Familiar to most as the floating balls out in harbors around the world, mooring system installation and maintenance is a large part of what we do here at Aquamarine. Essentially a parking space for a boat, there is much that goes into ensuring a mooring is up to the task of keeping the boats captains and crew using them secure.
All moorings share in common some basic elements, starting from the surface of the water, which are as follows:
The line by which the boat is secured to the mooring, fit to the boat for strength and ease of use.
The part of the mooring which remains above the surface, available to be left and retrieved. Many of the floats are the round buoys seen bobbing, but they come in many varieties, suited to the boats and owners needs.
Galvanized steel chain is the method by which nearly all moorings are connected float to anchor. Typically, the chain passes from the bottom up and through a reinforced hole in the float, and is shackled directly to a thimble at the standing end of the line pendant.
There are two anchor types that comprise the bulk of our mooring fleet:
Block anchors are made by casting a thick steel ring into a concrete block that ranges in size from 1 ton to 3 tons depending on the intended boat and depth of water, as well as exposure to potentially high winds and seas. The chain is shackled and seized directly to the ring at the top of the block.
Mushroom anchors are similarly to the one you might carry around with you on your boat, but are specially designed to be set and left secure. The anchor itself consists of a dish shaped fluke from the center of which the shank is mounted on the concave side. The shank is a steel rod with a ring at the end for accepting the chain.
These anchors will vary widely in size from the small 25 pounders, to much larger 500 pounders and beyond. Some of these larger anchors will remain in the bottom year round, much like a mooring block, whereas most of them are removed, stored, and replaced annually.
Each Fall the mooring ball is hauled and replaced with a winter stake, this keeps the ball safe from ice and inclement weather during the colder months. The ball is stored until spring when it is repainted and replaced on the chain, the winter stake coming back to storage until the cycle repeats.
In special cases the components of a mooring system will be changed to accommodate the widely ranging factors of the sea shore. Helical screw anchors are sometimes installed in very shallow applications where the boat has the possibility of coming into contact with the anchor, once installed these are not removed for annual maintenance. In other cases such as on the sensitive eel grass beds found on shoals and in lagoons are protected by changing the chain system so that there is no contact with the bottom, this can be done with industrial elastic and/or float placed in line.