Contrary to popular belief, the regulations for mooring ball installation are reasonably relaxed. As long as you pay close attention to the lengths and weights of your equipment, you often will be able to drop a mooring ball without a specific permit from the government. We have outlined the key points of the British Columbia Mooring Buoy Facts and Minor Works Order to give you the most up-to-date information that we can offer.
The Private Buoy Regulations and Minor Works Order cover the proper lights, sizes, placement and marking of mooring balls. The following is a list of regulations from the Private Buoy Regulations:
The top third of the buoy must be orange with the rest coloured white.
The buoy does not need to have a light but if it does the light shall be yellow.
The Mooring Buoy must have the owner’s name and contact information clearly labelled on it. The ball must also follow the “Canadian Aids to Navigation System” Act which explains that the buoy must be orange and white with orange covering the top third above the waterline.
Anyone can install mooring systems as long as they meet the Private Buoy Regulations. No permits are needed if they meet the standards of the Minor Works Order. This also means that you can place a buoy in front of private property if so desired.
Transport Canada will give you a notice of non-compliance if the mooring system is deemed to have not followed the proper regulations. These regulations may require you to obtain a permit or remove the mooring ball from the water.
Technical Specifications from the Minor Works Order
The following specifications must be followed when installing a mooring ball:
Swing Area is the diameter of a circle created by the swinging of the vessel on the mooring system.
- Mooring systems are legal if the swing area is not:
- Within 20m of a pipeline or cable that is not owned by the owner of the mooring system
- Within 20m of swing area from another mooring ball.
- Within 50m of a marina, public launch or navigation channel
- The works must not be associated with a marina
- The width of the navigable waters must be more than 100m on one side of the boat.
- The buoy must have:
- The name, address, and telephone number of the owner
- The buoy line above the water must be at least 15.25cm wide and 30.5cm tall
- The top third of the buoy is orange and the rest is white.
- The buoy has “PRIV” in black on both sides.
- The Swing Area must follow the below table that is taken from The Minor Works Order: The depths are taken at the high-water mean tide level.
- The owner of the mooring ball must remain in the position that it was anchored in. We cannot more a vessel that is more than 12m in length and must remove the works if no vessel has been moored to the system in two years.
Specific British Columbia Municipality Bylaws
- No sailing or anchoring is permitted within the harbour.
- No known bylaws. Please Contact the Bylaw Authority at: 250-475-5456
- No known bylaws. Please Contact the Bylaw Authority at: 250-598-2042
Esquimalt Naval Base
- Do not anchor your vessel in Esquimalt Harbour unless you are authorized. Pleasure craft may anchor north of the line from Richards island to Smart Island.
- You may not stay more than 21 nights in a 40 day period in the harbour.
- You may not install a permanent mooring in the harbour.
- Anchoring for more than 8 hours in a day or at night requires a permit from Heather Civic Marina.