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Eelgrass Friendly Mooring Buoys

Ways of having the facility to moor a boat without carving up the seabed ecosystem.


A mooring buoy on the surface may look harmless enough with its high-visibility floating ball, but it's what goes on down below that is more contentious. Typically the float is secured to the seabed with a long length of rusty chain. This has to be longer than the depth of the water for various reasons, and it is the misbehaviour of the spare length of chain that's the problem.

Meanwhile, the sea floor in such regions where it is sufficiently shallow to make mooring buoys worth having, is home to a rich diverse ecosystem. Eelgrass wafts about in the current and fish inhabit the space inbetween like animals on land inhabit the space between trees in the jungle. Seahorses prefer the eelgrass habitat to open water as it affords some shelter.

The problem is that the loose chain on the end of a basic mooring buoy goes clanking around in the tide and carves out a roughly circular patch of desertification. It's like a goat with twenty yards of chain tied to a gravestone in a cemetery. After a short while all of the flower beds and memorials within that circular pi*r2 locus are ruined. The difference with mooring buoys is that seldom does anyone visit to mourn the damage done!

Ideally it should be possible to continue to have mooring buoys on the surface for boats to moor up to, while at the same time not having underwater patches of lifelessness. There's no objection to the float on the surface, and no objection to the anchoring point on the floor. The problem is caused by the chain dragging around. Well, what about this for an idea?...

Supposing the chain did not drag flat on the seabed, and instead had a series of floats clipped on? These would be especially useful a few yards from the anchor point. That way, the chain would be free to move about but would be lifted above the floor, like a helium balloon on a string?! It would be secure, and yet non-dragging.

This idea is especially appealing as such floats could be retro-fitted to existing mooring buoys without needing to rip them up, replace them at enormous cost, or get in the way of their usefulness.

Such mid-chain floats would not even need to be anything particularly expensive or new. It might even be possible to use old car tyres which have run out of tread but can still hold air. In effect, any sort of canisters which can hold enough air to be unheavy enough to lift some of the chain would do. They'd need to be durable enough to last a sensible time, and failsafe such that when they finally gave up the ghost, they'd not cause damage. (Surprisingly, stuff dumped at the bottom of the sea (a shipwreck for example) tends to improve the environment as it becomes an artificial coral reef. However, there has to be enough space above it to allow for the passage of the full draught of extant vessels).

I'm releasing this crazy idea as a shareware invention, so if you'd like to go for it, please do! If you give me a link to this page (which is securely anchored with a deep linking policy) please do! Other people who have also thought up ideas for saving the seabed from clanking chain are also linked to as follows...

www.abc.net.au/tv/newinventors/txt/s1940114.htm

www.seagrassmooring.com.au/id17.html

www.tidallife.com/how-to-not-do-a-whack-job-on-the-underwater-weeds-the-new-art-and-science-of-mooring-your-boat/

www.sanjuans.org/Eelgrass_Protection_Program.html

...and others to be added.