Many of us enjoy travelling by boat, sailing over the waves, soaking up the sun and maybe enjoying the odd encounter with some amazing wildlife. Sailing is an activity which allows us to connect with the Ocean as we travel using the power of the wind. It is an ancient and sustainable and fun way to travel. 

One advantage of having a boat is that we can explore hidden bays and beaches as well as have a great place to hang out when our popular beaches are full. Bays and coves are also a places of safety when the weather changes, providing shelter and security while we wait for a storm to pass. These beautiful places are, and should remain, open for everyone to enjoy.

Moorings in Saltash, Plymouth. Photo credit: Fiona Crouch

To maintain access in a way which not only gives all the benefits to boaters, but also protects our Ocean habitats, we have to look at how we impact the seabed when we choose to stop our vessels. Anchoring can have an impact on the seabed, dislodging habitat and dragging through sensitive areas. This damage can be minimised by following good anchoring practice (Find out about anchoring with care from the Royal Yachting Association here). 

Many boaters choose to use permanent moorings when they stop, rather than anchor. These moorings take different forms – the anchor can be a concrete block, a large piece of metal or even a cement filled tyre. This weighted anchor has chain or rope attached which rises to an attached surface buoy. These moorings provide safe anchor and security, but they can have a detrimental effect on the seabed, for example when the long ropes or chains scour the seabed, removing delicate habitat such as seagrass and maerl. 

Loose buoy chain: Photo credit: Mark Parry

The LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES project is installing Advanced Mooring Systems (AMS) which reduce the impact on the seabed. AMS exist in a few different forms but all work by lifting the chain off the seabed or by using an elastic rode, so that even at low tide, there is no scouring. These environmentally friendly moorings can anchor into the seabed with a helical screw which takes up much less of the seabed than a traditional weighted anchor. These screws can also be load tested so that boaters can be confident in their ability to hold their boats in place.

Advanced Mooring Systems in action. Photo credit: Mark Parry

AMS are just one way we can help protect our seabed habitats and do our bit to help restore lost habitat. Get involved by finding out more about LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES work with AMS here.