Picking up a mooring buoy

As the boats arrive, they move slowly toward the field of mooring buoys. Invariably, there is someone on the bow, boat hook in hand, giving directions to the person at the helm. As they approach their selected buoy, the boat slows and the person on the bow reaches way down, grabs the buoy ring with the boat hook, tries to pull the ring all the way up to the deck, but can’t. Then they lean way over and go through the gyrations of running the line and securing the buoy. This often requires the efforts of more than one person and occasionally more than one attempt. While ultimately successful this seems to us like the hardest method possible. The buoy will be secured to the bow cleats, but are there rules that say you have to catch the buoy at the bow?

We prefer to catch the buoy at the stern. The lowest point on the deck. Here is what works  for us.

We approach the buoy into the wind and pass it slowly down the side of the boat. With a long line loosely tied to the midship cleat, one of of us takes the other end to the stern. As the buoy gets within easy reach, we run the end of the line through the ring. We bring the boat to a stop. Then we just walk the buoy back to the bow picking up the line from the midships cleat as we go. If it is windy, the person at the helm can go out and take the line from the midship cleat. Then we both walk the buoy forward to the bow and each of us cleats off their end of the line. That’s it. Easy to do whether it is calm or windy.

Some other ideas …

Start with a long line run all the way from the bow cleat back to the stern. As the buoy gets to the stern, reach down and run the line through the ring. Then walk the buoy back to the bow taking up the slack as you go. When you get to the bow, just cleat off the other end of the line.

Catch the buoy on the swim platform if it is easily accessible.

There are no rules. Keep it simple and safe. Experiment and look for what works best for your boat and your crew.