Anchor and mooring sustainably
Sustainable anchoring and mooring best practice guides are now critical to aid our understanding of what lies below, and often unseen.
With an inspiring new wave of sustainable action on the water, boat owners and operators are being encouraged to explore new ways of anchoring and mooring in order to help protect vital ocean environments, such as seagrass beds.
Traditional means of anchor can impact the seabed in a number of ways:
- Direct impact to seagrass fronds and roots as the anchor embeds into the seabed.
- As the anchor drags it can uproot seagrass.
- Anchor, or mooring chains can scrape the seabed as they pivot on the changing tide and wind, continually abrading the seabed.
Safety at sea can never be compromised, however, it is now more important than ever to share new ideas and research among the boating community, both for temporary anchoring, and traditional fixed mooring systems, in order to evolve new and innovative ways to be sustainable on the water.
So why is seagrass so important?
Seagrass is quite literally, the lungs of the ocean. Seagrass captures carbon up to 35 times faster than tropical rainforests and, even though it only covers 0.2% of the seafloor, it absorbs 10% of the ocean’s carbon each year. They are also vital breeding and nursery grounds for many fish that make up a large portion of the world’s biggest fisheries. Seagrass can also help to anchor sediment to help lessen the effects of coastal erosion and also provides a source of nutrients for oceanic animals that feed on it. So it’s pretty incredible stuff!
How to eco anchor with care.
There is a huge effort in process with a number of organisations to produce Advanced Mooring Systems (AMS) as part of a four year LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES project to help monitor how seagrass can recover.
These systems include:
- AMS with elastic rode and helical screw on a concrete block, to retract the rode for less impact with the seabed.
- AMS with chain floats and a helical screw on a concrete block – the chain is lifted at numerous points to lessen impact with changing tide levels.
Such moorings are not legislatively compulsory, yet, but are being trialled in numerous sites across the Southwest.
When you are sailing, there are some easy steps to follow to be more ocean mindful when mooring;
- Check The Green Blue Anchoring with care guide for information on where protected seabed areas are situated.
- Choose to anchor away from sensitive seabed habitats.
- Choose an existing mooring over anchoring where possible.
- Choose the correct anchor for the type of seabed to avoid drag.
- Target bare sand away from seagrass beds.
- Share the knowledge of these incredible habitats, and the locations with fellow boaters.
The choice to moor and anchor sustainably is just one of the ways we can help restore the ocean.
The choice to implement clean technology into our boats is another.
As with the mooring schemes, small steps can have huge cumulative affect in a very short time frame, whether it’s anchoring or cleaner motoring, and whether you are on land or at sea. The choices we make now will mean benefits for all later.
If you’d like to talk to us about our anchors and how we use them, or if you are thinking about Sailing Electric, or if you’d just like more information on sustainable boating then please just send us a message!