If you are new to boating you might be wondering where is it legal to tie your boat when it is not on the dock? The answer to that question is a buoy. Mooring buoys float on the water and are attached to the ground with chains. These are the only buoys that you can legally bind yourself to.
What color is a buoy and how do you distinguish it from other types of buoy? Mooring buoys are white with a blue horizontal band. They are usually located in or near marinas and other areas where boats are allowed to anchor. Anchor buoys are where you can moor a boat when you are away from the dock.
Use of a mooring buoy
Follow these steps when tying your boat to a buoy:
- Steer the boat from a steering position from which you can see the buoy throughout the connection process.
- Approach slowly and carefully against the wind or against the current so that the recording line is closest to you. Keep the buoy on the same side as the rudder so you can see the mooring buoy as you approach.
- Use a boat hook to securely retrieve the pick-up line. Make sure your boat is in neutral during this step to avoid getting tangled on the line.
- Thread your boat's bow line through the loop of the pick-up line, then clip both ends of your bow line to the bow of your boat. Do not tie the pick-up line directly to your boat, as this can strain the mooring anchor. It is also important to understand where a boat must be moored for safety reasons – not mooring to a buoy, as this can be dangerous for you and your boat and puts unnecessary strain on the mooring system.
- Make sure that enough line is let out so that the buoy is not pulled underwater and the line remains horizontal. If the water is rough, you may need to use more lines.
- Check the buoy your boat is attached to. After mooring, check that the buoy holds up as intended.
- When you're ready to go, unfasten your boat's bow line and pull it through the loop on the pick-up line. Then make sure to retreat from the berth so you don't get tangled in any of the mooring lines.
Now you no longer have to wonder where it is legal to tie your boat. However, you need to ensure that you have valid boat registration documents on board before setting off to your preferred berth.