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If you are going to live on a boat you can be sure that you will need somewhere to moor your vessel.
In this article we will talk about the different types of moorings and how you can find one that will suit your chosen lifestyle.

There are many different types of moorings available in the UK. Below is a list of some of the different types:

  • Marina
  • Boatyard
  • Canal side
  • River side
  • Swinging

I am sure you are thinking I have missed out Residential? Well, any one of these types of moorings could also be residential.
All moorings used for residential purposes will normally be registered by the local council, there is no special type so any mooring could be residential.

Not all liveaboards are moored on proper designated residential moorings. This is generally because there never seems to be enough residential moorings available in many areas.
There are many people that move around the waterways, known as continually cruising. These liveaboards will not need a permanent mooring and are happy to have a life of ever changing scenery.

Others may liveaboard their boats in marinas and boatyards where the moorings operators turn a blind eye as long as you keep a low profile. Of course this does not give you the security of a permanent mooring but if your boat has an engine then you can easily move on if you have to.

So, what about the types of moorings then. We will start with marinas.


Marinas are generally the high end of moorings. These have the most facilities such as showers and toilets, chandlery and maybe even a clubhouse/cafe. Security is normally better but these facilities do come at a price though.

Some marinas have residential moorings available but you may have some restrictions placed on you if you want to do some major refitting or a conversion. Marinas cater more for the recreational boaters and sailors so may not want your mooring and vessel looking like a building site.

Many marinas have good security such as electronic access gates and CCTV surveillance. This can provide some peace of mind for some liveaboards.

Moorings within boatyards are general more friendly towards refitting and conversions by the owners. Many will have their own workshops and will carry out repairs for you if you require.

Facilities an generally not as good as marinas but if residential boats are allowed then there is normally a good community spirit between liveaboards with everyone helping each other when they can. It is not uncommon to be having a drink with a neighbor and end up tinkering with the engine trying to locate a problem!

You may find a larger proportion of residential moorings at boatyards as opposed to marinas.

Canal side moorings

If on the canals you will find many places you can moor on the canal side. Some of these moorings will be operated by the relevant waterways authority and have a maximum length of stay. This is to ensure that boaters do not use these as personal moorings and they can be used by many recreational boaters for short stays.
Other canal side moorings many be privately owned such as moorings at the bottom of privately owned houses.

Some canal side moorings may be dedicated residential moorings operated by the waterways authority.

If moored on the canal side you will not have a great deal of security as anyone may pass your boat walking down the tow path. Take your normal security precautions and you should be fine.


Riverside moorings

On most rivers you many not find it as easy to moor on the river bank as canal boats moor on the canal side. This is largely because rivers are tidal.
You may find public piers that you can use for a short period but mostly you will be looking at finding a boatyard or marina.

On tidal moorings such as rivers you will come across terms such as mud berth, half tidal and + - 2 hours HW.
We will explain some of these terms for those who do not know.

1. Mud berth - This is a mooring that dry's out when the tide is out and your boat will sit in the mud until the tide comes in again. Obviously, you will not be able to move your boat until the tide is in so these types of moorings are cheaper than other types. Some moorings operators will quote you the typical time the tide is in at there moorings that you can safely leave and return. This is normally quoted as + - 2 hours HW which means you can safely move your boat 2 hours before high water (HW) and 2 hours after high water so giving you a 4 hour window before the moorings will dry out.

2. Half tide - This means that the tide will be in at your mooring for approximately half the duration of a full tide.

3. All states of tide - This means your boat will be afloat permanently. Moorings that offer all states of tide are generally the most expensive as they give you the option to move your boat at any time.

So, with tidal moorings you need to be a little more aware compared to a canal were there is no tide to worry about so your boat is always afloat.


Swinging Moorings

These type of moorings are usually the cheapest and found on rivers and coastal harbours.
You moor your boat to a mooring buoy in the river or harbour and would then use a dingy or tender to get back to the shore.
The mooring buoy consists of a heavy weight (sinker) on the river bed with a chain attached that runs up and attaches to a floating mooring buoy. You then attach your boats mooring rope to the mooring buoy.
These are called swinging moorings as your boat with swing around with the changing direction of the tide.
A swinging mooring may be permanently afloat or may dry out so your boat will sit on the river bed.

Not many residential boats use swinging moorings unless they are very self sufficient as you will not have access to mains electricity or water and moving to and from your boat by dingy or tender can get tedious especially in the winter.
Swinging moorings are mostly used by recreational boats.

As you can see all the different types of moorings explained can be used for residential use or recreational use. You will find that there are more recreational moorings than there is residential ones so you should think about finding your mooring quite early on.

The costs of your mooring will depend on the type, location, whether or not it is residential and the size of your boat.
Prices vary so it is impossible to quote prices here. Call and get prices in your chosen area.

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3.20 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."