Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



Most boaters who moor their vessels in Massachusetts waters have traditionally employed free swinging moorings that use heavy bottom chain. In important sensitive habitats such as eelgrass beds, these types of moorings often have negative impacts on the benthic habitat – from the circular movement of the chain around the anchor point, and/or from the anchor itself.

This document objectively describes the different characteristics of conventional moorings versus conservation moorings designed to minimize disruption to the benthic habitat. This report includes discussions on the following topics:

  • Technologies available
  • Ecological impacts
  • Functional differences
  • Economical differences
  • Regulatory issues

These comparisons, along with concluding recommendations, will help boaters and communities decide whether or not conservation moorings are appropriate for their mooring and conservation needs.


Produced by the Urban Harbors Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston, with funding from The Nature Conservancy and the Massachusetts Bays Program.



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