We focus a lot on boat safety when you’re out on the water, but it’s not just when your boat is in motion that you need to be skilled and cautious. You also need to know how to properly moor your boat.
Unfortunately, even some very experienced boaters don’t know how to securely moor a boat. If they’re lucky, they’ll avoid damage, but all too often the result is damage either to the boat or other boats around it. Avoidable damage is particularly hard to reconcile (even when you have good boat insurance!).
Here are some boat mooring basics to consider:
Not all moorings are equal. It is important to understand that the size will vary depending on the conditions anticipated. Some moorings are temporary or intended for occasional use during good weather. You don’t want to use this kind of mooring to leave your boat unattended for a long stretch, particularly during storm season. There is a big difference between the hold offered by a concrete block, for example, and a helical anchor that is professionally installed and screwed into the bottom of the seabed. The latter provides the maximum holding power. Essentially, the size of each anchor determines its holding power.
Know your gear. Boating experts recommend that you moor with sections of galvanized chain – both a primary (or ground) chain and a secondary (or riding) chain attached by a galvanized shackle. A mooring buoy is used to suspend the mooring chain and rides high enough to be easily seen in the water. The chain attaches to the boat by a pendant, which is either a shock absorbing three-strand nylon line, chafe-resistant polyester, a Dyneema line or stainless steel wire.
Beware of chafing. Always check the integrity of your lines and pendant because excessive chafing will break the line and leave your boat at the mercy of the waves and wind. Nylon lines are preferred because their elasticity absorbs shock, but they are susceptible to chafe as they move across bow chocks.
Watch the weather. Don’t leave your boat vulnerable if severe weather is in the forecast. A mooring system must be large enough to withstand the wind load anticipated for your boat. Many boats have been damaged or destroyed, either swinging on their moorings or blown ashore while still attached to the mooring system. It may be worth storing your boat on land until after the storm has passed.
When in doubt, ask experienced boaters to share their strategies and lessons learned. And don’t forget to keep your boat insurance coverage up to date.
Does your boat insurance policy cover you when your boat is moored? Call the marine insurance professionals at Global Marine Insurance to review your unique situation and coverage needs. We specialize in recreational and commercial boats and work with the best insurance carriers in the marine industry.