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How to Moor a Sailboat

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Sailboat Moorings
Mooring Field

A Mooring Field - Photo © Tom Lochhaas

In many areas, sailboats are kept in the water on moorings when not in use. A mooring is in essence a large, heavy anchor (often a concrete or stone block, a large mushroom anchor, or a device bored into underlying rock or mud). A mooring ball connected to the heavy mooring line floats on the surface. The length of line from the ball to the boat is called a pennant. Often a small pickup buoy floats at the pennant at its outer end to make it easier for someone on the boat to get the pennant when the boat returns to the mooring.

It can be easy to use a mooring when there is little wind, current, and waves—but it can also become difficult to stop and hold the boat just beside the mooring long enough for someone to get the pennants from the water and secured at the bow.

Follow the steps in the next pages to safely pick up and leave a mooring.

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