How OnBuoy benefits the environment

At its heart, OnBuoy is a community committed to sharing resources so that together, we can expand opportunities to do the things we love while lessening the impact or actions have on our environment. Much has been written about the positive impacts that the sharing economy can have on the environment. Among those benefits are better more efficient use of under-utilized resources, reduced pollution and greenhouse gases, reduced waste production, and support for more sustainable growth.

As a sharing economy community focused on guest moorage for boating, OnBuoy aims to bring those positive impacts, and others, to the marine ecosystem in a win-win model that benefits the boating community, owners of waterfront property and private moorages, native peoples, governmental bodies, and non-profits focused on environmental restoration. Below are a few of the ways that the OnBuoy community benefits the environment.

OnBuoy helps protect marine ecosystems from damage due to anchor drops.

When boaters stop mid-journey for a break, it's not uncommon that their only option is to drop anchor. Pulling up one's anchor and seeing kelp, sea grass, or other marine vegetation caught in the tackle is a disappointing sight common to most sailors and fishermen. It's a reminder that our waters are living ecosystems, and that even the simplest of tasks can have an impact on the marine environment by damaging or destroying sensitive habitats and disrupting the food chain.

Often though, there are numerous private docks and mooring balls nearby that aren't actively being used. It's inconsiderate to trespass on someone else's private moorage, but what if boaters could politely ask to borrow a local tie-up and get permission from the owner to do so?

OnBuoy enables boaters to do just that by introducing an option to tie up to a safe, permanent anchorage and avoid impacting the marine environment below.

OnBuoy helps reduce underwater noise.

We've all been there: you've just arrived at your next port of call and are looking for a place to tie up for the night. The dock looks full but maybe there's some space to squeeze in. You pass by to investigate, hoping to see someone preparing to leave soon. Even if you can wait it out and snag a space at the dock, you might prefer the serenity and privacy of being on a ball. Unfortunately, all the balls are first-come, first-served and claimed by captains from nearer home ports that arrived earlier than you. This story plays out scores of times each season.

The problem is, all that extra time trolling around the dock looking for a place to tie up burns extra (and expensive) fuel and adds to the disruptive noise echoing through the water.

OnBuoy saves fuel and reduces that additional underwater noise by giving boaters access to additional moorages at locations throughout Puget Sound. With OnBuoy, boaters can reserve a moorage in advance so that when they arrive at their destination, they pull right up to their spot and tie up with no delay.

OnBuoy helps save fuel.

One of the challenges of a lot of the guest moorage is that a lot of it is available on a first-come, first-served basis. That can be okay for early risers headed to a nearby port of call, but if you have a longer stretch to travel, you might need to run close to wide open throttle in order to arrive early enough to secure a spot.

While planning out on glassy water is a unique pleasure all of its own, running flat out in any condition has the trade-off of burning more fuel - a LOT more fuel. With OnBuoy, captains can reserve a moorage in advance and enjoy a leisurely, fuel-efficient trip to the next bay confident that there's a spot waiting for them when they arrive.

OnBuoy reduces marine debris from broken mooring equipment.

The US Coast Guard reported over 10,000 incidents of damage to vessels caused by marine debris in 2020. A study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that marine debris causes an estimated $1 billion in damage to the US economy each year.

Moorage tackle among debris field

OnBuoy gives moorage owners an incentive to keep their equipment good working order and provides a way for them to offset the cost to keep their equipment well-maintained. OnBuoy works with reputable inspectors throughout the Puget Sound to ensure that all moorages listed on the site have undergone a recent inspection from a reputable inspector who has inspected the tackle from the anchorage at the seabed to the float on the surface.

OnBuoy provides funding for marine restoration projects.

As a Washington State Social Purpose Corporation, OnBuoy is committed to directing a portion of every reservation to marine conservation and restoration projects operating in the local waters where our community members' moorages are located. You can view a list of the conservation and restoration organizations we support here.

OnBuoy results in fewer illegal / unsafe moorages over time.

When there are not enough legal moorings available, boaters may feel pressured to find alternative ways to moor their vessels, even if those alternatives are illegal or unsafe. Many of us have heard stories of individuals dropping an engine block or concrete filled tire to the sea floor and attaching a chain and a float to it as a makeshift moorage.

Do-it-yourself mooring anchor

Do-it-yourself moorings are often made of poor materials and are often not properly engineered. This can make them dangerous for boats and people. Additionally, moorings not installed and maintained by a reputable inspector/installer can damage seafloor ecosystems and pollute the water.

By increasing the amount of safe, legal moorage available for boaters, OnBuoy reduces the need for individuals to install their own makeshift moorages.

OnBuoy lowers the risk of wrecks or incidents due to dislodged anchors.

Boaters who are moored on an anchor often have trouble sleeping due to the fear of the anchor breaking free from the seabed. Anchors can break free due to storms, rising tides, or if they are not properly set.

Anchor alarm app

Mooring alarms exist for a reason. The consequences of an anchor breaking free can be serious. When an anchor breaks free, the boat can drift away, potentially colliding with other boats or running aground. In severe cases, the boat could even sink.

By providing a safe alternative to dropping anchor, OnBuoy enables captains to sleep well and avoid the risks associated with mooring on an anchor.

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