Mooring etiquette

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by missinginaction, Nov 12, 2020.

  1. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Ike Senior Member

    Unfortunately there will always be people who pay no attention to the law or even common courtesy. It's interesting that you mention the Beach issue. Here on the West Coast all three coast states have laws making beaches public, BUT, some people still have beach ownership written into their deeds. Washington state even repealed part of the law essentially giving back ownership of some beaches to people who have that legacy title in their deed. A few years back I got kicked off a beach that used to be public.

    In California there has been an ongoing court battle over beach rights, particularly a beach where surfing is great and the surfers have the right to be there, but the only access to the beach is a tiny strip of land only a few feet wide from the road to the beach. That strip is owned by a very wealthy owner of a beach house, and he has refused to allow people to use it to access the beach. The previous owner had no issue with it. But this person put up signs and barriers to keep people out even though that little strip of property can't even be seen from his house, and he can't even hear people passing over that strip. He has lost continuously in court, but its still fighting it.
     
  2. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Not entirely accurate. Moorings in Rockland are privately owned by individuals, companies, the Rockland Yacht Club, the Apprenticeshop, etc. All moorings in Rockland Harbor require an annual permit from the city for which a fee is charged. Some moorings can be be rented by the day. There is a town dock but not a municipal marina. The Rockland Yacht Club rents moorings and is is the same building as the harbormaster's office.
     
  3. missinginaction
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    California law probably hasn't (or didn't) take selfishness into consideration. A few years back I was visiting Hawaii. I was impressed. We were staying at a place called The Outrigger Main Hotel in Waikiki. I noticed a path from the street out in front of the hotel that lead back to the beach. It wasn't very wide but it was well kept and obviously there for a reason. I asked an employee at the front desk about it. They proudly told me about Hawaiian and the island of Oahu's laws. Every 1/4 mile state law requires a 12' minimum beach access so that residents and tourists can access Hawaii's beaches and waters. This opened to 1/2 mile in places considered rural. It seemed that the people who live in Hawaii are quite proud of this law. I think they are wise to be proud. Think of the value of 12' of beach frontage in a place like Waikiki. It's there though, every 1,200 feet. In other places too, all over the islands.

    My understanding is that these laws and others protecting public access were written decades ago. Imagine what a place like Hawaii might be like today if these laws weren't on the books.

    I took some time to look into the consolidated laws of New York State. There is a group of laws called Navigation Laws. In these statutes is section 35-A "Floating Objects Other Than Aids To Navigation". Article 3 of Section 35A states:

    3. Adjacent upland owners may place one mooring buoy and one swimming float of not more than one hundred square feet of surface area, in the waters adjacent to and within the boundaries of their shoreline, provided however, that no floating object and no vessel or part thereof which is secured to a mooring buoy shall at any time extend more than one hundred feet from shore and further provided that no floating object may be placed in a navigable channel or in any location in which it will interfere with free and safe navigation or free access to another person's property. The commissioner shall have the right to remove or alter the location of any such buoy or float in the interest of navigation.

    Article 7 of the same section goes on to state:

    7. A violation of this section or the rules and regulations authorized herein shall constitute an offense punishable by a fine of not to exceed fifty dollars.

    As a practical matter, in 2020, how is a fine of no more than $50 any type of deterrent? I realize that the ocean is a different jurisdiction than inland waters. If mooring balls impede a vessels ability to navigate into or around the cove, wouldn't they be illegally placed by this definition?

    MIA
     
  4. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I think that you are trying to justify using someone's property without permission. If you were to tie up to my mooring and I came back with my boat, you would find yours floating adrift.
     
  5. pdwiley
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    pdwiley Senior Member

    A couple different scenarios here.

    If you picked up my mooring for a lunch stop or overnight stop and I wasn't using it, as long as you didn't damage it I wouldn't really care. Especially if you cleaned any mussels off of the pennant. If I came back I'd just politely ask you to move.

    If you left your boat on it while you went ashore out of sight of the mooring, that's a different matter. Then I wouldn't be pleased.

    I regularly lend my moorings out to others. I also pick up other peoples' moorings for short periods including an overnight stop. But I'll always move if asked, too, and I won't leave my boat unattended.
     
  6. Will Gilmore
    Joined: Aug 2017
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    +1
    Not that I have a mooring, but if I did, that's how I'd feel, as well.

    -Will (Dragonfly)
     
  7. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    You are suggesting the equivalent to camping out in that beach access , or taking it over for your personal use.
     
  8. missinginaction
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    Hi Gonz,

    I thought this was over. Look, I've never tied up to anyone's mooring nor did my buddy.

    The mooring you bought is in a mooring field and clearly marked on charts, right? Pretty obvious.

    I just raised the possibility of illegally placed moorings being placed such that an otherwise navigable cove was rendered not usable by transients for overnight anchoring. My friend described a situation where he was just trying to drop the hook for a night but found it impossible because an entire cove was littered with moorings. There were no boats there. No houses, no marina, no signs of life or signs at all. It was early November in Long Island Sound. Except for the occasional fisherman or boat going south boating season was over.

    Yes, I told him that if it had been me, I would have stayed there. If it had been my mooring, I would not have cared.

    I understand that you have strong feelings about this. You're entitled to them. And BTW, thanks for all the contributions you make to this site. I always enjoy reading them.

    Have a great week,

    MIA
     
  9. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    What did the chart say?
     
  10. brendan gardam
    Joined: Feb 2020
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    Location: east gippsland australia

    brendan gardam Senior Member

    It's only a mooring not a house or car. Anyone should be able to use them short term as long as they move if asked.
    I think setting someones boat adrift would land gonzo in a lot more trouble than the person using his mooring. I had a mooring of my own once and lots of people used it without asking because my boat was in a jetty berth. I was not bothered at all.
     
  11. Tom2x4
    Joined: Nov 2017
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    Location: Philly Area

    Tom2x4 Junior Member

    interesting statement from state of Maryland website:
    The State does not require a permit for single recreational mooring buoys. The federal government requires no permit either, granting permission under the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. However, a mooring buoy may bear ownership identification. We suggest using the state registration number, documentation number or vessel name. Mooring buoys shall be colored white .....

    Nothing declare where they may be placed, just where NOT shall be placed.
    Group mooring placement is similar, but you need to fill out a form.

    Check it out:
    Mooring Buoys in Maryland https://dnr.maryland.gov/boating/Pages/srmbuoys.aspx
     
  12. Tom2x4
    Joined: Nov 2017
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    Location: Philly Area

    Tom2x4 Junior Member

    Also interesting, US Army Corps of Engineers permits mooring balls anywhere as long as:
    -do not impede navigation
    -do not impede aquatic life
    -are not in spawning grounds
    -are not in shellfish beds
    -are suitably constructed
    -are properly maintained
    -are not in wild or scenic rivers

    So the answer is : Refer to state and local regulations.

    see federal law attached. 'Permit' in this case means you are permitted as long as you follow rules.
     

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  13. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    I just gave up on getting a definitive answer to my original question because there isn't one. If I find myself in a situation where I need to tie up before dark to an unattended mooring buoy out in the middle of nowhere, I'll just have a $20 bill and a smile at the ready. Over the years I've found that money and a smile makes one pretty popular.
     
  14. Will Gilmore
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    It would with me. :) that and some hand-sani

    -Will
     

  15. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    That's incorrect. The mooring and the location are registered in my name, I paid the fees and no one has the right to use it.
     
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