Yacht mooring program

  Every year the Sandy Bay West End Marine Park receives a vast quantity of visiting yachts between the months of November and May. The peak of the yacht season is around March, where the Park must accommodate for over 25 yachts at any given day. Size of visiting vessels usually ranges between 35ft and 50ft, but sometimes we are visited by vessels exceeding 100ft. With funds from Project AWARE, the RMP was recently able to renovate the mooring field, installing and renovating 20 moorings to accommodate for visiting vessels. With backing from the Municipality, a mandatory mooring fee was introduced on May 1st 2010 of $10 a day, $40 a week and $100 a month which is to be paid at the RMP office in Half Moon Bay.

  Many people complain that visiting cruisers do not contribute to the welfare of the island, but by charging a mandatory Yacht Mooring User Fee and using this money to develop community focused projects, the visiting yachts could give back to the community.  We estimate that anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000 a year could be generated through the introduction of this fee, depending on the number of yachts and their length of their stays within the Park.

   The question then arose of what to do with the funds generated from the fee. After much discussion, the Roatan Marine Park will donate fifty percent of the monthly net income generated from the moorings, once Park Ranger salary, fuel charges and mooring maintenance costs have been deducted, to the West End school and the Patronato. The Patronato will use the funds to improve trash receptacles in West End and create additional ones where needed. There is a proposal to construct a new school if enough funds are generated.

Cost of installation: 

  Yacht moorings do not come cheap. The price of installing a single yacht mooring, only materials, costs approximately $500. The RMP uses two, 6ft long, 1inch thick sandscrews. Each screw has either one or two plates welded to the bar to secure the screw in the sediment and is painted to prevent corrosion. The line consists of 7/8’ polypropylene rope leading to a polyform buoy.

Procedures of the project:

Dissemination of information

  • Distribution of brochures to the Port Captain offices in Roatan, Guanja, La Ceiba and Utila, as well as both Marine Park offices and any marinas throughout Roatan.
  • Regularly updated information on the Marine Park and any improvements to the infrastructure made available on noonsite, nwcaribbeannet, mayaparadise and any other relevant websites.
  • Signs distributed in key locations throughout the Park, such as docks where cruisers disembark
  • All cruisers visiting the office are given a short briefing and must sign a form indicating that they received this consultation.
  • Ensure cruisers are informed of our radio channel and all contact numbers for making reports
  • Use daily radio (NET) as a method of distributing information on the Marine Park to a national and international audience.

Park Ranger involvement

  • Employment of a full time Park Ranger funded by the project
  • Daily checks ensuring all boats have registered at the office, and are displaying valid information indicating payment for mooring use.
  • Ensure the dye tablets are placed in the holding tanks
  • Photographs of the boats are taken and logged in a data base
  • Garbage collection for a minimal fee, $1 per bag
  • Instruct yachts to extend bow lines where necessary

Cruiser involvement

  • Find a delegate who can represent cruisers at board meetings
  • Inform cruisers of volunteer opportunities
  • Have cruisers acting as watchdogs for illegal activities around the mooring site
  • Inform cruisers  of recycling programs for batteries, plastic bottles and aluminum cans

Maintenance of moorings

  • Monthly inspection of the moorings to clean lines and buoys, check shackles and replace any damaged lines
  • Renovation of all moorings to ensure two sand screws per mooring and longer lines used
  • Install a total of 20 moorings to accommodate for increased volume during busy season
  • Install a heavy duty mooring to accommodate for vessels over 60ft
  • Channel markers indicating that they are entering a Marine Reserve

Financing and paper work

  • Cruisers pay a daily or weekly fee for using the moorings, $10 a day, $40 a week or $100 a month per vessel
  • Cruisers receive a sticker with date of expiration which must be displayed on vessel
  • Signed form indicating that visitors have been informed and will adhere to Park regulations, in addition to mooring limitations regarding weather, vessel size etc.

Discussion

     By-lays are to be introduced to ensure that visiting vessels comply with Park regulations and pay the fee for use of the moorings. Please view the laws section on our website.

   The yacht moorings will require continuous maintenance which will cost the Marine Park an estimated $300 a month to ensure the lines are adequate and the moorings sound. The time spent by the Park Rangers making daily inspections of the mooring field and communicating with cruisers, in addition to office or shop members giving the briefings and ensuring all the paperwork is sufficient, will be a labor intensive task. The Marine Park will have to invest a lot of man power into this project, which will consequently cost money.