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Old 03-12-2023, 12:13 AM   #1
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Mooring Buoy with House Purchase

Hi. We are looking at buying a home in Bellingham, WA that includes a mooring buoy. How can we assess if we could use this instead of a marina for our 34 Nordic Tug? It looks like the buoy is in ~20ft water per Navionics (MLLW?). Can look at tide charts over the year, but those are currently on the boat and not sure how accurate they'll be. The buoy is one among many in the bay. How can we tell how protected the bay is? Wondering about stormy weather. It would be great saving the $$$ on marina fees, but not sure how realistic this is.
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Old 03-12-2023, 12:23 AM   #2
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Official mooring buoys here are required to be serviced annually. Your insurer would likely insist on that as well. Ask for the service records, as they should indicate the vessel size that the mooring is rated for.
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Old 03-12-2023, 12:55 AM   #3
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Perhaps easier there but we found marinas do not welcome boats seeking watering, which is required way more frequently than fueling.
Our insurer charged extra premium when we had our boat off the marina and on a swing mooring for sale.
But on marina expenses, you will save $$$. Remember,no shorepower, think electrical self sufficiency.
Moorings can be strengthened for heavier/higher windage boats. The annual servicing Brian raised is vital, there are multiple wear items underwater where chain connects to the concrete block, heavy chain gives way to lighter chain, and the connection to rope lines. The whole apparatus needs lifting and servicing annually. A bridle is better than one bow line. A mooring contractor can advise on suitability.
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Old 03-12-2023, 12:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huruta View Post
Hi. We are looking at buying a home in Bellingham, WA that includes a mooring buoy. How can we assess if we could use this instead of a marina for our 34 Nordic Tug? It looks like the buoy is in ~20ft water per Navionics (MLLW?). Can look at tide charts over the year, but those are currently on the boat and not sure how accurate they'll be. The buoy is one among many in the bay. How can we tell how protected the bay is? Wondering about stormy weather. It would be great saving the $$$ on marina fees, but not sure how realistic this is.
Your house can not really come with a mooring buoy. The state owns the ground and you will need to have the permit transferred to you. Not a real big deal but a technicality that should be properly handled so you donít loose the right to some one else.
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Old 03-12-2023, 04:13 AM   #5
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Iím a Bellingham fan but there are not tons of waterfront homes with buoys there. Bellingham bay is big and shallow and more often than not rough because the prevailing wind is from the south and thatís the one way itís not protectedóhuge fetch. Itís not a harbor.

And yeah any salt water buoy system needs to be monitored and maintained but even one in say a very protected harbor like Gig Harbor is inferior to a dock for a larger cruising boat.
Would not let these facts dissuade me from buying waterfront up there. Bíham is a maritime town quite close to world class cruising, and a Nordic tug is a great boat to enjoy it. Good luck!
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Old 03-12-2023, 05:28 AM   #6
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As mentioned above, the mooring is on government property. So most likely, there is a permit for the mooring. I would find out who handles that process and go check on that specific mooring. They may have records of when it was installed, last inspected, who did the inspection, and least depth of water. You might also be able to determine suitability of use based on other moorings and vessels in the area.

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Old 03-12-2023, 06:20 AM   #7
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Bellingham has similar tidal range to my home on Saltspring Island. My mooring buoy is in abt 20', like yours, at low tide. My setup is a highway block, 5'x2.5'x2.5' concrete block, 3/4" chain, inspected annually. I have had to replace chain after 4 yrs, then after another 6 yrs, so continue with annual inspections.
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Old 03-12-2023, 07:46 AM   #8
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Go here to start to learn about private mooring buoys in Washington State.

https://www.dnr.wa.gov/programs-and-.../mooring-buoys

As has been said Bellingham Bay is for the most part very exposed to southerly winds. Regarding determining depth. Don't put too much faith in a single data source. Navionics has been known to have errors and missing data.
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Old 03-13-2023, 11:34 AM   #9
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While some municipalities offer mooring rights to residents, not all moorings are tied to the property deed and transferrable. In fact many municipalities in New England, for example, prohibit the 'dynastic' transfer of moorings through generations. However, it varies by municipality.

You might need to discuss with the harbormaster. You might simply be able to buy a house and request a mooring, or more likely be added to the mooring wait list.
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Old 03-13-2023, 11:57 AM   #10
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Washington state requires moorings to be registered with the state. If is is a currently registered mooring it should be grandfathered and transferable. The state and other agencies have specific requirements for moorings and many recently installed moorings ( at least in the area of the state I have had them installed for clients) use helical screw systems vs the old concrete block or forklift weight /engine block's of the past. It is quite an ordeal to get the permits to have one installed so a mooring that is in place saves a boatload of time and money. That being said IMHO a mooring in Washington can be a bit of a P.I.T.A. as the birds, seals, otters love to make boats that sit on moorings a frequent place to have their morning,day and night constitutionals!
That being said I know folks that do make it work as a spot to keep their boats yeat round.
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Old 03-18-2023, 04:29 PM   #11
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Thank you all for replying and sorry for the delay. We have been busying buying a house! The information you all provided is SO helpful - that we don't own it, that the permit (on our purchase/sale) needs to be transferred, the website to learn more and all the general considerations for mooring it (water, electrical sufficiency). This is such a wonderful example of why this forum is so great! Thanks again.
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