West Highland Anchorages and Moorings Association

Guidance on forming a Moorings Association

Moorings Associations are normally formed by groups of boat owners who help each other with, for example:

  • applying for necessary leases and consents, paying the fees required, and, if thought necessary, arranging insurance.
  • laying, maintaining and policing moorings.
  • launching and recovering boats.
  • obtaining permission for access to the shore near the moorings.
  • making arrangements for storing dinghies, outboard motors etc.

Most of the seabed surrounding Britain is the property of the Crown and it is administered by the Crown Estate in Scotland. Anyone wishing to attach anything to the seabed is required to apply to the Crown Estate for a lease and to pay an annual rental. Such a lease will only be valid if navigational consent in accordance with the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 and the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 has been granted. The Acts are administered by Marine Scotland to whom application must be made.

The moorings need not necessarily all be in one area; an association may obtain a lease and consent to enable it to administer several areas in a vicinity. It is normally found best to apply for areas, rather than for individual mooring positions, so that there is space for more moorings as further boatowners make application in the future. If the proposed mooring area is clear, then application should be made for an Exclusive Lease. This means that the association would have complete control over the area. But if there are already licensed moorings in it and the owners do not wish to join the association, then a lease can be applied for excluding the existing moorings.

If the area desired is in the vicinity of a designated anchorage, i.e. it is identified by an anchor symbol on an Admiralty chart or it is listed in the Clyde Cruising Club Sailing Directions, which are recognised by the Hydrographer and the Admiralty, it would be wise to check with WHAM that the moorings are not likely to be regarded by the Scottish Government as an obstruction to navigation as defined by the Coast Protection Act. Many mooring areas are in or near anchorages and, where appropriate, the Crown Estate Moorings Officer could well wish to see what provision the association has made for preserving reasonable anchorage space.

The WHAM Secretary will be very happy to offer advice based on WHAM’s thirty years of experience with moorings associations.

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WHAM, West Highland Anchorages and Moorings Association, is Scottish registered charity number SC044698.