In The News
You scratched my seagrass!
Sailors for the Sea publishes monthly articles that translate the language of marine science into fascinating articles about ocean health.
To learn more about the organization visit
Anchors effect on carbon storage
Those who sail come to know the ocean intimately; buoyed by its beauty and the rich life it nourishes, but also saddened by damage from pollution, over-exploitation, climate change or other problems.
Are there things boaters can do to lessen such problems and improve ocean health? What is the current status of the ocean's health, anyhow?
The Ocean Health Index is based on the premise that a healthy ocean provides a range of benefits to people now and in the future. This recognizes that people and the ocean must coexist, because human presence and activities affect nearly all aspects of the ocean and marine life and vice versa. In short, people need nature to thrive; and fostering a resilient, productive ocean will promote healthy sustainable societies.
The Ocean Health Index evaluates the world's oceans according to 10 public goals that represent key benefits of healthy marine ecosystems. Each goal is scored from zero to 100 signifying how well it is doing in achieving those benefits. The scores can be looked at by country and goal, and be averaged to produce a regions overall score.
Boaters have unique opportunities to help with these goals, particularly protecting sea grass and coral reef habitats, both of which provide a remarkable suite of benefits to people and marine life, benefits valued at nearly $12,000 per acre every year.
Grass of the Sea
Sea grasses form shallow meadow-like expanses throughout the world's warm and temperate waters. Just like grass on land, as the grass grows, it takes up carbon dioxide and releases oxygen to the water and sediments. Additionally, a sea grass meadow's extensive root system both stabilizes the sediments and stores very large amounts of carbon, keeping it buried for decades or even centuries if not disturbed, reducing the rate of carbon dioxide in the ocean and atmosphere, slowing the rate of global warming and ocean acidification.
Amazingly, seagrasses sequester about as much carbon per square meter as any habitat on earth, including rainforests. Meanwhile, the leaf fronds waving gracefully above form a miniature forest that shelters larvae and young of many commercially important fish and shellfish, as well as beautiful nudibranchs, jellies, worms and crustaceans. Such habitats are also the most important habitats for seahorses. As a further benefit, the flexible fronds are also surprisingly effective at absorbing wave energy and slowing the flow of water, thereby helping to protect coastlines from storm surges.
Seagrasses are globally and regionally threatened by many things. Broad threats include land erosion and consequent sedimentation that clouds the water, reduces photosynthesis and smothers the grasses; and run-off from land of excessive amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution (often from cleaning products and fertilizers) that promote growth of seaweeds or phytoplankton at the expense of seagrasses.
Boaters can play a direct role in reducing a very specific threat, by not anchoring on seagrass beds. Anchors disturb or destroy the root systems, not only does this kill the plants, the sequestered carbon is released into the atmosphere as heat-trapping carbon dioxide. Since most seagrass beds occur in relatively clear and shallow water, boaters should anchor elsewhere and not disrupt the remarkable benefits they offer.
Carbon storage is natural in coastal ecosystems such as seagrasses, tidal marshes and mangroves. The score of 74 is relative to their condition in the early 1980's. A score of 100 would indicate that these habitats are all still intact today.
Read the full article on Power Boat World.
Bottom-Friendly Moorings Slated for Manchester, MA
By Tom Richardson on December 26th, 2013
Due to a mitigation agreement with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Army Corps of Engineers, MassPort has agreed to fund the installation of 70 environmentally friendly helix moorings in the outer harbor of Manchester by the Sea.
Manchester harbormaster Bion Pile and the 3 mooring installers that work in the area have determined that the bottom substrate in the outer harbor is compatible with helix moorings, which have a holding strength up to 5 times greater than traditional mooring anchors, and have chosen the Eco-Mooring System represented by BoatMoorings.com.
Unlike traditional moorings, which have long chains that drag along the bottom and disturb marine life and habitat, the Eco-Mooring system uses a high-strength elastic rode that runs in a direct line to the boat above.
For more information on the Eco-Moorings and other environmentally friendly mooring systems, visit the BoatMoorings.com website.
Read the article on New England Boating.
Seagrass Damage to West Falmouth Harbor
September 10, 2013
Blogger Tay Evans recently wrote about damage to seagrass and eelgrass in West Falmouth harbor. Aerial photos show the most recent damage caused to this sensitive marine habitat. She goes on to discuss the generalbenefits of conservation moorings, and specifically the use of the Eco-mooring, to minimize or eliminate this type of damage.
You can read the complete blog post here.
Saba Conservation Foundation Hosted Mooring Installation Workshop
May 17, 2013
To increase capacity in maintaining and upgrading mooring systems for dive boats and yachts, a training workshop for the installation of Helix anchors was held on Saba from May 6th to 8th, 2013, funded by the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA).
As part of a $50,000 grant provided by the Island Government to refurbish the island’s anchorages, the Saba Conservation Foundation purchased the necessary materials and a torque drive tool to screw helical anchors into sandy or loose sea bottom substrates. These anchors have proven to provide the best holding power of all systems currently available.
Dave Merrill, owner of Boatmoorings.com, who developed the special tool for the installation of Helix anchors underwater in the early 1990s, and his assistant, trained 12 participants from Anguilla, Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba in the safe handling and applications of the equipment. (Read the full article on the SabaNews Website)
New eco-friendly moorings installed in Provincetown Harbor
October 25, 2011
PROVINCETOWN — It’s been a while in coming, but last week seven new elastic mooring systems were installed in Provincetown, six of them just to the east of the breakwater south of MacMillan Pier and one in the West End near the Coast Guard Pier.
The new boat mooring systems were installed by boatmoorings.com, a company owned by Dave Merrill and hired by the town’s harbormaster’s office. The moorings are paid for by a $20,000 grant from the Massachusetts Bays Program. The new mooring is anchored by a corkscrew-type helix anchor that is screwed into the harbor floor. Attached to that is an elastic “rode,” a rope that is replacing the chain, which connects to a five foot “spar” buoy and pennant that attaches to the vessel’s bow cleat.
You can read the full article here at the Wicked Local Provincetown website.
All Ashore! New Mooring Field Opens At Waterfront
August 21, 2011
The New London Harbor, New London Connecticut recently completed a new mooring field project utilizing Helix Anchors and the eco-mooring system from boatmoorings.com. “We’re telling all our friends,” said Janet Crane - owner/partner in the first out-of-town boat to use the newly inaugurated mooring field. “These are the best moorings I’ve ever seen.”
You can read the full article here at the NewLondonPatch website.
Environmental impact is now a selling point
August 29, 2011
Even as the economy continues to sputter and businesses scratch and claw for revenue, boaters continue to use their boats.
This has opened opportunities for a host of service-related businesses, from the repair and parts departments found in dealerships to small, specialized companies like the one run by Dave Merrill...
You can read the full article here at the Soundings Trade Only Today website.