Recreation : Boating-related infrastructure : Marinas and swinging moorings

The effects of marinas and swinging moorings

Wave energy and sediment disturbance

Management considerations

Swinging moorings in coastal areas are preferred by some boaters because of their informality and relatively low price. They are also considered, by many people, to offer a more aesthetically pleasing mooring than a berth in a marina shared by many other boats.

There is much debate on the relative environmental merits and disadvantages of different types of mooring provision and these issues are discussed below.

Wave energy and sediment disturbance

It has been claimed that boats on swinging moorings and on-line moorings break up the wash of passing motorised craft and therefore reduce the incidence of erosion in those areas. This is possible in narrow channels with banks consisting of easily erodible material. However, it is unlikely to have a major effect overall. It is also said that the obstruction such moorings cause to part of a channel acts as an informal speed limiter.

The anchoring of individual swing moorings, particularly where they have been in place for a long period of time, is unlikely to have much of an effect on sediment disturbance as they use ‘clumps’ or sometimes chains which are buried and very rarely drag. However, any drag which may be caused by anchorages can have localised impacts on sediment and benthic communities and this may be amplified in those areas which experience a large increase in swing mooring provision. This issue may also have some relevance to temporary anchorages. However, most locations are not currently experiencing significant growth in such provision.

Management Considerations

A modern, well-equipped marina is able to provide a large number of facilities not available to a boater moored at informal moorings. For example, waste disposal facilities, toilet pump-out and dry storage may all contribute to reducing the potential environmental impacts of boating activities. In addition, it is easier, in a marina, to restrict any actions by a boater which have the potential to damage the environment. For example, the scraping of anti-fouling paints can be, although is not always, better controlled on land in marinas and boatyards than on mudbanks at low tide. Some of these issues are expanded on in the management section below.


Next Section