Saturday, 10 July 2010

Q: Docked / Berthed / Moored / Anchored?

All these terms refer to a vessel which is secured in a more or less fixed position.

When a vessel is in port to collect/disembark passengers or load/discharge cargo it will be, in a sense, connected to the dock (the functional area of pier) and is therefore 'docked'. A docked ship is typically a large one and will have several crew present on it, even when it is there overnight. Generally a ship is docked for a specific purpose, and when that task is complete the vessel will move on.

A berth, on the other hand, is a bit like the nautical equivalent of a parking space. Typically you buy one or lease one for a long period as somewhere to store your boat. To maximise space, 'berthed' vessels are typically kept perpendicular to (pointed at) the main jetty or pier, rather than a docked ship which is typically parallel to (in line with) the dock.

Any ship which is secured by ropes to a permanent fixture is 'moored' to that fixture. So 'moored' can be quite a broad description, although it is most appropriately used to described a vessel which is being kept at 'moorings'. Moorings are areas of water where boats and yachts can be secured to a fixed object on the seabed, usually a large concrete block with a rope attached and a buoy on the end. They are cheaper than berths to rent and are more secure (people cannot simply walk up to your boat). They tend to be used for the storage of boats or yachts when not in use, so moored vessels tend to have no one on board.

The most independent way to secure a vessel is to drop anchor. So long as the anchor has a certain amount of purchase on the seabed the ship will not move too far from its current location and is therefore described as being 'anchored'. This is the most independent but also the least secure way to station your boat, and as such a ship which is anchored is usually only staying in place for a short time and will almost always have someone on board.

11 comments:

Anonymous 9 April 2014 at 05:01  

This was really helpful, thank you!

Anonymous 19 November 2014 at 19:40  

Awesome! You're great for posting this!

Anonymous 22 December 2014 at 04:48  

Settled a half hour argument at work. Thanks.

Anonymous 29 July 2015 at 07:23  

Thank you for added knowledge. At least I got clear idea of what anchored or moored ship is all about.


Lynda Milina 25 August 2015 at 23:40  

Can boats be charged for anchoring in a bay over night? or anchoring off a marina or close by a marina?

Samantha Evans 14 April 2016 at 19:41  


When we talk about a berth we usually mean a space in a marina. A mooring is usually anywhere else you can keep a boat, for instance along a riverbank, next to a jetty or from a buoy in the water. Thanks for this additional info!

sandy 11 August 2016 at 09:17  

Amazingly done.....

Anonymous 28 November 2016 at 18:36  

Thanks. That was the perfect explanation!

Anonymous 11 December 2016 at 21:37  

So if a ship is "parked' at the berth, does it just float there without any support to keep it still or is it moored or anchored as well?

Anonymous 14 January 2017 at 10:05  

I am a little bit confused how port charges the vessels
I have come across docking fees, quay fees & mooring fees.
For example this port http://aurlandhavn.no/ports/advance-bookingprices/ offers discount on the docking fees based on the ESI score, however if I understand this correctly ship still has to pay for quay & mooring fees... Am I right?

Anonymous 5 February 2017 at 19:43  

Anonymous- If a ship is "parked" at a berth, it is almost always secured with dock lines (i.e. ropes). Also, the article's claim that vessels at a mooring tend to be unoccupied is not true in many locations. Around here nearly all the mooring spots are used when the marina space is full or by "liveaboards".

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