Any new boat owner will be excited at the prospect of getting behind the steering wheel (or at “the helm” for those familiar with boating terminology) and cruising down the rivers, canals or even on open water. However, when purchasing your first boat, it is important to consider what you are going to do with your vessel when it is not in use. This might include during the working week, or perhaps when you’re away from your boat or resting overnight during a boating holiday. Here is Val Wyatt Marine’s ultimate guide to mooring your boat.

Table of Contents

What is a boat mooring

What is a residential mooring and how does it differ from a leisure mooring

Can I moor my boat anywhere

What is the difference between anchoring, docking and mooring

How much are moorings

boat mooring Q&A

What is a boat mooring?

Mooring is the act of securing your boat to a fixed object, such as a mooring buoy, a dock, a pontoon, a jetty or a pier, using a rope. Mooring your boat (also sometimes referred to as berthing your boat) can prove to be a tricky process for inexperienced owners. It will often take a certain amount of practice to perfect the art, especially if you are manoeuvring into a tight space. When it comes to mooring your vessel at a marina with dedicated bays, space can sometimes come at a premium. However, you should always have access to sufficient room for loading and unloading equipment and luggage.

What is a residential mooring and how does it differ from a leisure mooring? 

A residential mooring (alternatively known as a long-term mooring) is required for boat owners who plan to live on their boats for long periods of time. Planning permission is often required (as this may constitute a material change of use) and they are subject to both national and local planning regulations. In addition, the marina will have to satisfy the local council that they possess sufficient waste disposal and sewage facilities to accommodate moorings of this kind. 

In comparison, a leisure mooring is typically known as a mooring for your boat when it is not in use. You can live aboard your boat at a leisure mooring for short periods only, and you cannot use the mooring as a postal address. 

“End of garden moorings” are the common name for long-term moorings situated on private residential land – normally where someone’s garden backs onto a canal or river. Despite owning the land, the relevant authority or trust (such as the Canals & River Trust) is the owner of the bed of the canal, and therefore permission is required to moor there. Applications can be made to the individual body. 

Can I moor my boat anywhere?

This question has many varying factors. When travelling along a canal, a boat is normally allowed to moor almost anywhere alongside a towpath – as long as it is safe. However, these are known as short-term moorings and you cannot remain in one place for more than a few days, although this will differ from location to location. For instance, Canal Junction states that a stay of “two weeks is the maximum on most short-term moorings, but sometimes it is just 48 hours”.

There are some exceptions of where you cannot moor your boat:  

Water points: The Canal & River Trust provide water points (essentially taps) for boat owners to refill their water tanks, which is incredibly important for making tea, washing items, and flushing toilets. Make sure you do not moor too close to a water point, or you may incur the wrath of your fellow waterway users! 

Lock landings: It is important that you do not moor your boat within a lock landing, which is the designated area where boats will wait before using the lock itself. There is normally clear signage, but to be certain do not moor your boat near any sort of lock. 

Tunnels and bridges: The Canal & River Trust also advise boaters not to moor too closely to tunnels and bridges because this can impact the ability of fellow users to pass safely through them. A good rule of thumb when mooring your boat is to err on the side of caution and apply common sense at all times. 

What is the difference between anchoring, docking and mooring?

As explained previously, mooring is the act of tying your boat to a fixed object to keep it stationary. This could be within a mooring bay, a jetty, or a mooring buoy if you are looking to moor a boat in open water, or even a sturdy post. However, there will be other times boaters decide to stop their boats using different techniques…

Anchoring your boat is the process of dropping a large heavy object into the water where it will latch to the bed of the river or sea. Many new vessels feature built-in anchoring systems (such as some Haines models), which guarantees they will be equipped with the most suitable size and weight of anchor required for that boat. If you have any queries, you can ask our team

If you are a regular visitor to holiday hotspots such as Marbella, you’ll know that docking your boat refers to pulling up a vessel as close to the dock as possible, before attaching it using ropes and knots. Normally, you will need at least four fenders to dock your boat safely. These are normally made of plastic and act as a buffer between the dock and the vessel.

How much are moorings?

The cost of moorings will vary depending on the type of mooring and whether any permission is required from a private landowner or body. 

If you are on a boating holiday, mooring will be free (but you must abide by the relevant mooring rules detailed above).

If you own a boat, and you’re looking for a leisure mooring, prices will again vary depending on the popularity of the region you live or boat in, as well as the facilities on-site. Val Wyatt Marine is a privately owned five-acre marina, where we provide moorings and storage, as well as a full suite of professional cleaning, maintenance and repair services. Our marina incorporates 130 moorings, with a further 25 available for storage within our secure trailer park. Our annual mooring fees are competitive and include a number of value-added services, such as winter hard standing, lift, check and relaunch. Boaters also have access to our on-site facilities, including electricity and water, spacious parking, secure electronic gates, toilets and showers, and rubbish disposal. 

Due to our long-standing reputation and commitment to delivering an exceptional customer experience, there is often a waiting list for mooring at Val Wyatt Marine, however you can speak to our knowledgeable team on 01182 176631 or by filling out this form.