Simpson Marine Search Yachts
19th May 2015

How to pick up mooring buoys on a yacht charter in Thailand

yacht charter in Thailand

If you are on a yacht charter in Thailand, then you may have occasion to pick up a mooring buoy if you are in a bay where they are available, and rather than anchor, you may choose to hang off a mooring for a trip to shore or an overnight stop.

Picking up a mooring buoy is fairly easy, however, we have probably all had incidents of going round and round a buoy to pick it up, only to immediately drop it again! Well if you are on a yacht charter in Thailand in the imminent future, then remind yourself of some handy tips for mooring to a buoy and you can’t go wrong!

About mooring buoys.

buoy2- yacht charter in ThailandMooring buoys are generally attached to a ground chain, which in turn is anchored to the sea bed with a heavy object or anchor. Sometimes a buoy can be on it’s own or on a line of moorings attached to heavy chain that runs along the seabed, this is called a ‘trot’.

Quite often the buoy itself is too heavy to lift, as it will be attached to a heavy riser chain, so you will normally find a ring on top of the buoy, which sometimes also has a pick up line attached, and you will tie the yacht to that ring.

If you are picking up a mooring in an area that you do not know, or if it is your first time on a yacht charter in Thailand, then check the charts and ask for local knowledge about which moorings are strong enough to support your yacht, though often you will find that where there are mooring buoys, they are generally well maintained and on offer for many visiting yachts. In areas where the seabed is especially sensitive due to coral, there are normally strict no mooring or anchoring signs.

Get Ready

yacht hookThe main thing to have ready before you get to the mooring buoy you are approaching. is your boat hook! Remember to use the hook to pull along the length of the boat hook, not to lift the hook up like a crane, as this can snap or bend it. Also have ready a mooring rope, as if the mooring you are approaching has a ring on the top then you will need to be ready to attach your line to the buoy as quickly as you can.


When you are approaching the mooring buoy, then always try and aim into the tide or the wind. A top tip is to look around you at similar yachts and approach the buoy parallel to them, or look at the pick up line which will be showing you the direction of the tide.

Keep the buoy to one side of the bow, so you can see it for longer. You can, for extra help ask the crew to count down the distance to the buoy. Take it nice and slowly, and once the buoy has been picked up, then reverse equally slowly trying to stay on the buoy until the crew have attached the bow of the boat to it.

Getting and staying attached!

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Once you are on the buoy, ideally the boat needs to stay stopped over the buoy to give your crew a chance to attach the yacht to the buoy. You don’t want the load of the yacht to be fully on the boat hook as then it is impossible for the crew to release the hook from the buoy. Pull in on the mooring rope until the main mooring line is reached and then attach to a cleat, if the buoy doesn’t have a mooring line, then use your own line to attach yourself to the ring on top of the mooring. The safest and most secure way of attaching yourself to a buoy is to tie a round turn and two half hitches to the ring on the buoy, if you are planning on staying overnight, then to be even more secure you could use two lines to the buoy.

 If it goes wrong!

Don’t worry if it goes wrong and you don’t catch the buoy first time round, most buoys will bounce off your yacht and you can just go round again to pick it up.

So if you are on off a yacht charter in Thailand, then remind yourself of the tops tips above for picking up a mooring buoy and you will be in good stead to take advantage of the many stunning anchorages available to you in the beautiful cruising ground.

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