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Old 06-20-2016, 02:55 PM   #1
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Mooring Etiquette

We're up in Casco Bay Maine and after talking with locals from Freeport, were given a bunch of great anchorages to visit. The basic advice is that if there is an unattended private mooring, that is ok to pick up and use. Of course, it is also noted that you would have to move if the owner returned. What is the "Mooring Edicutte "? We are long seasoned to anchoring, but rather new to mooring. Problem is, that especially around ports of Massachusetts and New Hamshire, anchorages seem to be going to mooring fields. Comments anyone?
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Old 06-20-2016, 03:16 PM   #2
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Well, I hate private moorings, particularly in Maine where they are installed with no permits. Someone just drops one in the middle of a great anchorage.


But I am not beyond using one. But I would back down very hard on one first. If it fails, well too bad owner.


Yes, I guess courtesy suggests moving if the real owner shows up even if he showed no courtesy in putting it there in the first place.


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Old 06-20-2016, 04:14 PM   #3
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So, how does one establish/prove/show ownership, legal or not legal, of a mooring?

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Old 06-20-2016, 04:25 PM   #4
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So, how does one establish/prove/show ownership, legal or not legal, of a mooring?
In Washington State, they could produce the mooring buoy permit issued by the state.
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Old 06-20-2016, 05:00 PM   #5
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Etiquette..
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Old 06-20-2016, 05:07 PM   #6
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Or it would be written in permanent marker or paint on the mooring buoy.

I don't trust them and I am not about to try and break someone else's property to test if it is OK for me to use for free. Plus the possible hassle of having to disengage and re-moor if the owner shows up, and if they do when you are away from the boat?

The only time we used one was in the Thimble Islands where the generous owner happened by in his skiff as we were looking for a place to anchor, and offered us his; he knew it was strong enough for us. Even passed us up the pennant.
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Old 06-20-2016, 05:18 PM   #7
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I've only used state-operated public buoys which are available first-one-available. Moorings are rather uncommon here.

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Old 06-20-2016, 05:50 PM   #8
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We're up in Casco Bay Maine and after talking with locals from Freeport, were given a bunch of great anchorages to visit. The basic advice is that if there is an unattended private mooring, that is ok to pick up and use. Of course, it is also noted that you would have to move if the owner returned. What is the "Mooring Edicutte "? We are long seasoned to anchoring, but rather new to mooring. Problem is, that especially around ports of Massachusetts and New Hamshire, anchorages seem to be going to mooring fields. Comments anyone?
In our neck of the Maine waters, that is what is done. At your own risk and perhaps of your mooring neighbors of course. Different areas will have different customs and, shudder, regulations.

If any TFrs are going to be in Buck's Harbor, Maine, this summer, our primary mooring is available. Just PM me for location. Inspected annually, heavy tackle, very sheltered. No blowboats need apply as depth at extreme low tide is about 5 feet.
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Old 06-20-2016, 06:19 PM   #9
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In Maine, mooring permits are issued by the local harbormaster. They may or may not be strictly enforced.

Traditionally, and per ordinance in most towns, working boats and shorefront landowners have "first dibs" on a mooring to keep their boat at all season. In populated areas, there may be a waiting list - sometimes decades long.

The problem is the proliferation of "destination" moorings that are NOT used to keep a boat on all season. Some are only used a few days a year. These can completely fill a popular anchorage, making it unusable to everyone else.

I find this practice problematic. The federal government allows the States to regulate the waterways as a public trust. They should be available on some sort of fair and equal basis for all citizens. Allowing local towns to assign a section of anchorage exclusively for the occasional recreational use of one individual ought to be against the law.

But the law is what the lawmen do. And that's how it's done in Maine. So the unwritten etiquette has developed that it's OK to use one of these destination moorings if the owner isn't around. At your own risk, and at the risk of being kicked off, of course. Not an ideal situation, to be sure.
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Old 06-20-2016, 06:56 PM   #10
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Here on Mount Desert Island moorings are assigned by the towns. I was on a waiting list for ten years before I got my mooring. I pay an annual fee to the town to keep my mooring. As far as the mooring itself goes I own it. It is inspected every three years. All the moorings here have numbers assigned by the towns on them. In addition many people have their name and/or their boat name on the mooring. My mooring has both my boat names and my name. My pickup buoy also has a flag that says "In use 2016" on it. Despite that I have to run people off my mooring frequently during the summer. If I come back and find an unoccupied boat on my mooring I call the harbormaster who moves the boat to a town mooring. Harbormasters are law enforcement officers.

Most places have rental moorings available. Rental moorings are generally inspected annually. If there are none available, call the harbormaster and ask if there are any moorings available. The harbormaster knows which moorings are in use and what size boat they are set up for. If you just pick up a mooring it may only be sized for a 16' boat and a trawler would drag it in even a moderate wind. Also moorings are spaced based on the boat size they are set up for. For example, my mooring is sized for a 40' boat (3 ton granite block, 1-1/4" bottom chain, 5/8" top chain and 1" mooring pennant). A mooring next to mine is sized for a 20' day sailer and has a 150' mushroom with 5/16" chain and a 1/2" pennant. A trawler on that mooring could swing into my boat and drag the mooring in anything over 15 knots.
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Old 06-20-2016, 07:04 PM   #11
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For me, the main questions about 'borrowing' a mooring anywhere, are when was it last maintained and what size boat was it designed for?
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Old 06-20-2016, 07:10 PM   #12
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Has anyone heard of guest/public docks? They're much more convenient than a temporary mooring.
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Old 06-20-2016, 07:34 PM   #13
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Has anyone heard of guest/public docks? They're much more convenient than a temporary mooring.
We have public docks here but they have a two hour limit with no overnight stays allowed. If you want to tie up to a dock in this part of Maine you are going to have to go to a marina and pay $2.75 to $4.00 per foot for the night.
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Old 06-20-2016, 07:39 PM   #14
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Has anyone heard of guest/public docks? They're much more convenient than a temporary mooring.
Again, it is a regional thing. If guest docks were readily available, folks would know about them.
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Old 06-20-2016, 07:47 PM   #15
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We have public docks here but they have a two hour limit with no overnight stays allowed. If you want to tie up to a dock in this part of Maine you are going to have to go to a marina and pay $2.75 to $4.00 per foot for the night.
So, what's your complaint? Anchor if you don't believe the location is worth it.
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Old 06-20-2016, 07:54 PM   #16
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So, what's your complaint? Anchor if you don't believe the location is worth it.
No complaint, just stating the local situation that we don't have public docks you can tie up to overnight here on Mount Desert Island, ME.
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Old 06-20-2016, 07:57 PM   #17
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If you pick up someone else`s mooring, for sure you know it is not yours.
Our Maritime Authority grants annual licenses to install mooring apparatus. Many boats are kept on private and marina owned moorings. You are required to service it annually. There is a practice of picking up other peoples moorings (OPMs), and getting off if the owner returns. Though Ku Ring Gai MYC instructs members not to require a non member to move off at night from its Club moorings in Refuge Bay.
National Parks provides moorings for 24 hour use for boats to 15M in some of the nicest places you could overnight.
While an empty mooring might be seen as inviting usage, I think you pick up an OPM at your own risk, and if you damage it you are responsible to the owner whose property you used without permission.
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Old 06-20-2016, 08:59 PM   #18
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I would'nt use a mooring bouy unless there was a sign (at least slightly weathered) saying anyone can use this mooring bouy anytime.
If it's not yours you've got no business latching onto it.
Sure glad I don't live on the east coast.
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Old 06-20-2016, 08:59 PM   #19
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New South Wales has some very good public boating facilities compared to Queensland. We recently bought our boat up from Sydney to Brisbane and found the public moorings, jetties and pump out facilities in New South Wales very good. In Queensland they are almost non existent.

As Bruce said moorings in Australia are pretty much completely regulated by the state and I wouldn't use anyone's private mooring without permission,

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Old 06-21-2016, 12:53 AM   #20
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Agree with Eric on this one. I prefer to anchor and never use a dock while boating because its usually just a big noisy party going on. No thanks. But I admit to being somewhat anti social.
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