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Reports and Studies

Relevant reports and studies relating to Environmentally Friendly Moorings as well as general management of recreational anchoring and mooring in the UK.

Below are some general documents as well as specific reports and studies on environmentally friendly moorings. If you would like to provide any further documentation, please use the form at the bottom of the page to submit the information. 

General Reports


A guide to assessing and managing anthropogenic impact on marine angiosperm habitat (NECR111) (2013)

A comprehensive literature review of seagrass ecology and threats and the management and monitoring of seagrass habitat. See pages 32-33 for discussion on anchoring and mooring impacts. Pages 55-61 discuss management options for anchoring and mooring with Table 4 outlining examples of seagrass-friendly mooring types and previous trials/use.


Rocking the Boat: Damage to Eelgrass by Swinging Boat Moorings (2017)

A recent study examining swinging chain boat moorings in seagrass meadows across a range of sites in the United Kingdom to determine whether such moorings have a negative impact on the seagrass Zostera marina at the local and meadow scale.

Published reports coming soon:


Recreational and commercial anchoring and mooring impacts in marine protected areas in Wales and England

Potential for eco-moorings as management option for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). 


Recreational anchoring and mooring in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)- activity data collection.

Information on Defra project C5784AD. 

Project Reports


Studland Bay Seagrass Project: Visitor Mooring Viability Appraisal 2011

A preliminary high-level study into the viability of introducing a dedicated eco-mooring facility in Studland Bay based on a helical screwed anchor and “Seaflex” riser system.


Survey and monitoring of seagrass beds, Studland Bay, Dorset 2012

A report outlining the methodology and results of a project in Studland Bay between 2009 and 2011 to investigate whether the seagrass bed exhibits long-term decline due to damage caused by anchoring boats by establishing a marked Voluntary No Anchor Zone (VNAZ) and monitoring seagrass habitat between this zone and a control zone. Eco-mooring type marker buoys were used to outline the VNAZ but the impact of these was not the focus of this study.


Studland Seagrass Project Report 2013

Results of the Studland Seagrass Awareness project which carried out questionnaire surveys on boaters’ use of the bay, investigated the potential for sponsorship of eco-moorings, distributed anchoring best practice guidance and monitored boating activity.


Pen Llŷn a’r Sarnau (PLAS) SAC: Initial investigation into the use of alternative mooring systems

A review of the mooring and anchoring regime at Porth Dinllaen and the effects of these upon seagrass bed and an investigation into management options for the area. Chapter 3 contains a useful general review of literature on the benefit of using seagrass friendly moorings and a comparison of different types of eco-mooring systems available along with examples of experience in the UK.


Fal and Helford Recreational Boating Study 2012

The aims of this study were to quantify the impact of direct physical disturbance from single block, sub-tidal recreational boat moorings and to use this to estimate the level of impact across the estuaries, to make management recommendations, develop a transferable methodology and guide future study.


Fal Moorings Trial: An investigation into the impact of Seaflex moorings on thebenthic macro fauna of the Fal Estuary adjacent to Mylor Harbour, Final report 2006

The aim of this investigation was to compare and assess the relative ecological impacts (changes in fauna, flora and seabed habitat) and practicalities of using chain moorings and SEAFLEX moorings in an estuarine environment – in the Fal Estuary next to Mylor Harbour. 

EFM Workshop Presentations (October 2017)

In October 2017, a workshop on EFMs was held by the National Trust with Natural England and the Marine Management Organisation. The aim of the workshop was to provide an opportunity to bring people together as a starting point to:

  • Review outputs of recent studies on impacts of anchoring and mooring in MPAs in order to clarify evidence available and issues of concern to stakeholders
  • Identify further research needs as well as solutions and mechanisms for addressing remaining issues of concern
  • Identify locations, partners and potential funding sources for projects to install EFMs and monitor their impact
  • Share knowledge and experiences from on-going projects.
  • Help inform next steps for future work.

This section contains the presentations from the day:


Recreational and Commercial Anchoring and Mooring Impacts in MPAs

Summary of a project funded by DEFRA, NRW, MMO and Natural England in 2015 to assess UK protected features for sensitivity to anchoring and mooring and identify those MPAs which may be sensitive, investigate levels of exposure to anchoring and mooring and use both these sets of information to develop a risk assessment methodology to identify potential risks to MPAs. The project also reviewed management options and summarised organsiational responsibilities.


Eco-moorings as management options for MPAs

Summary of a project funded by Defra in 2017 reviewing eco-moorings experience in the UK to date looking at the practical use of eco-moorings, cost, insurance and potential realistic future funding options. Recommendations that eco-moorings continue to be understood as a potential management measure. Future trials, improved sharing of information and estimations of ‘whole life’ costs would improve knowledge and build the evidence base further.


Porthdinllaen Seagrass Project

Porthdinllaen is a small village nestled in a small cove on the north coast of the Llŷn Peninsular in North Wales. The bay encompasses one of Wales’ largest and densest seagrass meadows and is also an important safe anchorage for vessels, is home to a small number of fishing vessels and has approximately 90 moorings. The seagrass project has included the production of a literature review on eco-moorings. There are plans to develop adapted moorings and trial these in 2018.


Case studies in the Southwest: Salcombe Harbour

A discussion on the history of looking into options for ‘ecomoorings’ within Salcombe Harbour in South Devon, the different limitations strengths and weaknesses for different water depths and conditions. This led to trialing a DIY approach within an area of seagrass overseen by the Community Seagrass Initiative which consisted of a standard swinging mooring with floats added to the chain to sufficiently minimise scour to the seabed. The trial has been very successful and the Harbour Authority are keen to trial more.


Case studies in the Southwest: Cawsand Bay

The Plymouth Sound & Estuaries European Marine Site (EMS) has nine seagrass beds, Plymouth City Council & the Tamar Estuaries Consultative Forum (TECF) have funded the installation and monitoring of an eco-mooring (installed by the Community Seagrass Initiative in 2016) in Cawsand Bay, the largest and one of the most heavily anchored beds in the EMS. Funding is available from the charges levied on development in order to manage and mitigate the impacts of increased marine recreational activity resulting from future population growth.

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