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The difference between mooring and docking

Whether you are an experienced sailor or just beginning to get into your favourite hobby, there is always something new to learn about boating. You’ll most likely come across many different names, abbreviations and specialists terminologies, and as some will be quite self-explanatory, you will find some words will require a little more research to expand your knowledge and get a full view of the picture.

Two of the most common words used in the sailor community is docking and mooring. And although you may assume they are similar in meaning, there are some differences worth noting.


Docking your boat means that you are pulling up to a dock and securing your boat to it using specialist equipment such as fenders and dock lines. Once your boat is fastened securely, you are able to embark and disembark easily from the boat and onto the land. Docking also makes it easy to load and unload your boat, as it is quite simple to secure the boat once you have learnt how.


Mooring basically means that you are securing your boat to a more permanent location in the water. You will also need to do some research into the place you’d like to visit and locate a mooring site that offers the facilities to hire a mooring spot in order for you to moor your boat safely. Once you have secured the boat, you can leave the shore and explore the local area and visit the nearby amenities.

The three main equipment pieces you’ll need to moor your boat will be a mooring anchor, a mooring buoy and also a mooring chain. The buoy helps to keep the chain afloat giving you space to make a connection with the fixture.


So you can now understand why the two are easily confused as they both practically do the same job. The main difference between mooring and docking is that different equipment is needed for each job and also docking is mainly used for a temporary stopping, whereas you could possibly moor your boat for a longer period of time.