“With the new nautical season in full swing, we are continuing with the topic that is not only interesting, but also very useful: “All about a safe mooring”. Although this was the (sub) topic of many articles in our magazine, we have decided to dedicate space to it again through a series of articles, entrusting the helm to naval engineer and famous seadog Jack Šurija.”
ing.Jack Šurija, BSc in Engineering: boat and yacht insurance expert, court expert witness for vessels, expert nautical advisor, skipper, EOQ auditor, and quality manager
“In the previous 2 issues, we said that the knowledge and skills for choosing the location and type of berth, as well as the procedure of mooring a boat belong to the practical nautical knowledge, i.e. – good maritime practice.
We said that this selection starts at home, in the preparation of the journey, or making a detailed itinerary. We pointed out that the itinerary should be checked on board before starting each stretch of the route, and that the first step is to get informed about the weather forecast for that day and the following days. Certainly, good maritime practice never excludes skipper’s observation of the current circumstances, even when it comes to the weather forecast. It is not a bad idea to listen to fishermen’s stories when we go ashore in the morning to buy fresh bread and pastries, because you can learn a lot from them.“
How the skipper can assess the safety of mooring at a specific location?
“After we have gone through the weather forecast for the desired destinations for that specific day and for the area of navigation, we have completed only the first step of the skipper’s route check.
Where to make a stopover on the way and for how long, depends not only on the wishes of the crew members, but also on the possibility of mooring at the selected location, which is the responsibility of the skipper.
After we have determined in which direction we will sail and what weather conditions await ahead of us, where and for how long we intend to stop – for swimming or going ashore – it is time to check the method and type of mooring at that location.
First of all, we should remember the weather forecast for that area again: in which direction is the bay open in relation to the type and direction of the forecast wind and is it installed mooring or just anchorage? These, as well as other more detailed information, for example: whether the mooring is paid at that location and what the price is, whether it is necessary to pay admission to a national park, and so on. However, if it is a anchorage, it is advisable to check on the spot whether the bottom is sandy, muddy or rocky, as well as to check the anchor and the anchor chain, which means: total length, length markings on the chain, and the working order of the chain links and winch operation.“
General characteristics of a safe mooring location from the point of view of a maritime court expert
“Although I try to speak as simple a language as possible, in the section on general characteristics, I find professional terminology useful in assessing mooring safety. Thus, for berths according to the types of moorings, we distinguish: mooring on a fixed berth in a port or a marina, mooring on a buoy and mooring on our own anchor (anchoring).“
What does a secure berth have to provide?
“Next, we ask ourselves: what does safe mooring actually have to ensure? According to the point of view of the profession, it is the mooring that will protect the boat and things (property) from damage, the environment from pollution, and the crew from life and health hazards. We can look for a safe berth in the form of an existing mooring in a marina, a port or a sheltered bay, but it can also be a mooring for which we will choose the position ourselves and anchor the boat or moor it to another one. What we must also take into account when choosing are the technical characteristics of our vessel: type of propulsion (sailboat, motor boat, combination), hull shape (single hull, multihull), dimensions of the ship (length, width, and especially – draft) and equipment of the boat.
So far, I have mostly talked about what a safe mooring is, and what all the elements that should be taken into account when choosing it are. Once we have understood the terminology and know for sure what it is about, in the following issues I will talk in simple language about how to moor and what needs to be done to properly secure the boat at rest. In the professional language, about the procedures, actions and rules that should be followed when mooring the boat on each of the mentioned types of berths.”
To be continued…