bouy?

At the very least, I think the moral of the story is to take sightings and set the anchor alarm on the GPS even if you're tied off on something "solid."

Finally got the old girl going by mid-July and tooks some high school buds for a week in the Gulf islands.* Fabulous time, good weather, and a great deal of fermented grape juice ended up meeting a happy end.

I will post later*about an engine surge problem with an unexpected solution - the moral of that one also being "assume nothing."

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Old 08-22-2011, 08:22 AM   #6
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RE: Safe & secure on a state parks mooring bouy?

The maintenance of the state park bouys in WA has deteriorated. A friend was camphosting at Blake Island in June and had a Sailboat bring in a bouy with 30 feet of chain and no ground tackle. They had noticed shore getting further and further away. In Reid harbor last month we saw one bouy which should have been just south of the dock had slowly migrated north towards the next bouy in line. They were still 40 feet apart or so at the time.

I suppose we should start paying more taxes to give the state money to maintain these items. That is the universal answer.
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Old 08-22-2011, 08:47 AM   #7
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RE: Safe & secure on a state parks mooring bouy?

Most if not all of the marine park buoys in the San Juan Islands are now secured to the bottom with screw-type anchors, not the dual-block concrete anchors they used to use. This was done to reduce damage to the eelgrass beds on the bottom. However if they are still using the same system to connect the buoy to the anchor, this consists of a length of chain at the buoy end followed by a very heavy line down to the anchor. I have no idea how the screw-anchors are holding up as the friend who used to do some of the maintenance on the park buoys in the northern San Juans has long since moved on to another job with the parks department. But the chain-line-anchor setup offers several failure modes if left to its own devices for too long.
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Old 08-22-2011, 02:15 PM   #8
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RE: Safe & secure on a state parks mooring bouy?

I was in Eagle Harbor on Cypress Island two weeks ago hanging on one of the DNR bouys. *On the low tide, we only had 6 feet of water and you could see all the way down to the cap on the screw anchors and they were heavy chain from top to bottom.

Incidentally, I heard from a friend at DNR that they are looking for a method of charging for use of their bouys, like State Parks is doing. *Annual permit or a daily use charge, but they have no docks or the infrastructure to collect the on site fees yet.

They have gone permit crazy in Washington State. *Currently State parks has a per use charge for docks and bouys or an annual marine permit (by the boat length), $150 for me. They have a new permit (Horizons Permit $30) for the access to all State Parks and a seperate permit to park your car in a State fishing access parking lot. If you set a private anchor bouy in front of your water front property you have to have a DNR permit for that.

I have no problem paying for the use of their facilities, but couldn't they have one permit that covers it all??

Larry B
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Old 09-13-2011, 11:01 PM   #9
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RE: Safe & secure on a state parks mooring bouy?

Well...I just had my own "interesting" experience with this.* We pulled into Fossil Bay at Sucia on Sunday and grabbed a mooring bouy on the north side near one of the small islands.* By evening all bouys and the docks were full.* It was a beautiful moonlit night, flat calm, no wind when we hit the sack.* Overnight, the wind started howling, the boat was rocking a bit, but hey, we're on a problem.

We were awakened about 6:30 by the sound of someone constantly yelling "Anyone on board?"* Still hoping it was aimed at another boat, I dragged my ass out of bed and found a ranger in his boat just outside.* My boat was now on the south side of the bay with the stern less than 20 feet from the shore, but still attached to the bouy.* Somehow we had dragged all or part of the mooring SE* through the south line of moored boats.* Thankfully, something had finally snagged and nothing had yet touched bottom.* I still don't know how we missed all the other boats.*

So, with the wind still howling, I had to quickly power up and anchor in very limited remaining space, with somewhat mixed results, before coffee!* It's a very nasty way to wake up, but could have easily been so much worse (read expensive).* We finally were able to get onto a vacated bouy but it remained windy into the next night and I could only doze fitfully, this time with my anchor alarm app set, until the wind finally died in the early hours.

My thanks to the ranger who "saved us", but his comment that "it happens" has definitely shaken my confidence in the state's mooring bouys.* Lesson learnt!*

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