October 20, 2015

All About Moorings and Mooring Setup

Moorings with a mushroom design work best for muddy bottom harbors such as Winthrop and Boston Harbors because they can grab into the mud and then over time sink down and embed into the mud. Because of this, Houghton Marine predominately uses the mushroom design on 95% of the moorings in the area.

Although marine chain does last longer in areas that have muddy bottoms, there are environmental and other factors that can affect the wear of the chain. Our estimates of how long mooring equipment will last are based upon our experience over the last 36 years in Winthrop and Boston Harbor. Please keep in mind that these are estimates and many outside factors can lead to premature wear. Because of this we can make no guarantee on the useful life of our equipment and environmental factors can effect the life of  your system. We also recommend routine inspections of your marine tackle with continued maintenance to increase the effectiveness of the system over time.

Top Chain will generally last for two seasons although in rare cases can last as little as one season or as many as three. We inspect all top chains whenever we pull the system and it is our custom to make an attempt to call you with our recommendation should you need your marine tackle updated,  however, there are times that due to the condition of the system, it might warrant an immediate change in order not to loose the system.


Bottom Chain can last anywhere from 4 to 10 years depending on the size of the chain as well as the type of bottom it rests on. Rocky or sandy locations tend to make the chain wear out sooner where as a muddy bottom tends to make the chain last the longest. We no longer use 1/2″ bottom chains due to the fact that they simply wear out too quickly.

The top and middle Connection Shackles are replaced along with the top chain, generally every 2 years although may be replaced sooner if they show significant wear during one of our two yearly inspections. Bottom shackles are replaced with the bottom chain unless yearly inspections show that they need replacement sooner.

Mooring Pennants generally last anywhere from 5 to 10 years if used properly with chaffing gear in place. UV light as well as wear and tear from storms and everyday use eventually break down the rope and it can loose strength. The metal thimbles also begin to wear out and when they become too thin, cause chaffing and failure of the rope. Because of this we thoroughly inspect each set of pennants in the fall before they are put away for the winter and replace or repair them if necessary.

How long a Mooring Buoy lasts depends on a large number of factors. While they can generally last anywhere from 4 to 10 years, this can be cut short due to storm damage.

Concrete Blocks and Mushrooms generally last at least 15 years or more depending on bottom conditions.



2 thoughts on “All About Moorings and Mooring Setup

  • Hi Joe,
    Nice to meet you and Tim the other day at Savin Hill Yacht Club. You may remember me, I’m Tim Gover’s cousin Chris.

    I would like you to service my mooring going forward.
    Here are the specs on my current mooring, chain and gear, that was installed new, April 2015:
    400# mushroom
    20′ 3/4 chain
    20′ 1/2 chain
    3/4 swivel, with various size shackles.
    2 -3/4 x 12′ double braided pennants

    Mooring Location: It is located in the SHYC Mooring field, North of the RN2 bouy . I do not have the Lat and Long with me but can send it later if you need it. My mooring ball is a bit old, and it has my last name on it: HOBIN. I don’t think it has my mooring number on it. You also find two blue floating noodles on the pennants that can be thrown away.

    My boat: 30′ Bristol Sail Boat, Draws; 4.5′ Beam 9′

    I think you said it $90, for the Fall/ Winter Mooring Service.

    Please confirm the price and let me know here to send my check. And let me know if you need any additional information.


    Chris Hobin

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