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JulioEstevez

Mooring buoy in the winter

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JulioEstevez

We have a cottage at a lake up here in canada, in a large cove. The first year i bought the boat (2 summers ago), i made a mooring anchor with concrete (3 blocks of 125lbs each). I attached the three together with a galvanized chain, and attached a chain to that chain that goes to a buoy. I left the boat anchored to that buoy the whole summer. Last summer, i built a floating dock and got a boat lift so we didnt really use the buoy but it's nice to have, if something goes wrong with the lift, i can moor the boat until i fix it. It's a good plan B.

So my question is what do you do with the buoy during the winter when the lake freezes?

The first winter, i unhooked the buoy and attached an empty white plastic container and sent it to the bottom to retrieve in the spring. Very bad plan: the white container got covered with muddy stuff and we could not locate it in the spring. The water is approx 8ft deep and in the spring it is not very clear, so there was no way to see anything from the surface. Being tough canucks used to the cold, we put wetsuits and diving masks on when the ice melted and spent countless hours at the bottom of the lake with 2-3 feet visibility (funny story: the ice had melted the week before, and i was diving to try to locate the anchors and the patrol came in a boat asking if i had a fishing permit because they assumed i was spear fishing...!)

Bottom line, we ended up locating the anchors about one month later. Good thing i didn't need it before.

Now this year i decided i would let the buoy floating and cross my fingers that it would still be there in the spring. Hopefully the ice won't take my anchors halfway across the lake...

I can't be the only one in that situation, what do you guys do with your mooring anchor/buoy during the winter?

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mikeo

How far is it to shore? Can you run a line from the end of the chain to a stake on shore so you pull up the chain in the spring? Someone from a colder climate may have a better solution...

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Sixball

Put a float on it say 3 or 4 feet down.

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JulioEstevez

I thought about the rope up to the shore (its about 45ft to the shore) but i'm thinking its going to be frozen in thick ice all the way, if the ice moves when it melts it increases the chances of taking the anchors with it...

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JulioEstevez

A float 3-4ft underwater is a neat idea... can't see anything go wrong with that

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mikeo

A float 3-4ft underwater is a neat idea... can't see anything go wrong with that

How deep does the lake ice freeze? You don't want the float getting caught in a deep freeze. What about lake level? How much (if any) does the lake drop during the winter?

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Indebound

What we do is sort of a merge between those two solutions. We have a raft (8x8' floating deck on four barrels) that has a permanent anchor. First we pull the raft up on shore. We then tie an old ski rope to the anchor line and run it towards the shore but stop about three ft deep and attach another small weight (10b exercise weight). This way it's a lot easier to find in the spring time and you on have to wade or use a rake to find it.

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toddthelineman

A steel rope to shore should work fine. We do that in a river that freezes.

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JulioEstevez

How deep does the lake ice freeze? You don't want the float getting caught in a deep freeze. What about lake level? How much (if any) does the lake drop during the winter?

The water level actually rises about 2 feet between the automn and spring. It gets pretty cold up here, we saw -35 celsius last winter a couple times. I dont know exactly the thickness of the ice, but 2 feet seems reasonable.

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JulioEstevez

What we do is sort of a merge between those two solutions. We have a raft (8x8' floating deck on four barrels) that has a permanent anchor. First we pull the raft up on shore. We then tie an old ski rope to the anchor line and run it towards the shore but stop about three ft deep and attach another small weight (10b exercise weight). This way it's a lot easier to find in the spring time and you on have to wade or use a rake to find it.

Yup that seems like the best option, easy to retrieve a couple feet from shore in freezing cold water when spring comes. Next year this is what i'm going to do... Actually the lake is probably not frozen yet with the weird weather we are having, i think i'll take the pedal boat out and do this when i get up there during the holidays :) no risk of a broken floAt that sends the chain back down to the bottom during the winter!

Thanks for the solutions, my plan B if my buoy didnt make it was to take several pictures from shore in diferent angles of where the buoy is to try and triangulate the position of the anchors on my diving expeditions lol! I hoped it wouldnt get to that, i am still trying to forget the knife-in-the-face type of pain from diving in that cold water last time.

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tvano

we are in michigan and our sub-buoys have been just fine submerged by at least 2' for the last 50 years.

i've been told it's the oldest slalom course in the state.

the subs can get hard to find in the spring because of marine growth but that is easy to beat:

store a gps way-point at that anchor and you will know exactly where to find your sub in the spring.

we store a way-point at each boat marker pair on the course.

the guy doing the wet work has to be careful dropping in at each mark so he doesn't jump on top of the sub (zebra mussels), it's that accurate.

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jgates237

Our "red-neck" yacht club does what mikeo and todd suggested by running a thin cable from the top of the mooring ball chains up to somewhere on the shoreline. The balls are removed for the winter and the chain rests on the lake bottom attached to the cable. In the spring we go find the cable end on the shore and wind it up on hose reel (we have lots of mooring balls). As we come to each anchor & chain we pull the chain up from 30'+ down (very nasty job) and attach the bottom of the mooring ball the the mooring chain about 4-6 ft down from the end of the chain with a carabiner then hook the end of the chain to the ball grab ring. The end hook is obviously what you attach to your boat. Been doing this for years with great success.

edit: sp and clarity

Edited by jgates237

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legrandice

We have a tire on ours and everyone leaves theirs in over the winter. They lower our lake 10' so there is plenty of slack in the chain to the bottom. The only problem is that the ice does tend to move them around (there are 5 or so moorings) a bit each year so every once in a while we need to drag them back into place.

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Sixball

On our cold winters we see 22 / 28 inches of ice.

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minnmarker

Good ideas all. We have two permanent anchors (V8 engine blocks) that have chains attached. For one, we cut a line about 3' shorter than the anchor depth, tie one end to the end of the anchor chain along with a concrete block then tie a half filled (water) yellow antifreeze jug to the other end and throw the whole assemble in the water. The yellow is much easier to spot in the Spring. Just hook it with a boat hook and pull it up.

The other is used to hold the floating docks just off shore. They are tethered between the anchor and shore. About once every 10 years the ice conditions and thaw are just right (wrong) and the floating docks get dragged out into the lake. To keep the anchor from getting dragged out there is a sacrificial link at the end of the chain that will break before the anchor gets dragged.

Winter and ice. Have to deal with it.

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J.Iverson

We tie a red float 3 feet under the surface .

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DUKENO1

The water level actually rises about 2 feet between the automn and spring. It gets pretty cold up here, we saw -35 celsius last winter a couple times. I dont know exactly the thickness of the ice, but 2 feet seems reasonable.

Holy Schmoly man! Time to move! lol

Edited by DUKENO1

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JulioEstevez

It makes you appreciate warm summer days on the boat even more ;)

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Malibuzer

Holy Schmoly man! Time to move! lol

Welcome to living in Canada, where we don't carry guns, healthcare is free and -35C is bearable without the wind!

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asnowman

we pull the buoys, and use electrical cable to tie off the end of the chains. leave some slack in the cable, and tie the other end off to the fixed section of dock on the ground. we use the cable because the sheathing is easy to wipe clean in the spring for storage. we have multiple moorings, furthest one is 100 feet from shore. The water level at our lake rises 6-8 feet between fall and spring ice out, ice gets to be 2-3 feet thick many years, and can be wind blown as it starts to break up, we have watched chunks flip and pile on each other and scrape the bottom down as far as 20 feet. 30 years have only had one chain to chase, and that was not ice related, it was dripped during install.

one other note, we have a sand bottom, and the galvanized chains rust and wear away over about 5-7 years, we got tired of this and replaced them with stainless steel chain and hardware, which has also made the seasonal put in and take out procedure much quicker and cleaner.

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JulioEstevez

Found a few old pics today, here is a good one of my brother between the many trips to the bottom of the lake looking for the anchors a few weeks after the ice had melted, you can tell by his face he enjoyed the process a lot.

I couldn't get to the cottage before the lake had frozen so the buoy is still floating, stuck in the ice, i hope it survives the winter... :blush:

IMG-20160124-WA0017_zpsube8yf3z.jpg

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