The mooring of boats in the bay is causing a number of complaints from club members, all of which seem to end up at my door as Harbour Master. I feel it is time information was made available for those seeking to renew; reposition, or lay new moorings in the bay, and to make my current position clear.

The club has now completed negotiations with the Crown Marine Estates, LPYC will now be responsible for the payment to the Crown for all moorings within the club waters, this will be passed on to members having moorings in this area. It is therefore essential that all mooring buoys be clearly identified (see below for information).

The positioning of a new mooring is decided on by agreement with other club members in the immediate vicinity who have moorings already in position, to ensure there is sufficient room for a new one; with the exception of the channel (formed by the river Atro flowing through the bay).

This channel, as a designated waterway, is subject to annual Trinity House inspection. As elected Harbour Master, Trinity House hold me responsible for maintaining the buoys and ensuring the channel is free from obstruction; moorings must not encroach into this channel.

This is not as straightforward as at first it would seem. The river course varies each year depending on the severity of the winter storms. Some years, the alteration to this channel is considerable, and I have to insist that moorings obstructing the channel must be moved; a task that can be carried out when you inspect your mooring each year (you do inspect your mooring each year don’t you? Some don’t, as you will see by the boats on the rocks)!

There is, in the Club House, a diagram of “Preferred Mooring System”, I have taken the trouble to enlarge on this guide, see details below, but it is only a guide; the sizes of chain and weights of the sinkers should be suitable for the type of boat using the mooring; the ultimate responsibility rests with the owner of the mooring. Neither the LPYC nor I can accept any responsibility for moorings laid by club members.

Preferred Mooring System

  • Sinkers (two clump)

These can be of any material that is heavy. Anchors (darnfoth or mushroom type) tend to hold bottom better in soft sand or mud and concrete is less prone to surfacing than metal. A popular sinker is a car wheel rim minus the tyre filled with concrete, whichever you chose, they should be buried in the sand/mud up to a meter deep. As a rough guide, 20/25 Kg each sinker per ton weight of the boat (minimum 20Kg), and spaced 8/10 M apart, and best laid up/down tide.

  • Ground Chain

This should be as heavy as can be managed; at least twice the size of the boats anchor chain, and able to accommodate suitable sized shackles etc. Galvanised chain will last a little longer than black iron but is not usually worth the extra expense. Second hand chain can often be purchased from factories using lifting gear, as the chains have to be replaced at regular intervals under health and safety regulations. The chain should not have too much slack between the sinkers. Finally, no mixture of metals such as copper wire to seize a shackle pin should be used because of electrolysis.

  • Riser

This should be of chain, and can be of a smaller size than the ground chain as it is easily inspected and replaced. It should be no longer than 5M (16 feet). This will ensure the mooring takes up the least amount of space and it should be attached with a swivel approximately in the centre of the ground chain.

  • Mooring buoy

This should obviously be large enough to support the riser chain; the type with a metal rod threaded through is preferred, and must be marked with the boat name and a contact telephone number. The size of boat using the mooring should also be indicated on the buoy for the benefit of visitors looking for temporary mooring on unoccupied buoys, preventing your ground tackle being lifted by a vessel larger than intended for your installation.

  • Mooring tail or pendant

A length of rope or chain attached to the buoy to secure the vessel. This should be kept as short as practical, and if rope is used then some form of protection should be used to prevent chaffing of the rope. A small pickup buoy can be attached to the end of this pendant.

  • Shackles

If shackles with a removable pin are used then a mousing using seizing wire (not copper) to secure and prevent the pin becoming loose.

Fore and aft mooring

This is a repeat of the above process at the stern allowing the vessel to be secured at both ends, with the advantage of having a backup if one of the moorings should fail; it also takes up less room than a swinging mooring. The pickup buoys or tails can be joined with a line to facilitate recovery, but the line must be of the floating type, or fitted with floats making it visible to other boaters and should not be longer than needed.

With the continued popularity of the club, mooring space is at a premium. Although swinging moorings are safer in the lagoon, more use of fore and aft may have to be made in the future.

Regular checks on all ground tackle must be made at least once a year, as sand, tide and seawater will wear even the largest chain at an alarming rate. Remember, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your boat and other vessels using the bay

Steve Robertson, Harbourmaster