Practical considerations

Each site will have different considerations such as tidal range, water depth, channel width and proximity to flood defences which may influence choice of design, materials and layout.

Sometimes solutions have to be tailored and you can get free advice from our planning officers on whether your proposed mooring is acceptable in principle. You may wish to seek professional advice to help you choose the appropriate design.



For any commercial or public mooring you should provide a way of getting out of the water and we also recommend that private moorings abide by these standards.

Safety ladders should be spaced at no more than 50m apart along the length of the mooring. There should also be a chain, rail or similar structure that someone in the water can grab onto in any tidal conditions. You should also complete a risk assessment to determine where public rescue equipment such as lifebuoys or unlocked throw lines should be located.

If access from the water to the bank is not required, or only provided at specific points, the mooring will need to be designed to discourage people from jumping onto the bank from their vessel as this can cause injury.

There is a free Health and Safety Executive code of practice relating to docks and moorings. There is also a British Marine Federation Yacht Harbour Association guide which you can buy that sets out best practice guidance for marinas and yacht harbours. While this is not specifically for private moorings and the guidance is costly, it may be relevant.

Channel width

Any refurbishment must maintain the existing piling line. Any new or improved mooring that goes beyond this is unlikely to be acceptable as it will narrow the width of the channel. Any new mooring will need to ensure there is no adverse impact on channel width as this could affect navigation and reduce channel capacity which could increase flood risk else where. This may mean removing the current piling rather than re-piling in front as such ‘piling creep’ can narrow the channel. It is also not necessarily about the mooring itself, but the impact on channel width by the vessel that is to be moored.

Existing uses

You need to consider at an early stage how the location is already used and make any allowances so that existing use can be continued.

If the site is used for angling you should take that into account in your project design, for example by providing a specific location for anglers.

You also need to know about rights of access, such as public rights of way and public staithe rights, and ensure these can continue.

You need to check permissions, easements and other issues relating to drainage pipes and water outfalls.

If the site is intended for the launching of canoes and row boats consider low freeboard pontoons. Launching platforms that may submerge should be adequately signed or marked to avoid boat collisions.

If the mooring is near livestock, you may need fencing to stop animals accessing or damaging the moorings and equipment.

Protected species such as water vole and nesting birds should be considered, as should fish spawning areas

Tie rods are often used to secure the piled frontage. These can impact the root system of trees on the site and lead to trees dying. You should contact us for advice if you are planning a mooring near to trees.


Some mooring types may require a dinghy to access land. Others, such as staging, enable people to get onto land directly from the vessel. Others may need a ramp with bank work to provide a secure point on a plinth or piling.

If the mooring is intended for commercial or public use consideration should be given to access by disabled people or wheelchair users in line with the Equalities Act 2010.


You may wish to put up signage to deter others using your mooring. This should always be in keeping with location and local character and you should seek advice from the Broads Authority. If you need signage lettering should be 50mm in height and text should be white on a black background.


There are some byelaws in the Broads which relate to the location and use of moorings. Go to page 26 of the Navigation Byelaws 1995 for full details of these.

Climate Change

The easterly, low-lying and coastal nature of the Broads makes it vulnerable to the effects of climate change and sea level rise. The Broads Authority has produced a Climate Change Adaptation Plan which may be of relevance when considering your scheme.

Ways of mooring

In some locations double mooring or mooring stern on are more efficient ways of using space as long as there is adequate channel width. However adequate mooring posts or cleats should be installed regardless of how vessels will be moored.