Buoys - Buoy Markers, Mooring Buoys & Life Rings

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Buoys How-To's

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Understand the meanings of Boating Navigational Buoys and Markers

Learn about Regulatory and Navigational buoys, markers, and signal flags and what they are indicating while you're out cruising on the water. ... read more

Infographic on Boating Navigational Buoys and Markers

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Securing Your Boat to a Mooring (Video)
Learning how to secure your boat to a mooring, presented by SAIL Magazine ... read more

Video Transcript

[Meredith] Welcome to the Charter Channel on SailMagazine.com. I’m associate editor Meredith Laitos and we’re at Horizon Yacht Charters at Nanny Cay on Tortola. One of the tricky things about going on charter is learning how to navigate a mooring field. Often times you will go in and see lots of different colors and not know which one you can pick up, for how long you can keep it, who you pay and how much you can pay. So to answer some of those questions we’re going to go into Horizon for a bit and talk to Henry the operations manager and then go for a sale on this lagoon 440 to get a hands-on review on how to navigate a mooring field.

I’m with Henry Lennon the operations manager of Horizon Yacht Charters and we’re at their BVI base in Nanny Cay. So Henry a lot of our readers when they come down to charter, you know they are used to cruising around the lake, on the coast, doing some bay sailing and I think one of the things that might be a little new to them is navigating mooring fields. Can you just give kind of an overview of what you tell your guests to expect.

[Henry] Yeah one of the very first things that we start talking about when we go through our chart briefing about the different islands here. And the proximity in Norman Island is a perfect one because it has all the different types of moorings over there. As you go over there you are going to pass by the Indians which have those dinghy moorings; blue moorings that are specifically for your dinghy. National park moorings which are set up with an all for daytime use, they are red. Predominantly National Park you have the dive moorings, the large yellow moorings and those are for commercial vessels using them for dive operations. Taking people out of shops like the blue water divers here.

And then you get to the harbors you will find your overnight moorings and you may have in one harbor three different companies that monitor that have moorings there. They will all be consistently colored in three different groups maybe. And so we tell people if you see them, say ten or more all the same color, those are probably for overnight usage and you will be charged for.

[Meredith] How much can you expect to pay for this?

[Henry] $25

[Meredith] Okay, so for the overnight moorings then, who do you pay that fee to?

[Henry] Someone will usually come around and collect a fee from you. Most moorings are going to tell you who is monitoring that mooring ball. It might say pirates on it and we tell people don’t go to the bar with your money and pay the bar unless it says please pay at. In places where they are a lot of mooring balls and people like Cooper Island for instance, where they are only allowed to use mooring balls. There are a lot of sea turtles, there are a lot of rays, it’s great just snorkeling around the mooring balls themselves. So yes I do like the mooring balls system.

It’s easy for the customers and all we do is make sure they know how to tie up to them properly and that they test them properly. Because it’s their family that’s tied up to it as well as our yacht, we want to make sure they are happy and that means being safe.

[Meredith] Right, well I suppose we should probably get out and go sailing and see what these mooring fields look like.

[Henry] Yeah [Meredith] Alright so now we are out on Fly Bye lagoon 440 and Henry and the crew of Horizon are going to walk us through getting on and off a mooring ball. We’re coming into the bay here on Norman Island.

[Henry] Okay so one of the most important things when you’re untying from a mooring, approaching a mooring, dockage. Whatever it is when you are going to do some tight maneuvering, where you might be using reverse, drifting backwards and forwards. Is to make sure that your dinghy painter is out of the water, we don’t want to have it wrapped around the prop. So always assign someone to the dinghy and the dinghy painter.

So as you approach the mooring ball, what you will do is instead of pulling hard on it. Ask the skipper to go to neutral. As the boat slows down, the tension is a lot easier to pull the dinghy in. Pull it up alongside the boat, make sure this dinghy painter the towing line of the dinghy is secure. Very important to tidy this line off, we don’t want it falling overboard.

So Chris is getting ready for the mooring. He has tied off his line to his cleat here and what we’re going to do is we’re going to run two loops through the pennant on the mooring ball, the pennant coming off of it with an eye on the end. What we’re going to do is, we’re going to take these lines; the docking lines on the bow and we’re going to run two different loops through the pennant and then back to the same cleats they started from. This is very important to reduce chafe, so you know your boat is always going to be safe because the dock lines aren’t being disintegrated while you are on the mooring.

Chris right now is going to be using non-verbal hand signals to get our skipper Lazon to the mooring ball. Very important trying to come up with some non-verbal hand signals; how fast, go forward, when to slow down and when to stop. He will just pick up the pennant; he’ll feed his dock line through the mooring ball pennant and then back to the same cleat.

Now the catamaran, one of the great things about it is that you can pivot using that one line. So for Chris it’s setup on the next line. He’s going to talk to the skipper about moving the port bow a little bit closer to that pennant so he can run his second line. By running equidistant lines; one through the pennant and back to the same cleat, that stops any kind of chafe. You have to lines tied to the pennant and you’re safe for the evening.

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