Mooring and Berthing

Post by: Dee White
15 October 2012

One of the most important considerations, when owning or buying a boat, is where you are going to keep it. Good moorings do not come cheap, but there is a huge range of different types on offer and similar moorings may vary tremendously depending on where they are situated.

Locality

This will probably be your first consideration. Choose an area with easy access from your home and take into account the travelling and time involved actually getting to and from your boat. Choose an area which has the sort of boating and facilities which interest you and you will not tire of after a few weeks.

Types of mooring

There are many different types of mooring on offer from berths in a large marina, to swinging moorings on a buoy, or a berth alongside a pontoon which is not attached to land. Your choice will probably depend largely on cost, but security should also be high on your list.

  • A marina berth will normally give you more security and may include facilities such as, shore power, facilities for maintenance and repair, chandlery, toilets, restaurants, laundry, fuel, dry storage, lift outs and launching, car parking etc. They will allow you ease of access for loading and unloading, with no ferrying of passengers, along with their bulky luggage. Marina berths, however, will be costly and no matter how many facilities they offer, the most important considerations should be easy access, available water, dependable electricity, good security, safe surrounding area and protection from bad weather, swell and wash. A locked in marina will be free from swell but access may be dependent on the state of the tide. Look carefully at the condition of pontoons, electrical connections, lights and safety equipment. A "down at heal" marina may not be a safe place for your precious boat. Charges will be according to your boat length, but you should also take into consideration the draft and height, as these may affect your ease of access in and out of the marina. Payment for annual berths may be possible by instalments and some marinas offer summer or winter berthing as well as short term monthly, weekly or overnight stays. They may also have reciprocal arrangements with other marinas. Do find out about waiting lists for your chosen marina, as this could affect your choice. Moorings do tend to be cheaper abroad, so if you are doing many cross channel journeys, it may pay you to find a mooring further afield.
  • Public docks are less expensive, but security is not always the best, some being open to the general public and passers by.
  • A mooring on a pontoon not attached to land will be less costly but will accordingly have far fewer facilities. You will obviously have to use your dinghy to get to and from your boat, to use any of the facilities nearby and for all loading and unloading of crew and equipment. It is unlikely that there will be shore power or water and you will probably be more exposed to the elements. Do look into the accessibility of car parking and make sure there is enough available. On the plus side it may offer more peace and quiet than a berth in a busy marina.
  • A swinging mooring on a buoy and moorings on trots and piles will have all the disadvantages of the above as well as being more open to the elements, not having a stable platform from which to load and unload and maintenance and repairs will be more difficult. You will probably have to move your boat temporarily to a boatyard in order to do maintenance work on it. It would probably suit those who want a short term mooring, away from it all, perhaps during the summer months. Again you will have to research the availability of satisfactory car parking and dinghy parking at a convenient distance from your boat and discover whether there are any shops near at hand for provisioning.

Choosing a suitable mooring could also be a costly business in terms of time. Many things can be settled online, but after you have compared the appropriate websites and received a quote for the type of mooring you want for your boat, you would be well advised to visit it before finally making up your mind. Have a good look round the area, talk to the staff, speak to other boat owners about their feelings and make sure that you understand the package you are being offered. Finally, as always, read the small print.

Why not a look at our selection of Mooring and Berthing companies to help get you started.

Author – Dee White

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