Looking to buy a house with a mooring?

Article by Heather Chilvers from Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty

Dreaming of buying a waterfront property with moorings for your boat at the end of the garden? But you’ve been told the mooring can’t be sold with the house? Heather explains the rules and regulations of moorings in Bermuda and how you should not assume a mooring next to the property you are purchasing will be sold with the house. 


It is certainly easy to assume that because a mooring is located close to the property that it automatically can be transferred with the property particularly if the owner is agreeable. However, in Bermuda moorings should not be included in a sale and purchase agreement as they are not considered part of the property (The seabed is owned by the Crown not the landowner). A mooring is a license not a property.


In order to take over an existing mooring you must first have a boat, not a paddleboard, not a punt or a canoe, but a proper licensed boat. There is a maximum of one mooring license per registered boat that you own. As long as you are eligible on this count you can apply for a mooring license and if approved by Marine and Ports, the current licensee can then sign the mooring over to you. It is important to note that all moorings be accessed in a legal manner, meaning you cannot cross private property to gain access to it.  So whilst anyone is entitled to have a mooring in any bay this makes some bays in Bermuda much less accessible to people other than adjacent property owners. 


In terms of applying for a new mooring, most of the desirable (insurable) bays are currently closed off due to lack of space. However, if there is an eligible bay you wish to drop your own mooring you can apply via an application form. To do this you need to go to Marine and Ports office, located on Middle Road Paget, in the old Paget post office opposite St. Paul’s Church. There you will complete an application form and indicate on the official grid, the location of the intended mooring. This can be submitted along with $109 application fee. A new mooring application generally takes 4 – 6 weeks to process, and the officer will go out to the area and decide if there is suitable space. If approved the applicant must then pay the annual registration fee for the mooring license, currently $181. Moorings should not be moved or dropped without permission. Legally mooring spots cannot be sold, the only thing you are able to sell is the weight, chain and buoy.


The Department of Marine & Ports does not sanction the renting of moorings. A mooring license is granted for that person’s sole use, not to rent to someone else. However they will sometimes, at their discretion approve boats other than the licensees’ boat to occupy a mooring, as long as the size of the boat does not exceed the registered length of the license.


This raises the question of the policies surrounding the private boat/yacht clubs on the island. Boats tied to the dock do not have to apply to the Department of Marine and Ports, but usually have to pay a fee to the club for the ‘berth’. The area upon which the dock is built has usually been leased from government for a specific number of years. Swing moorings still fall under the normal Marine and Ports regulations and policies.


It should be noted here that application for a floating dock should go through The Department of Planning as the intent is to attach the dock to the foreshore, so application should be made, including drawings and stating purpose. These submissions are reviewed by the Marine and Ports department to ensure that the installation of the dock won’t interfere with any other private moorings and has to be approved as such, in addition to approval by the Department of Planning. 


This answer is intended as a useful guide only and any questions or concerns regarding moorings should be directed to The Department of Marine and Ports Services, Boats & Moorings Section. Website: www.marineandports.bm Telephone: 295 6575 press 4.


Heather Chilvers is amongst Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty’s Leading Sales Representatives. She has been working in Real Estate for 30 years. If you have a question for Heather, please contact her at hchilvers@brcl.bm or 332 1793. All questions will be treated confidentially.


You can also follow Heather on Instagram #heatherrealtorbermuda or Facebook: “Heather Realtor Bermuda

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