The Difference Between Docking and Mooring

February 13, 2018 8:59 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Whether you’re an experienced sailor or just getting into boating, there’s always room to learn a little more about the relevant vocabulary. Today, let’s take a look at two common words you’ll hear in the sailing community: docking and mooring.

It’s easy to think that these two words mean the same thing, but when you get down to the details of the matter, they actually have different connotations, and it can make a difference in some situations. Trinity Alps Marina is your go-to boat marina in Lewiston, CA, and we can help you learn more about all the ins and outs of boating, boat maintenance and terminology. Give us a call or stop by to learn more!

A quick note

As we explore these two terms, we should mention up front that there is some overlap between the terms. Both mooring and docking indicate that you are securing your boat in a permanent location on the water. Now, on to the differences!


At its most basic level, mooring your boat means you are securing it to a permanent anchor location in the water. To moor your boat, you will need different equipment than you would for docking. In this case, you’ll want at least these three basic elements: a mooring anchor, a mooring chain and a mooring buoy. The buoy is what will keep the chain floating and give you a space where you can make a connection.

You’ll probably be sharing your mooring space with many other boats, so you’ll need to do a bit of navigating to get into and out of your area. A reputable boat marina in Lewiston, CA can help you learn to correctly moor your boat, and provide you with a space just for your craft.


Docking your boat means you’ll be pulling right up to a dock (or other similar structure) and securing your boat to it. You’ll need some specific equipment—such as fenders and dock lines—to correctly and safely dock your boat, so do some homework and make sure you have the right supplies.

Many people appreciate docking because you can easily embark and disembark from the watercraft—it’s just a step in and out—and this also makes it easier to load and unload, and even maintain and clean. Of course, you’ll hear many different opinions on the pros and cons of docking vs. mooring, and both could be a great option for you, so feel free to ask around to get some perspective and hear other people’s experiences.

Ask the pros

Trinity Alps Marina is your local expert boat marina in Lewiston, CA. We’re here to provide you with the best service, and that includes answering all of your questions about mooring and docking, as well as helping you find and acquire the right equipment for both of these options. When you’re ready to learn more about your options, and to find a place to dock or moor your boat, just stop by our marina and we’ll help you get started!

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