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How to Use a Trot Mooring

Updated November 21, 2016

When arriving at a destination by boat, it is necessary to secure the vessel before departing. Tying to a dock or dropping an anchor is often the method used to hold a boat in place and prevent excess movement. However, there are situations when a solid structure is not available or anchors are not allowed due to potential damage. Trot line mooring is a solution and involves floating mooring buoys attached to riser chains. Often a heavy chain along the bottom will have several risers in place, creating a trot mooring line.

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  1. Reduce the speed of your boat as you approach the mooring buoy. Determine the direction of the current. Turn the boat into the current. If a strong current is not present, then turn the boat into the wind. If wind is also not a factor, steer the boat parallel to other moored vessels.

  2. Locate the mooring buoy and tethered pickup buoy floating in the water. Steer the boat toward the buoys, keeping them to the left or right of the bow for a visual mark.

  3. Position an assistant or crewman on the bow with a boat hook. Have the assistant stand slightly to the side so that you have a clear view of the buoys as long as possible.

  4. Instruct the assistant to reach forward with the boat hook and capture the pickup buoy. Pull the buoy on-board. Throttle the boat engine to hold the boat as steady as possible as the buoy is pulled in and the main mooring buoy is pulled within reach.

  5. Attach an anchor or mooring rope to the eye on top of the trot line mooring buoy. Snap a carabiner hook on the end of the anchor rope to the eye of the buoy. Make sure the carabiner gate closes completely to secure the boat in place.

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Things You'll Need

  • Boat hook
  • Anchor rope with carabiner hook

About the Author

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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