Mooring Regulations


Rockport, Pigeon Cove, White Wharf, Granite Pier, harbors, and other anchorages within Town jurisdiction.

All anchors, chains, pennants, and their placement must be approved by the Harbormaster Department before gear is set.

Anchors and ground tackle specified herein are the minimum required for the boat type and size indicated. Boat owners must check mooring gear annually.

Buoys will be "Massachusetts Regulation Buoy" styrofoam or other approved materials; white with two-inch horizontal blue band; owner's name and boat length inscribed or painted on buoy.

Small Boats 

(gear specifications are based on single swing mooring)

  • Boats up to 14' - 1 - 751b. anchor
  • Boats 15' - 19' - 2 - 751b. anchors

For other small craft or special situations, contact the Harbormaster.

Single anchor moorings will have 3/8" chain from anchor to mooring buoy (length to be determined by high water depth), one Massachusetts Regulation Buoy and 1/2" nylon pennant equipped with chafing gear.

Double anchor mooring will have 30' of 1/2" bridle chain, 3/8 up chain to mooring buoy (length to be determined by high water depth), one Massachusetts Regulation Buoy and minimum 1/2" nylon pennant equipped with chafing gear.

Large Power & Sail Boats 

(gear specifications based on single swing mooring)

  • 19' to 25': 2 - 150 lb. anchors
  • 26' to 30': 2 - 200 lb. anchors
  • 31' to 35': 2 - 250 lb. anchors
  • 36' to 40': 2 - 300 lb. anchors
  • 41' and over and for special situations, see Harbormaster.

All moorings will have 40' of 3/4" bridle chain between the two spread anchors, 1/2" down chain from mooring buoy to bridle chain (length to be determined by the high water depth), one Massachusetts Regulation Buoy and 2 - 3/4" nylon pennants equipped with chafing gear.

Fore & Aft Moorings

Boat size in category Number 2 above will have the same weight and number of anchors fore and one anchor aft equal in weight to one of the forward anchors.

Example: 36' boat 200 to 300 lb. anchors forward and 1 - 300 lb. anchor aft

Forward mooring chain sizes and lengths will be the same as for swing moorings in category Number 2 above.

Aft moorings will have 30' of 3/4" chain from anchor to down chain. Down chain will be at least 3/8" (length to be determined by high water depth). Two nylon pennants, with chafing gear.

An "in between" line should connect fore and aft moorings but the line should not be a buoyant material such as poly.


The following types of anchors are the only ones authorized for permanent, single swing and fore and aft moorings in Rockport waters:

  • Mushroom
  • Track
  • Yachtsman (one fluke removed or bent down)
  • Trawl or Net (one fluke removed or bent down)
  • Danforth
  • Block - Granite, cement - provide Harbormaster with a detailed description before obtaining.

The following may not be used for moorings: engine blocks, grapple anchor (or any anchor with more than one fluke), Northill anchor, cement building blocks or scrap/pig iron.

Winter Buoys

May be made from Styrofoam, plastic bottles, or plastic material. The buoys must be white and have a 2" blue band. The owner's name and boat length are to be either painted or inscribed on the buoy.

Logs and other materials or metal containers (such as steel kegs or drums) may not be used for summer or winter buoys.

Deadweight Anchors

Deadweight anchors are commonly used in New England. They are usually blocks of granite that hold vessels in place because they are too heavy to be dragged or lifted by the vessel. The holding power of the deadweight anchor is derived solely from its weight and not by its design. When a deadweight is pulled out of its current resting place, it may settle somewhere else, because its weight provides constant resistance. Blocks become embedded in the harbor bottoms over the years, providing a degree of suction resistance in bottom material which has strong cohesive properties. Thus, a deadweight anchor is not likely to break free from its set like a mushroom anchor. (An anchor is "set" when it becomes buried in the harbor bottom over time.)

It is recommended that the weights indicated be the submerged weight of the deadweight anchor. Use the following table to calculate the required weight of the material submerged. Consult with the Harbormaster before purchasing gear.

Minimum Deadweight Mooring Weight

Vessel length:

  • 10' to 17': 1000 lbs.
  • 18' to 26': 1500 lbs.
  • 27' to 35': 3000 lbs.
  • 36' to 45': 4000 lbs.
  • 45' to 55': 5000 lbs.

Submerged Weight Calculations

  • Concrete = required weight /.55 (example 1000 lbs./.55 = 1818 lbs.)
  • Granite = required weight /.64

If there are any questions please contact the Harbor Department. The Harbormasters Office has data and further information that is recommended by the Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management and CIGNA LCSD Marine.

The Rockport Harbor Department is giving the boat owners guidelines to set their mooring gear. Caution must be taken to secure vessel for all weather conditions with special consideration to severe weather and hurricanes.